Our Karate program for children is designed to teach your child:
- Self Defense: Unfortunately, in today’s society children can be more subject to violence than in days past. Therefore, it is important for us as educators to provide them with the skills and understanding to protect themselves. Our program teaches simple safety rules, awareness and preventative measures along with specific defensive techniques, so that the children learn to recognize a dangerous situation in order to avoid being trapped in it. Self-defense isn’t all about punching and kicking. We teach how to be aware and to help make sure we don’t find ourselves in a situation where we have to physically defend ourselves.
- Physical Fitness: This is an important aspect of a child’s training. Coordination, strength, speed and power are the skills developed through our program, and are not only great for a child’s overall health and fitness, but skills cross over into other types of exercise and sports. These benefits are also closely related to a child’s self- esteem, which is crucial in the athletic-conscious society of elementary and middle school.
- Respect / Etiquette / Attitude: Children who study karate learn respect, self-control, and increased concentration (which often leads to better grades in school). This confidence can be especially helpful in dealing with peer pressure. Our programs are also designed to teach children to better interact with each other, which is especially helpful for shy children, helping them improve their social skills.
A typical junior karate class includes:
- Stretching / warm-ups. Stretch out your body from toes to the head, preparing the body for the class.
- Basics. Get the blood going by performing various basics (punching, blocking, kicking) in various ways: stationary, moving or with a partner.
- Body Conditioning (Advanced Only). With a partner, we condition our forearms, sides, stomach muscles, legs and chins by striking these targets with each other. Emphasis is on starting out slow and soft, as we don’t want to hurt one another. But, we do want to build up tolerance and build strength over a period of time, so students start off slow. The idea is learning how being hit feels and also by being struck in these areas, you build a tolerance and strength as well.
- Power / Stamina Training. Working on various bags, various techniques, we build up strength, power and stamina on our punches and kicks. We work with partners and stand alone bags. We vary the combinations and techniques to keep it fresh and learn different ways to strike.
- Kata (Forms – Advanced Only). The central component of Goju Ryu Karate, Kata are prearranged forms that allow a student to practice alone, and appreciate the interaction of numerous basic techniques. As students progress they are taught more intricate and complex kata. These forms have been handed down from century to century and can be practiced one’s whole life. Within the movements of a kata are many “bunkai” or self-defense applications that can be broken down and practiced with a partner. Kata is a concrete manifestation of technique, embodying the essence of traditional Karate.
- Sparring / Randori (Advanced Only). With protective gear on, we spar with fellow students to execute the various techniques we are learning. Sparring develops your understanding of the distance and timing needed for offensive and defensive movement in a loose, non-contact format. Free sparring is also excellent self-defense training. Not only does it help build one’s confidence, it helps one develop the physical and emotional reactions needed to deal with a potentially violent situation on the streets. Often we will start off with Randori, which is sparring at half speed, focusing on footwork, keeping hands up, give and take and not worrying so much about ‘winning’.