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Karate for Girls

karate for girlsKarate training at Cedar Ridge Academy helps girls build self-control and assertiveness. Experience reveals depression and anxiety are occurring more and more often among young girls who are being referred into treatment. More girls are feeling stuck, too afraid to stand up for themselves. Feeling stuck leads to repressed emotions. Repressed emotions are a major reason why girls dissociate and cut themselves as a means of seeking relief from these emotions. Such relief-seeking strategies only serve to reinforce the hurt and pain that cause these behaviors. Left unchecked, relief-seeking behaviors set the girl up for a lifetime of hurt and ineffective strategies for resolution of these feelings.

Learning the appropriate expression of feelings and practicing being confident and assertive goes a long way toward helping girls overcome repressed feelings. Our karate classes provide a solid foundation for appropriate, assertive expression of feelings and the ability to stand up for oneself. Formal karate teaches self-control and self-discipline. With correct training, karate is an antidote to aggressive and impulsive reactions. A disciplined training routine does wonders for depression and anxiety.

Karate can provide a wonderful format for teaching the appropriate expression of feelings. Sometimes, being assertive (like arguing to get your way with a parent) is a skill the girl has, but then doesn't use in situations where she needs to use it. In some girls that skill just doesn't seem to exist. If that's the case, then karate, along with individual and group therapy, can help build that skill set.

Karate training at Cedar Ridge Academy is invaluable in helping build this skill set. We're not talking about the local karate studio. Our reference to karate training refers to the way that we personally teach karate. The methods that we use are tempered by the 40+ years that we have been teaching Shotokan karate, coupled with more than twenty years of conducting therapy with adolescent girls.

Traditional Karate Training Helps Girls have Healthy Interactions with Boys

The traditional discipline of karate effectively conditions confident and assertive behaviors in our students. In addition to the basic karate skills, our extensive therapeutic background enables us to provide experiential exercises that facilitate the appropriate and congruent expression of thoughts and emotions that girls repress.

karate training helps girlsOver the past twenty years we have seen a steady decline among the girls with whom we have worked when it comes to standing up to boys. The media is partly to blame for this, but without getting into why girls are more willing to accept abuse from boys, this rate of decline is disturbing. More girls are willing to take a submissive role in a relationship with boys. Getting girls to role-play assertive behavior with each other increasingly triggers resistance.

In our experience, fear of rejection by boys drives this resistance. Even after a girl has experienced abusive, demeaning behaviors from a boy, she would rather repress the hurt than stand up for herself. On the other hand, there are more boys who expect the girl to fall in line or else be criticized and ostracized for not going along with what the boys wants. These girls gravitate toward the “bad boys”, the risk-takers who portray themselves as strong and confidant, which makes this dynamic worse. Many of these boys present this image as a means of compensating for insecurities. When this fragile narcissism takes a hit, this (bad) boy will react with anger, even rage, whenever their veneer of being cool becomes threatened.

Karate classes at Cedar Ridge Academy are an excellent delivery method when it comes to helping students struggling with depression, anxiety and many unwanted affects that come from repressing emotions. Karate doesn't teach aggression. Rather, it teaches confidence and self-control. DBT and mindfulness interventions are easily brought into karate discipline and training paradigms. When practiced sufficiently, karate training provides a solid foundation for appropriate, assertive expressions of feelings and the ability to stand up for oneself – skills which are crucial for girls to become healthy young women.