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My children are learning Karate right now and they are much smaller than other children their age. I was thinking maybe they can do some kind of exercise that would help them grow taller.

However we go to a lot of Karate competitions, and I also have observed athletes in their Dojo, and I noticed that the taller people are generally slower in movements due to their sheer size. I understand in Kumite (sparring) taller people are at an advantage because their shorter opponents cannot reach in to them easily, but for Kata you need quick and strong movements.

So my question is for a professional Karate champion, does being taller mean he/she is getting slower in their Katas? Or in other words, are there a lot of famous Karate champions who are tall?

  • "I understand in Kumite (sparring) taller people are at an advantage because their shorter opponents cannot reach in to them easily" - on the other hand, in Point Sparring, a shorter, faster opponent will be trying to close into a range where a "clean" (i.e. scoring) technique is harder to achieve. At the various international tournaments that I have been to, there hasn't been a visible correlation between height and success. – Chronocidal Jul 25 at 11:35
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I was thinking may be they can do some kind of exercise that would help them grow taller.

Stop now - there are no exercises that will accelerate vertical growth. Your kids will grow at the rate that they are genetically predisposed to.

But for Kata you need quick and strong movements.

Not always - in some traditional katas there are slow moves. You probably haven't seen them yet.

i also notice athletes in their Dojo and i observed that the taller people are generally slower in movements due to their sheer size.... does being taller mean he/she getting slower in their Katas

We should differentiate between tallness and sheer size - they are two different things. Sheer size would imply that the person is physically bigger rather than just taller. People who are large can be slower but that is not a rule - they can also be just as quick as anyone else.

When we think about height (tallness), it becomes interesting. Being taller will usually mean you also have longer limbs, and based purely on physics this means your strike can take longer to get to its full extent (i.e. it takes longer for a tall person's punch to reach its limit when compared to a shorter person). However that assertion is also arguable - when it comes to a fight or sparring the combatants are standing at the same distance from each other so your techniques both have the same distance to travel. In this scenario speed is based purely on a person's training and physical capability rather than their physical attributes.

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To answer the second sentence in your first paragraph, there is no exercise that will make you taller, although there are exercises that will improve posture. For children, the primary factor is avoiding malnourishment, but that's difficult to do in this modern time, so you should be good. As regards taller martial artists, it's a mixed bag. They have greater reach, but they generally have more mass to move over a longer distance than someone shorter. On the other hand, once they start moving, that greater force means they're likely hitting harder and the reach, of course, is important when fighting.

In terms of kata, I'd say that that there should really be no difference. Theoretically, a taller person might have a slight balance disadvantage due to a higher center of gravity, but the odds are that this is not a major factor. Otherwise, kata emphasizes good solid controlled techniques, so speed is not as important, and the inherent control and designated movements means that the taller martial artist's reduced ability to slow their blows is not as much of an issue.

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The answer about being Tall is NO... i am currently 6'5" tall and have won several Kata competitions, the awkwardness or the difficulty with being taller is training yourself to shorten your moves and still show the quickness and crispness in your movement. The other questions about exercising to get taller is none.. also just to comment height has it advantages but being tall or short doesnt matter you just need to understand your approach and understand your opponent and their moves. Remember a boxer is as good as his/her jab.

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