Karate For Girls: Will They Like It?

Many of the misconceptions about girls taking Karate classes are a thing of the past. Girl Ninja Power is coming of age. So, with ‘can’ girls take Karate classes not an issue, will they enjoy it? Let’s find out.

With the percentage of girls taking and continuing Karate ever rising, the numbers themselves indicate a high level of satisfaction. The empowering aspect of the martial arts and their confidence boosting capabilities add self esteem to the exciting atmosphere of most classes.

What is it about the practice itself that makes it so enjoyable for girls? Also, what benefits create that accomplished feeling of inner and outer growth in sustained participation in Karate classes? We can look at both of these.

What Makes Karate Classes So Fun For Girls Anyway?

According to a Mayo Clinic article you can find here, activities like martial arts release endorphins in the brain which reduce stress and brightens the mood. They go further to say that doing something you enjoy regularly has lasting effects.

In most kid’s Karate classes, the drills take on the form of games and challenges that any kid will find fun and engaging. For girls specifically, it is a chance to be ruff and tumble with their bodies and experiment to see what they can do without worrying about being kept from the ball, the goal, or hoop. They are competing with themselves and learning to push their own limitations.

If you add these two together you get a strong soup of fun and exploration that can lead to later goal setting and accomplishments. Inherent in the martial arts is the idea of setting manageable goals and reaching them. This adds to the satisfaction and leaves them wanting more. Reaching goals gives much more long term and real happiness than most anything else can.

This is further enhanced by the character building aspects of the Karate that helps them control their emotions and impulses. Getting along with friends in their martial arts and school classes creates better days overall. This in turn allows them to achieve more of the goals they have set.

Being More Energetic and Healthy Through Karate Grows Happiness

In a 2019 study done in the Central European Journal For The Social Sciences and Humanities, researchers found that in comparison with other sport activities Karate training is “more beneficial for both the mental and physical development of preschool girls.” They recommend it for girls in this developmental stage over other exercise programs.

When little girls feel stronger and more in control they will be more apt to fight for their place in the social situations. It only takes one or two bully situations to tear down self esteem. With confidence and assertiveness that girls gain from Karate classes, they can withstand these pressures.

Through greater physical fitness which girls will definitely get from Karate, their energy levels will increase. On the other hand, they will be more active during the class and will be more ready for bed when the time comes.

Karate Is an Enjoyable Stereotype Buster For Girls

According to Simmons Market Research, girls and women make up 48% of those participating in the martial arts. This percentage is up significantly from the last century.

Girls should embrace their feminine side and denying that will bring lasting issues. Yet, pigeon holing girls into only certain activities and achievements because they have the benefit of femininity is a detriment from the other angle. Girls should be encouraged to explore activities with physical contact and reputations for masculine only involvement.

This should be done in a well supervised and designed environment so that limitations can be challenged without injuries. There is the possibility of turning girls off from the whole process if for their courageous efforts they receive only injuries in return. No one will keep doing an activity, no matter the positive benefits, if they routinely come away with pain as their payment.

A stereotype for girls can many times be that they are fragile. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Since the average frame and muscular structure of women makes them on average less strong and smaller than their male counterparts, it is assumed that this translates to less capable. With determination and training, Karate can help them overcome these perceived limitations.

Women are the target of physical and sexual abuse which can add to this misconception. With techniques trained through repeated practice, especially women that have started as girls can deter most would be attackers. Like the school bully, adult attackers usually only attempt assaults they think they can easily accomplish without much resistance. Prolonged martial arts training teaches girls how to effectively resist.

Do Girls Like Wearing the Baggy Karate Gis?

I can answer this with a story about my daughter. Her older brother is five years her senior. When she was preschool aged she would regularly raid his room for super hero capes, actions figures, and vehicles. She didn’t turn them into accessories for her tea parties, which she loved in her cloud painted, blue and pink room. She wanted to play with them like she saw her big brother doing.

She was and still is feminine. She loves puppies, sloths, and purple even in college. Yet, she also loves action movies, kickboxing classes, and fishing. She still remembers liking to dress up in her brothers costumes with the mask and capes and all. These were traditionally boy things, but she liked them at times as well.

So why is this important when talking about a Karate Gi? Girls are not flat characters in a damsel in distress romance novel. They are round characters in their own story. Sometimes they want to get dirt under their fingernails and sometimes they want to wear the latest outfit their favorite actress wore.

Karate Gis fit both of those bills in one. They look cool, mean something more than shorts and a t-shirt, and foster pride in their achievements. They are workout gear that makes little kids, boys and girls, feel like super heroes. The face of a little girl getting her first Gi is no less filled with wonder and excitement than a boy’s.

A Girl’s Joys of Overcoming Fears Through Karate

One of the many little girls that I had as a student years ago came to me with a warning from her mother. No kidding, she told me that her daughter would probably not do the Karate class because she didn’t like men. I will simply ignore the problems of a parent stating that as if it were a fact and just address the little girl and her experience in the class.

She would sit on the side and watch the class with her hands over her ears as if my voice was hurting them somehow. Every time I would look at her or go over to engage her, she would look away and become unresponsive. She had been allowed to condition herself to fear large, loud people in general and many men in her life fit that bill (I turned out to be just another one of them to her).

This was the way it went for several weeks. Slowly she began to realize that my voice didn’t hurt her ears as she thought it did and would listen to the class with eagerness. She wanted to join the group, but her irrational fears of her own making were stopping her.

Eventually I got her closer and closer to the line of children having a ball in the class (over weeks mind you). Eventually she would laugh at my lame jokes, participate with all the other children, and broke her board on her first test to the shock and dismay of her parents.

Intimidation and nonsensical fears can still be found in girls today around loud groups with rambunctious activities. When men lead the classes, little girls can be conditioned to meet the new environment with fear. Through the guidance of the right instructor, Karate and many other martial art styles can be an invaluable tool in helping girls feel empowered and in control.

The Takeaway…

Will girls like a fun filled class that teaches them they can achieve much more than they imagined? This one is an easy one to say yes to if you find the right instructor and environment. All the elements for long term happiness are there, just waiting to be discovered.

I can liken it to my kid’s first experience at Disneyland in California. We were so excited to take them there on a surprise day trip from Los Angeles. To our surprise, when we pulled up and my older son and daughter saw the giant roller coaster looming over the trees, tears rolled down their cheeks. We couldn’t believe it. It was Disneyland!

It turned out that they thought they were expected to ride the largest ride there and fell into despair. Fast forward a couple of years and a couple of season passes later and they were almost bored with the ‘Incredicoaster’ (actually in the California Adventure side of the park). Fear of the unknown is a powerful foe. The right Karate class for your little girl will take it down, no problem.

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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