Age Range: 6 to 12 years. Students age 7 and older are also welcome to participate in the other classes offered at Yoseikan II.
Purpose: This class was designed to introduce the younger student to the martial arts in a formal manner. While preserving the respect, discipline, and integrity of Karate, we are striving to create a kinder and friendlier environment that should feel safe and fun to the younger student.
Environment: Although the intention is to make the class fun and enjoyable, there will be a balance between fun and discipline – this is not playtime. Depending on their developmental level, students will have different needs that will be taken into consideration. We recognize that students will have different levels of physical and mental ability and we will make appropriate accommodations. More than teaching the kids patience, we, as teachers, will also be patient with them. We recognize that, in as much as this opportunity can be a tremendous boost to a child’s self-confidence and self-esteem, it can also be equally damaging if approached inappropriately.
Enthusiasm is contagious, so teachers will communicate their enthusiasm for Karate to the students. This concept becomes more important as the novelty of learning Karate wears off for the children. It will also be important for the parents to convey their enthusiasm for their children’s participation in Karate by watching classes at least occasionally and encouraging their children to practice regularly at home.
Students will refer to their teachers as “Sensei”, which means “teacher”. As the students get older, they will be encouraged to begin to use last names with “Sensei”. Children will be permitted to use first names for each other. As they get older, however, they will be encouraged to begin to use last names of classmates, as is done in the other karate classes offered at our Dojo.
Teaching of the Japanese terminology will be incorporated into the lesson plan as “Japanese lessons.” Children love to learn different languages (remember Sesame Street?). During Japanese lessons, words will be broken down into syllables, and the children will be encouraged to repeat after the Sensei.
The use of the bag and focus pads will be introduced early on in order to give the children the experience of physical contact as well as the proper way to execute a technique (e.g., straight wrist with punches, toes curled back with kicks). With this in mind, it is very important to get the point across to the children that Karate techniques are not to be used on siblings, classmates, playmates, etc., unless they are expressly practicing with another member of the school. Children “showing off” by demonstrating techniques will strongly be discouraged by teachers and should also be discouraged by parents.
A reading will take place at the end of each class. Each reading will be selected to reinforce certain principles that are being taught to the children such as respect, patience, courage, and loyalty.
Outcome: We expect that, by participating in this karate class, the children will develop better motor coordination, higher self-esteem, and greater respect for adults, their peers, and themselves.
Shihan Laura Stith Deck, Ph.D, Go Dan