Archive for the ‘Kids Karate’ Category

Sparring Gear is Here for kid’s karate.  It makes a great Holiday gift. Kid’s must have Sparring Gear to spar and to practice sparring technique and to advance to the next belt levels.

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We went to spar with our good friends, but rivals at Seishinkan this past weekend. My 9 year old, got his ass kicked last time. But this time it was payback! He fought like bull in a China shop. He fought 6 matches and I thought he won them all, although the Ref had a different opinion. He fought so well, I’m testing him for his next belt. He was so proud of himself, he couldn’t stop talking about it.

My older son had similar results. They both fought opponents 2 years older, but fought like champs,  in spite of the outcome, although they won most of their bouts.

Sparring is important, because it is the closest thing to a real world self-defense situation. It allows you to train safely with full equipment, for an attack by a bully or predator.  It gives kids confidence, and should they ever need to defend themselves, they won’t freak out the first time they get hit in the real world, if they have been hit in practice. All the kids fought very well, and all the matches were very close and hard to call (I was a ring judge).  Here are the photos:

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This is the Fight Quest Episode where Doug & Jimmy try out Kyokushin.  Keep a few things in mind as you watch this. 1) Doug & Jimmy’s Japanese pronunciation is horrible, they say just about every Japanese word wrong. 2) They hammed it up pretty good for the camera. For example, we never fought on stone, in fact we never fought outside the dojo. When we did fight, it was always on a hardwood floor with a little spring & give. We only trained outside the dojo on Sundays when the weather was nice; we would jog through town, then run up hills and do some kihon (basics) outside. Other than that, we always trained inside the dojo. 3) Even though Doug & Jimmy are wearing white belts, they are not beginners, they are trained MMA fighters. 4) You will not fight or train this hard until you reach a pretty advanced level. I say this because I don’t want to scare anyone away from trying out Kyokushin. There is a reason they call this “The Strongest Karate.” Watch and you’ll see why.

According to a study done by AC360° in 77% of bullying incidents, no bystanders intervened to help. This reinforces my belief that the only one who can truly help a bullying victim is the victim.  If the incident takes place in an isolated area, parents can’t help, teachers, administrators and even police can’t help, at least not until after the fact.

Again the biased martial arts teacher is going say that studying martial arts can help potential victims help themselves. My oldest child, now 13, started karate at 4 and holds a 1st degree black belt in a traditional Japanese Martial Art, Kyokushin Kai Karate. He says he is not afraid of bullying, and in fact fought one off just yesterday.  It was satisfying to see that the king’s ransom I put into karate lessons over the year were worth it. Also it was satisfying because I personally taught him the krav maga technique that he used only a few weeks ago, and also because he exercised incredible restraint. The finish to move can literally pound the attacker into the ground, and the attacker certainly deserved at a least a little pounding. I have seen my son get stronger and stronger, and when he hits the pads or the heavy bag, (or me) he can hit pretty hard.

I believe so strongly in Self-Defense, that I named my company after it (instead of say the karate style I teach). I also mix Krav Maga techniques and drills into kid’s karate classes, because kid’s need self-defense & they need it now. They can get it from karate, but the traditional approach is in no hurry. I enjoy and believe in the traditional approach and the values that come with it, but I want kids to be prepared to defend themselves within weeks of joining, not years.

When I was a kid, I took Judo lessons, and I loved it. I was good at it. But Judo is more of a sport, and we did very little self-defense there. When we competed, there were weight classes. Judo doesn’t really contemplate fighting off a larger opponent in a self-defense situation. Consequently, when I tried to use it against a larger bully, I ended up flat on my back, pinned, with the bully taunting me and smacking my face. Krav Maga has a technique to escape from that position, and it’s the first style I learned that addresses that and many other attacks and positions.  If you want to bully proof your kid, Krav Maga is it.

Recent “Bullycides” are spurring lawmakers to write laws to prevent these tragedies from happening. As with all such well-meaning legislation, I wonder if it will be effective, or instead have adverse effects.  The web definition of  Bullycide is, “A suicide caused as the result of depression from bullying, especially children.”  Most of the stories I have read about involve teens and pre-teens, so ages ten to 18.  A percentage of these kids are gay, but certainly not all. Some of the cases I have read about go well beyond bullying into outright assault.  That’s why I wonder about new laws, there are already laws on the books against assault. Of course if these new laws really work to prevent bullying, then I am all for them. I’ll guess we’ll have to pass them to see what’s in them, and if they work.

So what’s the answer? Well it’s a complicated issue, so there is no easy answer.  As a martial arts instructor, I am of course biased in my opinion, but do believe self-defense training works. I was bullied as a kid, and I didn’t want my boys to go through that, so I started them both in Karate at age 4.  I posted yesterday about how my son got out of headlock in school.  At first I was a little disappointed that my son didn’t use more force in countering the move, but upon reflection, I think he used the appropriate amount, i.e. just enough, to end the conflict and walk away. I am proud because I taught this Krav Maga move to him only a few weeks ago.  When the other kid threw the headlock, my son thought, “Oh perfect, I know how to get out of this,” then he did. Hopefully this ends it, time will tell.

I had four new kids sign up for karate this week.  This is awesome.  But teaching kids can be hard. First you have to worry about each child’s commitment. Then you have to worry about each parent’s commitment.  Although a lot of schools just sell belts, we don’t, you have to earn them.  It should take five years of consistent training to earn a black belt in Kyokushin Kai.  Most kids don’t have the patience for this. Worse, most parents don’t have the patience.  A black belt requires a huge commitment both from the student to train hard and consistently  at least twice and hopefully three times a week,  and from the parent to drive the child to and from the dojo and to keep paying tuition, regardless of economic conditions and other demands for household income.  Then there are weapons, sparring gear, and tournaments, which require a time and dollar commitment from the parent.

I always try to show my appreciation to the parent for trusting me and investing in their kid’s enrichment through my school.  Ultimately, when you see the child make a breakthrough, whatever that may be,  learning a new kata or sparring well or any measurable progress,  it is rewarding; not at all like handing in a boring report to your boss.  When opening my dojo,  I worried a lot about teaching kids,  for many reasons,  but boy it sure beats working for a living!

If you live in the area, I encourage your to stop by and check us out. Bring in your kids for a trial lesson, I’d love to meet you & your child.

Here is a story of childhood bullying. It is a horrible story and there are many, many like it.  I too was bullied as a child. That’s why I started both of my kids in Karate at age 4.  Sometimes school administrators and teachers are helpful, sometimes not.  There are many instances, like the one in this story, where bullying becomes assault.  Everyone has the right to defend themselves.  Martial Arts is a great way to do that.  Often having the confidence that comes with knowing how to defend oneself makes the fight not necessary.  When I was a kid, my father told me that I needed to punch the bullies in the face and they would never do it again. I think my was father was right. Unfortunately, no one taught me how to do that.  Punching is a skill that is taught and learned,  just like swinging a baseball bat.

Kids Karate

Posted: October 4, 2011 in Kids Karate
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Kid's Karate Class

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At Uwajimaya, Festival Japan, 9/24/2011.

Karate Board Breaking

Posted: September 25, 2011 in Karate, Kids Karate, Kyokushin Kai
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Yesterday at Uwajimaya.

Please see this link to a New York Times article about Krav Maga for Kids.

We  have opened a martial arts studio in Tigard.  We teach Karate, Krav Maga and CrossFit classes.   The gym is located at 11945 SW Pacific Hwy,  at Hall Blvd.  We are in Suite 230 of Tigard Plaza (look for JoAnn Fabrics and Dollar Tree).