Give winter doldrums a karate chop

What ever happened to exercising?

Kids would rather be in front of a computer or TV screen than be outside, and will usually have an excuse for not working out, like, “It’s too hard,” “It’s boring,” or “I hate sweating.”

But, without physical activity, they can become obese, easily tired, anti-social and depressed. It is extremely important that you encourage your child to stay off the computer and TV screens, and get outside and exercise. Alternatively, there are plenty of indoor activities he can do on a weekly basis, such as martial arts. So get your child active today.

What can martial arts do for my child?

There are many benefits martial arts can offer your child, including helping him with self-discipline. Karate classes teach kids dedication, perseverance and self-dependence, which transfers over to school, homework and other sports and activities. Before you know it, he’ll be doing his homework without being told, finding answers to hard questions without asking for help, and being helpful at home and in the classroom.

Martial arts, and being active in general, will also help sharpen your child’s memory. Kids need to practice and memorize their martial arts moves. The more they work on learning and memorizing their moves, the more it will get easier to remember dates for exams and keywords and information from reading materials — ultimately leading to higher grades.

Karate highly values respect toward each other and elders. Students respect their instructor, their classmates and the equipment by not interrupting while the instructor is talking, bowing to each other and the instructor, and helping to clean up after practice. From this, kids learn to respect their parents, teachers and other adults with a different type of tonality and maturity. They start to realize that interrupting a conversation is rude, talking back is wrong, and helping out is great and very much appreciated.

Is karate good for those with ADHD?

Yes, it is. Impatience, lack of focus, difficulty controlling behavior — all signs of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) — can’t be cured by karate, but can be curbed. A new, fun, challenging activity turns on kids’ attention — they are unconsciously required to focus and pay attention. Martial arts helps kids become more active and aware of their surroundings. They also learn to control themselves and their actions, think before they attempt to do something, and pay attention.

Exercising is necessary to ensure children are healthy and happy. All changes happen in time. For some children, it just takes more time than others.

Sensei Vlad Davydov is the owner of AmeriKick Martial Arts in Staten Island. He is a former head instructor of two martial arts studios and is a second dan Kenpo Karate black belt. He has taught more than 1,000 students and has won a 2009 International Excellent Instructor Achievement Award, as well as a 2005 Heisman Award.

AmeriKick Martial Arts [341 A Sand Lane in Staten Island, (718) 524-0244]. Currently offering a two-for-one special for the month. For more information, you can visit www.AmeriKickSI.com.