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Students of Bushido Karate

Who is in the spotlight this week?

The Bushido School of Karate is so appreciative of the students and families that are a part of our Bushido Karate family. We’ve had the pleasure of teaching for over 2 decades and in that time have been privileged to teach thousands of students. Everyone started at the beginning with no shortcuts, and we are so proud of their accomplishments.  Our weekly Student Spotlight features randomly chosen students on their own journey at The Bushido School of Karate.

The spotlight is on Kaiden!

Kaiden is 6 years old, is in 1st grade and is currently a yellow belt at The Bushido School of Karate. He began his training with us in July 2016 in our Little Eagles Martial Arts® program. Kaiden graduated into our Kid’s Beginner Karate program in November 2017 and has been moving up ever since!

Bushido Karate makes me feel: strong My favorite part of class is: games I like to learn: kicks

– Kaiden, age 6
young karate student balancing on a ball
Kaiden was a Little Eagle’s student in April 2017

We joined the Bushido Karate family 4 years ago when Kaiden was 2 years old. I remember the first time we visited Sempai Burrell and Sensei Schwartz made us feel so welcomed. The staff has always been so positive and alre always challenging Kaiden to become his best version and we love that!

Training at Bushido Karate has been an amazing experience. From the moment Kaiden started in Little Eagles with Sensei Schwartz we have seen tremendous growth. Kaiden is now a confident, disciplined little boy!

– Kaiden’s mom
Spotlight on Kaiden
February 26, 2020
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Martial arts has been shown to improve a person’s emotional wellbeing

“As well as increasing physical fitness and mental health, martial arts can boost brain cognition too”

This is a fantastic article recently published by Ashleigh Johnstone a PhD researcher in cognitive neuroscience at Bangor University. This article was originally published on The Conversation ( 

We are all aware that exercise generally has many benefits, such as improving physical fitness and strength. But what do we know about the effects of specific types of exercise? Researchers have already shown that jogging can increase life expectancy, for example, while yoga makes us happy.

However, there is one activity that goes beyond enhancing physical and mental health – martial arts can boost your brain’s cognition too.

Researchers say that there are two ways to improve attention, through attention training (AT), and attention state training (AST). AT is based on practising a specific skill and getting better at that skill, but not others – using a brain training video game, for example.

​AST on the other hand is about getting into a specific state of mind that allows a stronger focus. This can be done by using exercise, meditation or yoga, among other things.

It has been suggested that martial arts is a form of AST, and supporting this, recent research has shown a link between practice and improved alertness. Backing this idea up further, another study showed that martial arts practice – specifically karate – is linked with better performance on a divided attention task.

This is an assignment in which the person has to keep two rules in mind and respond to signals based on whether they are auditory or visual.

In a US study, children aged between eight and 11 years old were tasked with traditional martial arts training that focused on respecting other people and defending themselves as part of an anti-bullying programme. The children were also taught how to maintain a level of self-control in heated situations.

The researchers found that the martial arts training reduced the level of aggressive behaviour in boys, and found that they were more likely to step in and help someone who was being bullied than before they took part in the training.

Significant changes were not found in the girls’ behaviour, potentially because they showed much lower levels of physical aggression before the training than the boys did.

Interestingly, this anti-aggression effect is not limited to young children. A different piece of research found reduced physical and verbal aggression, as well as hostility, in adolescents who practised martial arts too.

Some forms of martial arts, such as tai chi, place great emphasis on controlled breathing and meditation. These were strongly linked in one study with reduced feelings of stress, as well as being better able to manage stress when it is present in young to middle-aged adults.

This effect has also been found in older adults – the 330 participants in this research had a mean age of 73 – too. And the softer, flowing movements make it an ideal, low-impact exercise for older people.

As several scientists are now looking into the links between emotional wellbeing and physical health, it’s vital to note that martial arts has been show to improve a person’s emotional wellbeing too.

In the study linked above, 45 older adults (aged 67-93) were asked to take part in karate training, cognitive training, or non-martial arts physical training for three to six months.

The older adults in the karate training showed lower levels of depression after the training period than both other groups, perhaps due to its meditative aspect. It was also reported that these adults showed a greater level of self-esteem after the training too.

After comparing a sedentary control group with a group of people doing karate, Italian researchers found that taking part in karate can improve a person’s working memory. They used a test that involved recalling and repeating a series of numbers, both in the correct order and backwards, which increased in difficulty until the participant was unable to continue.

The karate group were much better at this task than the control group, meaning they could recall longer series of numbers. Another project found similar results while comparing tai chi practice with “Western exercise” – strength, endurance and resistance training.

Evidently, there is far more to martial arts than its traditional roles. Though they have been practised for self-defence and spiritual development for many hundreds of years, only relatively recently have researchers had the methods to assess the true extent of how this practice affects the brain.

-End of article-


The Bushido School of Karate offers karate classes for all ages, including Little Eagles Martial Arts for toddlers.   In addition to in-person training you can learn and benefit from the brain-boosting  techniques by learning online!
For our students, and those looking to learn Beginner Level Bushido Karate, our online tutorials  provide everything you need to be better.  If you prefer basic tutorials for more of a “kickboxing feel” with complete explanations of moves and simple brain-training combinations, check out our Martial Arts Fitness series on YouTube.
Osu, keep on keeping on
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What age should kids start martial arts?

family karate classes

When to begin martial arts classes

Toddlers should begin martial arts classes as soon as he or she is out of diapers. Seriously. If the purpose is to instill a sense of sharing, taking turns, and a sense of satisfaction from real achievement, then the younger the better. That’s what martial arts classes for toddlers should emphasize and instill.


Won’t my child get hurt?

At the pre-school age, martial arts is more of a character building class. Typically classes for this age group should be no more than 30 – 40 minutes. Curriculum should involve games and drills with a purpose. It should not look like Romper Room, but it should not involve sparring or hands-on self-defense either. A disciplined class with less than 5 children will significantly reduce any chance of injury. Your toddler may get hurt feelings from a lesson learned, but that may be a part of the growing process.

Where can my preschooler go for martial arts lessons?

I will first refer you to a previous post about How to Choose a Martial Arts School.  Following that, here are some questions to ask:

  • Do they teach toddlers, 2-1/2  years to 4? If the answer is yes, the next questions are:
    • Are the toddlers in their own age appropriate class? Hopefully the answer is yes, and the oldest child is 4 to 4-1/2 years old.
    • How many kids are in the class? This is where ratio is not as important as the total number of little ones. One instructor with perhaps an older student helper and 5 kids is a nice size.
    • Who teaches the classes? It is not unusual for a higher-ranking adult student to teach toddler classes. Don’t always expect a black belt or Master Instructor. And if you do find a class taught by a highly qualified martial arts, that’s a great bonus!
    • What is being taught to the kids? The appropriate answers would include a lot of character building with minimal emphasis on martial arts technique. Minimal does not mean absent – an introduction to the art form is important because it will probably involve memorizing and repetition. Great for developing minds!

At The Bushido School of Karate we started our toddler classes way back in 2000. Our Little Eagles Martial Arts program is still being taught today by the original instructor, Sensei E. Schwartz, in our White Plains, N.Y. karate studio.  With almost 2 decades of development behind Little Eagles Martial Arts, we started filming those classes.  Editing them into very short clips, we made them available online to help and inspire professional martial artists in their own toddler program.  Find ideas for keeping toddlers excited and interested .  Check out how they are learning their alphabet and learning to take turns while reciting the letters. The videos are  available to the public and can be used by anyone – no experience required!

I hope this post was a decent guide for you when deciding the best  martial arts school to help your little one flourish!


The premier program to introduce toddlers to martial arts