Parents as Coaches: Coach Kids to Black Belt Excellence

Long ago (some seven years back, when I was working on the first issues of the Ripple Effect Martial Arts newsletter), Master Macy asked me to include a section titled “Coaches Corner.”

“We think of the parents as coaches,” he said. “Because we rely on them to help and encourage their kids, at home, in the car, at tournaments, at tests.”

And this made perfect sense to me. As a the parent of a Black Belt in training at the time, I spent many more hours with my 8-year-old daughter than she ever spent at karate classes or karate tournaments or karate tests. She was attending 2-3 classes at least per week, going to all the karate events, and was immersed in elementary school as well. But even put together, she spent even more time with her family.

Just as school teachers rely on parents to help with homework, get kids to and from school, and ask about their kids’ school days, their worries and ambitions, karate instructors rely on parents to keep their kids’ eye on the goal of graduation (i.e., Black Belt).

So as a parent, you’re a karate coach. What does this mean? Is there a manual? A scorecard?

There is a manual, in fact. If you haven’t cracked open your kid’s Black Belt Journey binder, which every student receives at white belt, open it up and go through the pages. Look up your belt-level forms and combos on our Curriculum page. Also check out that “Coaches Corner” section (page 2) of Ripple Effect’s The Karate Times (it’s for you!). And ask your kids how they feel, not just about karate class or an upcoming test, but about their friends and future goals.

As for the scorecard, you can read it in your kids’ joy, their happiness, respectfulness, courtesy and courage. Coaching in karate is more than just clapping (or yelling) from the bench; it’s appreciating their effort. It means so much. Your kids look up to you more than anyone; Moms and Dads are the heroes to them, and after each new belt is earned and tied on, it’s you they run to with a smile for a hug and a high five.

Just like any coach, karate parents can learn to coach more effectively, and you’ll see the victories as your kids make little “wins” in life (getting better grades, making friends, winning stripes and trophies, joining the Leadership ranks). Training to become a Black Belt myself (graduating in the 1st degree class of Spring 2019, two years after my daughter) taught me immensely. Check out these Black Belt families that made the journey together. They’re proud of each other, and they helped coach each other to their goal.

Master Macy will be hosting a Black Belt Coaching seminar this Saturday, February 6, at 8am from the Ripple Effect Martial Arts Johnstown school. You can join the seminar online, and Master Macy encourages your kids to be by your side. Hope to see you, coaches.

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