Ways To Practice Martial Arts At Home

In Coaching, Discipline, General, Kids Martial Arts Classes by Don Alley

3 Ways To Practice Martial Arts At Home, especially if you’re a beginner…

Earlier this week, a parent reached out to me- “Master Alley, my child isn’t practicing at home.” My response was, she probably doesn’t really know how to practice. Honestly, as a beginner, when you’re first starting out, all you’re learning are very basic movements, one move at a time. If you tell your daughter or your son, “Hey, go practice martial arts” they’re not going to necessarily know what to do, and then you’re going to think that they don’t like karate.

Next, you’re probably going to have a conversation with me like, “She doesn’t like this stuff. She’s not practicing.” The reality of it is, she probably doesn’t necessarily know how to practice. I want to give you three easy ways that you can have your children practice at home. The biggest piece of this is going to be to make it fun! If you tell your child to go to the corner and practice for five minutes, they’re not going to do it. They’re not going to like it. Again, you’re going to think that they’re not enjoying martial arts, which probably is the farthest thing from the truth.

How Can We Make Practicing At Home More Fun?

The first way you can practice is to grab a couch cushion or a pillow. Hold it for them and let them kick you! Rather than telling your child to just go practice, grab a pillow and let them work on the kick that we did during practice. If you’re doing front kicks, you can grab your pillow and say, “John, kick me in the stomach,” or “Suraya, kick me nice and hard. Show me your front kick.” Practice with them, turn it into a game. That would be a very fun way to practice!

The second way- The sneak attack. If you want them practicing their grab techniques, you can stand there, “Okay, now let me grab you this way.” You can practice the grabs that we’ve done in class, but a more fun way would be, when your child is walking down the hallway, you jump out and you grab them! In the kitchen, you sneak up behind and put them in a bear hug. Any of the grab techniques that we’ve been working on in class, practice them. Sneak up on them. Now, it’s a game and they’re having a lot of fun.

The third way that you can encourage your child to practice at home is with the push-ups and the sit-ups that we do in class to get their body stronger. It’s going to make them more fit. As far as self-defense is concerned, the stronger that I am, the harder I’m going to be able to hit. This is going to give me more power and more of an ability to defend myself. A way to do this at home-  “Let’s have a competition together! Let’s see who can do the most amount of sit-ups.”

Now It’s A Game!

All of a sudden, your daughter or your son is going to be a lot more motivated and excited to beat you. It’s going to give you some exercise and it’s going to keep them completely engaged. Sit down beside each other, grab your phone, get a timer. “All right, as many as we can in 30 seconds. Ready, set, go!” You start pumping your sit-ups. You start pumping your push-ups. Anything you can do to get your child active and making it fun and turning it into a game is going to be the best bet.

Let me know if you have any other ideas to share, things that you’ve done in the past. I’d like to strongly encourage you especially for beginners who aren’t necessarily learning katas just yet or sequence of movements, for beginners, make this fun and make this easy. Make it so that there’s no pressure and you guys get to enjoy your experience versus, “Hey, go practice now for 30 minutes,” and turn it into a chore. I hope this helps! Let’s help keep them motivated towards earning their next belt!

Parents and students, you got this! See you in class very soon!


Don Alley
Don Alley is the owner and chief instructor at Super Kicks Karate in Ashburn and Leesburg, and has been training in the martial arts for 28 years. He is currently a 6th degree black belt, and has dedicated the entirety of his adult life to teaching children and families martial arts. He is also the owner of Center Stage Preschool, a Montessori-based, performing arts preschool; and co-founder of Testudo Addiction Recovery, a non-profit organization serving families in the Northern Virginia area.