What Does Karate Teach You?

Karate is one of the most prominent and popular forms of martial arts in the world.

Popularized by the ever-famous Karate Kid movies, it is a dream many young children have as they grow up, to be as skilled as its master, Mr. Miyagi.

What Does Karate Teach You?

As we watch the progress of the movie’s young grasshopper, Daniel, we witness him not only become an expert in physical strength and ability but also in mental discipline and control.

Below, you will find a description of each of the valuable skills that karate has to offer.


Discipline is certainly a skill which many different forms of martial arts teach, but karate stands out as one of the most integral in developing self-discipline.

This is for several different reasons.

Firstly, karate is a sport which requires an immense amount of repetition and finessing, in order to get ahold of the moves, they must be repeated continuously until they become familiar.

This will improve gradually.

Secondly, the atmosphere that surrounds the dojo, where you learn karate, is an incredibly serious one.

The dojo demands respect for your teacher and the students around you.

Students are taught from the offset to be obedient to their instructor, with a common practice of bowing before engaging in classes.

Parents who have enrolled their children in karate classes often note a marked improvement in obedience at home too, as they transition skills gained in the classroom to other areas of life.

Determination & Perseverance

Karate is a great way to practise goal-setting.

It is a great martial art to learn as you’ll always find new ways to make progress, be that through learning new moves or advancing to higher belt colors.

Additionally, being within the environment of the dojo is also helpful, when we see others reach new heights, it pushes us to try and achieve the same.

Though it is often difficult, when progress is made, it teaches us that all of the perseverance was worth it. Dedication is the key.

Personal Development

This one is highly applicable to younger students undertaking karate lessons. Karate teaches us never to attack first.

It is a martial art designed for self-defense. This instructs young children to have respect for others, whilst also giving them the tools to defend themselves if required (Find out what is a kubotan here).

As well as for younger children, karate is important for personal development in its mature students too.

This is because it instills confidence in the learner.

As they become stronger and swifter with their movements, this will also instill confidence in their ability to handle different situations whilst remaining in a state of control.


Karate focuses on self-defense and avoidance training. It is not a violent form of martial art.

Although you are learning how to fight, it redirects that energy in positive and useful ways.

It teaches you how to avoid violence, and if you ever find yourself in a dangerous situation, the skills you’ve learned could be crucial in protecting yourself.



Karate takes a great deal of dedication if you wish to become proficient in it.

Dedication means having the willpower and mental focus to keep on your path and continue learning, even when it gets tough and tedious.

Karate also teaches dedication in other aspects of life too. If you want to excel in the sport, then you have to practice a high degree of physical fitness.

This may mean losing weight or gaining some muscle mass alongside your martial arts journey.

Karate will aid you in this, as it promotes a healthy and balanced mindset in all aspects of life.

Healthy Lifestyle

Those who participate in martial arts like karate will begin to demonstrate higher levels of physical health.

It has been proven that those who participate in karate show lower levels of blood pressure.

It is similar to high intensity interval training in the sense that it improves overall heart health.

Practicing karate regularly can lower cholesterol and help regulate insulin levels.

Unlike other forms of exercise which can be restrictive, karate develops mental skills alongside physical ones, making it overall more enjoyable.

Memory Skills

As well as the obvious physical milestones within the sport, karate also improves your mental skills such as memory retention.

The sport will require you to memorize all of the complexities and nuances of its different techniques and movements.

Italian researchers found that when compared to a sedentary group of people, those practicing karate had improved working memory.

This could be especially beneficial to school children regularly undertaking tests and pop quizzes.


Karate is known for its physical requirement of coordination. This is a skill which will be harnessed and finessed during your time in the dojo.

When engaging in karate, you have to have spatial awareness of the people and objects surrounding you.

The nature of the movements such as jumping, kicking and spinning quickly all help to improve this skill.

Students often find that the sport makes them more mindful of their bodies and how they function.

This has obvious benefits, as mindfulness improves both cognitive and emotional regulation. A win-win situation both physically and mentally.


Finally, karate also teaches a high level of respect for your instructor and those around you.

You will be expected to arrive at classes in an orderly and timely fashion, before bowing down to your teacher.

These practices have been undertaken for centuries, and as you learn different moves and techniques, they will be taught from a perspective of honoring the cultures from which they are derived.

Depending on the particular style of karate which you are engaged in, it will honor a unique version of karate stemming from the region it has originated from.

Shotokan, Wado-ryu, Shito-ryu for example, originate from Okinawa, whereas Goju-ryu is derived from Naha.

Karate will provide you with a connection to the culture and practices from which your style originates.

Christopher Anderson
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