Karate for little children
Junior tigers

Sensei Nobuaki Kanazawa, 6th Dan, Kancho Designate, with children at the Shi-Gaku-Kan,
Peterhead One of the fundamental precepts of karate as taught in the Shi-Gaku-Kan is Karate is for everybody. On Saturday mornings in the general class in Peterhead, for part of the time, the youngest children, just 5 years old are training in the class with students of all ages up to the oldest, in his late 60s.

Karate is the one of very few physical activities that allows everybody to participate with equal respect. Respect is a core value in the Shi-Gaku-Kan and it is earned by doing ones best. The best of a 5-year-old is different from the best of 20-year-old, and different from the best of an 80-year-old. Respect is expressed through etiquette. It is said that karate begins and ends with etiquette, and the most important lesson that we try to teach to the children in the mon grades is respect for each other and respect for the teacher. We begin by teaching the core value of karate even before we start to teach the techniques. The children are taught to line up quietly and to listen attentively to what the instructor is saying. Standing quietly in line for a few minutes is an achievement for the youngest children and should not be undervalued.

The physical aspects of karate are taught within the principle of harmony and symmetry: techniques such as stretching, punching, and kicking develop both sides of the body equally, so handedness is not important. Every student is expected to be able to do everything with the right hand and the right foot, the left hand and the left foot. The training is relieved by games designed to develop spatial awareness and coordination: they are fun, but they are also another kind of training. Being parents themselves, the instructors, Sensei Mark Donaghy and Sensei Libby Donaghy take care in supervising the games to make sure that no child is left out, no child is bullied, or is bullying, and the children have the opportunity to play together vigorously and exuberantly in a safe and friendly environment.

For children in the mon grades belts and badges can be very important. Parents should understand that recognition is given for excellence in all aspects of the art, and a student who is less talented athletically but who attends regularly, who takes part in classes with hard work and good etiquette may progress as rapidly as the most talented athlete and more rapidly than a gifted child who coasts along depending on athletic talent alone.

By the time a child is old enough and proficient enough to leave the Mon Class he or she will have the foundation to start learning the syllabus of techniques that in time leads those who persevere to the first degree black belt and beyond.

(The 1st of 2 pages. Revision date: Sunday 20th October 2013)

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