By: Mary Bransford | Category: Recreation/Leisure | Issue: March 2009
Apollo’s Karate teaches children valuable life skills. Pictured is Master Instructor Dale “Apollo” Cook with a student.
More and more parents are turning to martial arts as an extracurricular activity for their children. The martial arts programs are a great fitness activity, and the self-esteem and confidence lessons children learn at an early age are invaluable.
“The martial arts instills great discipline,” says owner/instructor Dale “Apollo” Cook. “The greatest benefit for the kids is definitely the self-esteem issue. They do better in school and deal better with peer pressure if they have good self-esteem.”
The school certainly teaches the martial arts moves that are sometimes necessary for self defense and how to deal with bully situations, but Mr. Cook feels that even more important than the physical aspect of the training are the benefits that building a quiet confidence will bring. “Parents are very grateful for the type of confidence the classes instill, even more so than the actual self-defense the school teaches,” states Mr. Cook.
A good martial arts school will teach its students positive ways in which to channel energy. According to Mr. Cook, doctors who treat kids for hyper-activity often encourage parents to enroll their children in a martial arts program. “Confident but not aggressive” is what Apollo’s Karate strives to achieve.
The school offers a different theme every month – for example, last month’s theme was the importance of self-esteem – and also offers a different theme for each belt (for example, the gold belt is the self-esteem belt). “The belt system is key in building self-esteem. It offers the challenge, then the reward. Students also receive a stripe each time they attend class, conduct themselves respectfully and make a good effort. Good behavior is always reinforced positively in class. The school reinforces the importance of a positive and respectful attitude by requiring not only a parent signature but also a schoolteacher’s affirmation validating good behavior before a student is allowed to test for the next level.”
The martial arts also can help kids during different age stages, again due to the self-esteem and confidence they gain from their lessons. “A child with a positive self-esteem has no reason to get mixed up with drugs or other trouble,” Mr. Cook affirms. “Teens are at a very comparative stage when their peer rating is very important.
A positive sense of self-worth wards off a lot of temptation.” The younger age groups benefit from the classes by learning respect at an early age. This concept carries through the 8-to-12-year groups, where they learn more martial arts moves and more self-defense.
Apollo’s Karate instructors are all certified black belts and are personally trained by Mr. Cook, receiving not merely physical training, but instruction in the psychological training of children as well. The instructors participate in the American Council in Martial Arts instructor education and certification program, which assists the instructors with keeping current on important teaching issues.
The Apollo’s Karate schools also have the largest adult enrollment in the state and offer cardio-kickboxing classes, too. There are a number of programs designed to meet many needs. For more information about children’s and adult classes, call any one of the four schools for more information: 51st & Mingo (627-7070); 101st & Memorial (369-1953); Broken Arrow (695-8885); and Owasso (695-7070).