Can You Learn Karate By Yourself? Here’s The Answer.

For people who are interested in learning karate, finding a traditional in-person class can seem almost impossible to fit around their schedule. Many wonder if it is possible to learn karate at home by yourself for many reasons? This may not be for the entire journey to Black Belt, but to get started this crosses the minds of many prospective students.

It is possible to learn karate by yourself at home, at least in the basic to intermediate stages. Children and adults interested in karate may find that online courses are a great place to start. Advanced stages of karate will require in-person time with a quality instructor and training partners.

Let’s learn how these online karate classes work for learning Karate by yourself, some of the supplies you may need to make learning easier, and how to practice your new techniques in each stage. Keep in mind that it is definitely different for younger versus older age groups. We will look into this as well.

Can I Learn Karate At Home?

Yes, it is possible to learn karate at home, but with limitations. It is a huge undertaking to go from beginner to black belt, or learn how to be a karate master, all from home. There is just no substitue in the upper levels for quality sparring, training partners, and in person instruction.

But for those who would like to learn the basics and maybe see if karate is right for them, there are many basic courses that can help with that. It is not like it used to be with only books and VHS tapes. There are some quality live streaming private and small class instruction available for all ages.

The good news is, for those with young children, it is possible to learn most of the levels available to them in Karate from home. These levels are designed to teach the fundamentals of Karate to the child so they may not need as much in-person instruction as others. They also often do it as a way to learn discipline and concentration and these skills can be taught at home.

Reasons Why Learning Karate By Themselves Online Works Great For Younger Kids

For kids from young as 2 years old all the way up to around 10 years old, learning Karate online is a viable option. This can be good for them as an introductory for a lifetime of martial arts training. It can also carry them fairly far towards their first major goal of earning a black belt.

Though it is usually not reasonable to use online training to completely achieve a black belt, it can be a great asset along the way. They can use it solely in the beginning and as a practice and training aid once more advanced levels are reached.

Here are some reasons that make this possible for younger kids.

Reason #1 Younger Kids Learn A Truncated Version Of What Adults Learn

Everything from the self defense to the sport techniques that children learn should be at least edited in some way. Especially at young ages, kids do not have the reasoning capabilities necessary to decide what type of force is appropriate in a given situation.

This is why many martial arts organizations restrict the allowable techniques kids are allowed to use in tournaments and even in testing for higher belt ranks. This makes learning by themselves much more achievable. The sheer volume and scope of techniques is reduced and focused more on exhibition than application on resisting opponents.

According to one of the older informational sites on the sport of Judo, the JudoInfo site notes that Judo has for instance banned all choking in competitions for children under the age of 13. There is a similar ban on armbars as well. Not only are these techniques usually reserved for teens and adults, there are usually quite a few of them in every martial art style.

Reason #2: Younger Kids Respond To Media And Entertaining Instruction

There are some precautions that we need to take with kids and media. Some kids can become easily addicted to the ease of access to information and entertainment. With that being said, if used correctly it can be a valuable asset and teaching aid.

This can also be added to Karate training to utilize a kids daily screen time in the best way possible. In a study published by the American Academy of Pediatrics kids were found to get exponentially more health benefits from active movement stimulated by their interactions with media through screen devices. Active participation in Karate classes using these devices could negate any bad effects caused by their sedentary use.

Kids are definitely stimulated by imagination and creativity. This can be accomplished online when they are learning by themselves at home. In my classes done live online I use video, pictures, sounds, etc. to aid younger kids in the class. This isn’t part of a normal on-site training session, but can be an integral part of a virtual one.

Kids respond to media and entertainment much more than adults do. Sure, adults will appreciate the occasional visual or audio teaching tool, but it is not always necessary. Yet with kids, you are upping the coolness factor exponentially when you utilize any sort of digital media.

This for a child equals motivation. If you are not familiar with what it takes to reach higher levels of martial arts training, let me tell you. Motivation to keep going even when you don’t want to is really what separates those who achieve black belt and beyond and those who don’t.

Reason #3: Younger Kids Are More Comfortable In Familiar Environments

Having run many on-site martial arts studios and schools, this point is a no brainer. One of the number one problems some children have with attending in person classes, especially in the beginner stages is being comfortable in the environment.

There is no place they know better than their own home. This is the one place they feel the most like “themselves.” In a learn by yourself type of situation where media and sometimes online instruction is used, this is the exact place learning will happen.

For shy or awkward children that just haven’t become comfortable in their own skin yet, this could be the best way to get them started in the martial arts.

There are many benefits of learning karate including more discipline, improved strength in the body, better coordination, higher stamina and the ability to work on important morals like courtesy, honor, and self-control. All of these are still available to online and distance learning students in either the child or adult age brackets

Reasons Learning Karate Alone Can Work But In Limited Form For Teens And Adults.

Older children like teens and even adults can learn the fundamental techniques of karate online as well. The progress they will make depends on the school of karate they decide to work with.

These teens and adults can expect to get through at least the beginning stages of karate online and sometimes even advance to the intermediate level. If they wish to advance to the later stages, they will need to consider in-person instruction to make this easier.

There are several reasons learning by yourself can work in early stages for teens and adults.

Reason #1: Adults And Teens Learn Techniques From Intermediate Level On That Must Be Done With Partners

Many of the techniques that children learn are included in an adult curriculum. These can definitely be done alone or with a partner. Yet, there are large portions of many martial arts styles that are reserved for adult students alone.

Many of these techniques require live partner training. This is coupled with the fact that much of an adult curriculum not only requires exhibition of technique in proper form, but live application proficiency against a resisting opponent.

As you can see from this type of difference, once intermediate levels of training are reached by adults their training varies greatly from younger kids. Adults most of the time will need an overseeing instructor and willing training partners to progress into upper levels of most systems.

Reason #2: Adults And Teens Will Need More Group Interaction For Motivation To Complete Goals

Children living at home with their parents have a constant source of motivation and encouragement for most of their endeavors. This comes in the form of parents and even siblings. Online or self training is more reasonable for children because of this.

For adults, motivation becomes their number one enemy. This is noted by many martial arts instructors to be the number one reason most do not reach their goal of black belt. Sometimes the best way to combat this is the comradery of a group of training partners who usually become friends.

Where kids have their parents and family to cheer them on, adults training alone will not always be afforded this luxury. Many will find that they eventually need the support of others on the same path to reach their long term goals. This becomes more and more difficult learning Karate on your own.

Reason #3: Learning Application Of Techniques In The Adrenal State Requires In Person Partner Interaction

One of the key components to practical application of any martial art whether in sport or self defense is the students ability to overcome the adrenal dump. This is the moment some call ‘fight or flight’, yet it is much more than that.

When your adrenaline begins pumping in a stressful situation many of your fine motor skills simply become unusable. You are left with the larger motor functions and usually those that have been ingrained in you by years of repetition.

The old saying is really true:

You do what you train, so train what to do.

In order for adults and teens to become comfortable in that state, it has to be trained in many times. This can be done by sparring sessions, live self defense training, or sport tournament competitions. Freezing in the face of fear can happen to us all, but those that prepare are more and more likely to be able to overcome it with ongoing training in the adrenal state.

Do I Need Special Supplies to Learn at Home?

The items that you need to practice karate at home will depend on your learning style. Beginners can technically learn the skill with nothing besides some comfortable clothing to help them move around.

For those who want to master their skills, it may be a good idea to have a few other items around. Students may choose to have a Karategi, or the traditional white karate uniform, to wear while they practice. It is often best to practice in bare feet or light socks so no special footwear is required.

For some of the special techniques or to practice sparring in the beginning, having a few things to punch and kick through can be beneficial as well. You can purchase traditional karate equipment to help with this or use something basic like a punching/kicking bag to help.

Here is my recommendation for the two most important pieces of gear / equipment that any student can have. I recommend these boxing gloves that can be shipped directly to your door from Amazon. I also highly recommend this free standing heavy bag by Century that can also be shipped directly to your home by Amazon.

If you would like to learn more from a very detailed article I wrote about the best kicking bag according to martial arts style and age bracket, check it out at this link.

Keep in mind that learning karate at home is best when just learning the basics so having the basic supplies is sufficient.

Practicing Karate At Home

When you decide to start karate at home, there are a few stages that you will see in all classes. Most will start with a warmup. This allows you to loosen the muscles and can get everyone ready to go for the other moves. The class should move on to basics, including different kicks, strikes, and punches of karate to help students review material from the past and learn something new.

The Problem Of Partner Training For Teens And Adults

For older students, sparring should still be part of the class, though it is sometimes hard unless there are two people learning with one another in the same place. You can do some of the techniques on your own, but to really master them, it is important to partner up at some point to gain more experience.

It is possible for adults and teens to find partners for this sort of training, but without a supervising instructor present, it could end in physical injuries or at least emotional episodes where pride and feelings may take a beating. Because of the nature of live or semi-live training, it is best to have a qualified and seasoned instructor present to oversee the session.

Younger Children Have It Easier Where Partner Training Is Required

Many online children’s karate classes will require a parent to be present to help. This allows the parent to see what the child is working on and can make some of the sparring work easier. Since karate is best learned by action, the parent can help their child learn by watching and participating in these classes.

Using boxing gloves, striking targets, and extension equipment like noodles or padded sticks can all greatly aid a child in their martial arts development. Though these kids aren’t technically learning by themselves, parents really don’t need any experience in the martial arts to help them.

Some Parts Of Karate Training Are Tailor Made For Learning By Yourself

After sparing, the stage of kata, or forms, will be practiced as well. Forms are important in karate to make sure that the student is learning the right basics and can utilize the discipline that they need.

This can become an artform in and of itself. Some are designed to be acrobatic, some are made with beauty in mind, but all are developed to aid the student in learning technique progression. As long as a student realizes they are simply a learning drill or aid, they can be a great part of any martial arts journey.

For a child or adult learning the basics, it is possible to watch videos, join a class, or even read some books on the techniques and forms and learn some of them at home. But there are some limitations. For those who want to master karate, it is easy enough to begin the lessons at home, but at some point you may need to consider going to a physical class to add in the sparring and more difficult techniques.

When Should I Consider An In Person Karate Instructor?

It is possible to learn some karate at home without an instructor. Children can learn most of the basic levels at home, making this a great way to keep them active and teach discipline, even if the nearest karate school is too far away. Even older children can learn some of the basic and intermediate stages at home too, though they must have the right dedication and motivation to keep up. Learning karate at home may save time driving to the school, but it still takes time and effort.

If you are an adult who wants to learn karate, it is possible to learn in the beginning at home. With a good online school, most adults can learn the basics, and sometimes up to intermediate, stages from their home. For those who want to advance past the beginning stages though, it is important research and consider in-person classes to help you meet this goal.

If you are studying with a good instructor online, you have a great resource at your fingertips, as long as they have your best interests in mind. An honest Karate teacher will let you know when it is time to move to more advanced training with an in-person class or private session.

You as a student after a few months of training will begin to know which portions are better with partners and which can be done well alone. Once most of the training you are doing requires a partner, it may be time to look for an organized class.

The Learning Karate By Yourself Takeaway…

Karate is most definitely learnable by yourself if you keep realistic expectations in mind. The level you can attain will be different depending on your personality, discipline level, and most importantly your age.

Training in Karate by yourself is much more accessible for children as their technique base will be smaller and expectations are more exhibition based rather than predominately application based.

If you have or know of younger children that are interested in starting Karate and would benefit from a fun online class with kids from around the world, here is the link to all the info for my Kids Karate Classes online.

Mathew Booe

Mathew Booe is a father of four, husband to Jackie since 1994, retired international competitor with over 50 wins, an international seminar instructor, a master instructor of hundreds of Little Ninjas each week, and the one bringing you the great content like you just read. Sign up for the newsletter to hear about his upcoming books before they are released to the public.

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