Sensei Mike's Blog

Super Kids

Structure, Rules, Boundaries

More Rules - More Freedom

July 01, 20243 min read

More Rules, More Freedom

My rules my life

Structure, Rules, Boundaries, and Limitations

Hey there! Today, I want to talk about something that might surprise you—children love rules. Yes, that’s right, they actually love them!

As a dad of three, I know it might seem like kids are always pushing against rules, trying to bend or break them to get what they want. But put a group of kids in a playground, and the first thing they do is create a game. The next step? They set and agree on the rules: the objective, how to win, what’s not allowed, and where the safe zones are.

Even when left to their own devices, children crave a sense of structure. They want to be sure about what they’re doing and feel confident they’re doing it the “correct” way. This lets them express themselves freely, knowing they’re safe and secure within the game's rules.

When children play, they create a stress-free environment where they feel certain, safe, and secure. These feelings come from the structure, rules, boundaries, and limitations they’ve set up. Kids understand that their enjoyment depends on these guidelines, and anyone who breaks the rules quickly gets labeled a cheat and might even be excluded from the group.

Red Card sent off

So, from a young age, children not only accept but also enforce rules among themselves. It’s a form of discipline they instinctively understand.

Take video games, for example. They are essentially rule-based scenarios where players know there are rewards and penalties for each action. This predictability makes video games a safe and secure place for kids, especially timid ones. It’s interactive, immersive, and consistent—what’s not to like?

As a karate instructor, I see firsthand how children thrive with structure, rules, boundaries, and limitations. We have clear rules in our classes: children must address instructors as Sensei or Sir/Miss, line up in silence, and follow specific movements and techniques. When it’s time for tag sparring, they move freely. Kids love it because they know exactly what’s expected of them.

Kata grading test

Our clear expectations and strict adherence to rules ensure safety and allow children to feel secure. This helps them perform to the best of their ability, take pride in their achievements, and grow in confidence.

cant do this or that

As a parent, I used to worry that setting rules might be the opposite of nurturing. Was I being too harsh? Was it just a male trait to set rules? But after years of teaching karate to hundreds of children, I’ve seen that clear structure and rules have only positive outcomes.

For my kids, understanding the reasons and benefits of the rules helped them feel nurtured. As they grew older, I could relax those rules, but the foundation was already set. The freedom they felt within that structure far outweighed any concerns I had about being too strict.

If children are so comfortable with structure that they create their own rules in its absence, why not set rules that benefit their lives and yours? Rules about bedtimes, manners, screen time, exercise, and behavior in public help them understand expectations and, eventually, set those standards for themselves.

The more structure you provide, the more certainty, safety, and security your child will feel. And with that, they’ll have the freedom to explore and grow within those boundaries.

So, my advice? Turn your kid into a super kid by setting clear structure, rules, boundaries, and limitations. Trust me, they’ll be glad you did, and so will you.

Have fun and stay safe!

Mike Turbitt
Principal Instructor

For more of Mike's work check out the links below.

FREE Parent's Guide: 10 Ways you can help improve your child's Focus!

How to improve your childs focus

Ebook - How to Build a Black Belt Business

How to Build a Black Belt Business

eBook - The Art of Teaching Karate Kids

The Art of Teaching Karate Kids

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Michael Turbitt

Michael Turbitt is a renowned karate instructor and the driving force behind Team Black Belt Martial Arts Academy. With a rich background in traditional Japanese karate, particularly the Wado Ryu style, Michael has dedicated his life to teaching and mentoring students of all ages. His approach to karate is not just about physical training but also about building confidence, self-esteem, and life skills in his students. Michael's journey in martial arts began at the age of 12, and over the years, he has honed his skills and teaching methods, combining traditional techniques with modern, engaging, and motivational practices. His philosophy centers on the belief that karate should improve the lives of its practitioners, both physically and mentally. He emphasizes values such as courtesy, respect, discipline, and perseverance, ensuring that his students not only become proficient in martial arts but also grow as individuals. At Team Black Belt, Michael has created a warm, friendly, and supportive environment where students feel encouraged and motivated. His classes are designed to be fun and energetic, making martial arts accessible and enjoyable for everyone. Michael's innovative teaching methods, including the use of games and positive reinforcement, have made his dojo one of the most popular and respected in Solihull. Michael Turbitt's commitment to his students extends beyond the dojo. He actively engages with the community, promoting personal safety programs, anti-bullying strategies, and life skills education. His passion for helping others reach their full potential is evident in every aspect of his work, making him a beloved and influential figure in the world of martial arts.

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