Karate for Kids

Traditional Japanese karate in a safe and supportive environment

For children 6-12 years old*

Authentic Japanese Karate

Since martial arts first became popular in the United States five decades ago, the variety has exploded. It can be hard to make sense of all the different styles from so many different countries. It can be harder to know how any one dojo or club interprets their style.

We teach authentic karate, following the same traditions taught in Japan. Things like beginning and ending each class with a formal bow teach children about respect, discipline, and tradition.

The basic techniques and the kata are strictly traditional Shotokan karate, and we insist on deep learning of these fundamentals.

The connection to Japanese tradition makes us very popular with Japanese families, many of whom have returned to Japan and fit right in with their dojo there without missing a beat.

Basic Curriculum

Classes are generally 45 minutes (a couple advanced classes that also include teens are a full hour).

Kids can expect to begin learning:

  • the most important kihon (basic) techniques, emphasizing blocks and kicks
  • beginning to apply the basic techniques in basic and very controlled self-defense exercises
  • very basic kata (forms; pre-arranged set of movements)

After achieving yellow belt level (normally after 1-2 years, depending on their rate of progress) we begin to add:

  • basic kumite (sparring) (no-contact other than at the wrists, very controlled and very safe)

Fun for Kids

We don’t spend half the class time playing irrelevant games, but we do keep it packed with fun for the children. Kids should expect to get some exercise while learning techniques and strategies that could help them avoid or get out of a dangerous situation. (note: this photo was taken between classes, when some of the kids took it upon themselves to do some extra exercise having a contest to see who could hold the most weighted balls – this girl managed 52 pounds!)

High Expectations

Each child has the potential to achieve excellence in karate, and our standards for guiding them are extremely high. We welcome students with all kinds of previous experience, but we make decisions about rank and grading independent of any rank a student may bring with them to our dojo. Parents thank us for the honesty and for the challenge.

Learning Challenges? No problem!

Got ADHD? Autism? Some other learning challenge? We have experience with many different types of issues and welcome everyone! We are inclusive and encouraging and many parents are amazed at what we accomplish.

*For those interested in Karate for the 5 year olds: We offer this for Zoom classes only. Kids are usually not quite ready for a skill as complicated as Karate before they are around 6 years old and the younger ones often need extra attention. If you (the parent) are able to help supervise them while they take part in the Zoom classes, it may work. But they must be 6 or older to participate in the in-person classes at the dojo. We also offer private lessons.

Japan Trained Instructor

Chief Instructor Sensei Jon Keeling teaches the vast majority of the children’s classes and started teaching Shotokan karate in 1984; 37 years ago. He lived and trained in Japan for 8 years and is one of the most highly qualified instructors of Shotokan anywhere. Read more about Sensei Keeling here. Sensei Keeling is sometimes assisted by experienced adults and teenage black belts, helping when we break into groups by experience levels. Many of our instructors have 20+ years of experience!

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