Fun Karate Exercises for Kids

Get active with these exercises designed to put the kick back in your family's workout.

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Photograph by Laura Doss

As students of Mr. Miyagi know, the true purpose of teaching the martial arts is not to turn kids into fighters. Instead, the aim is for them to learn respect, discipline, and humility -- and that self-defense skills are best used as a last resort. Of course, the martial arts are also great fun, offering such terrific benefits as improved balance and coordination. That's why we asked experts Katalin Rodriguez Ogren of Pow! Kids Chicago and Terence Mitchell of Trained Martial Arts in Bardonia, New York, to come up with some exercises to fit your family.

Start each exercise with your feet shoulder-width apart and repeat moves at least ten times for the most benefit.

Hit Your Shadow: Stand with your back to a light source so that it casts a shadow onto a facing wall. Raise both fists as shown, then snap out a punch, quickly returning it. Switch arms and repeat.

Originally published in the March 2014 issue of FamilyFun magazine.

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Illustration by Robert Prince

Front Stance: Place your hands on your hips and lunge forward with your right leg, keeping your left leg straight, until you can't see your toes. Then, return to the starting position and switch legs.

Originally published in the March 2014 issue of FamilyFun magazine.

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Illustration by Robert Prince

Front Kick: Stand with one leg slightly in front of the other, with your fists and elbows as shown. Lift your back leg up to hip height, with your knee bent and toes flexed. Extend your leg out and up, then bring it back through the bent-leg position and return it to the floor. Switch legs.

Originally published in the March 2014 issue of FamilyFun magazine.

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Illustration by Robert Prince

Gorilla Thumping: Start slowly, then pick up the pace as you improve. Thump your chest four times, gorilla-style, alternating arms. Then squat down, slap the floor with your palms four times, and return to the starting position.

Originally published in the March 2014 issue of FamilyFun magazine.

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