TRAINING CHILDREN IN KARATE

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1 TRAINING CHILDREN IN KARATE PURPOSE AND USE OF EQUIPMENT by Edward A. Rumick A paper submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Yon Dan American JKA-International 2013 Approved by Chairperson of Supervisory Committee Program Authorized to Offer Degree Date

2 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Training children in karate can entail many different aspects, some similar and some different, than adults. All are related in some way to karate s four main aspects: Budo, Physical Education, Self-Defense and World Wide Sport. Use of equipment in training children in karate can make it a more rewarding experience for the children and instructors, while helping increase the abilities of the young karate student. The purpose of using equipment to train children in karate is not to replace Kata, Kihon or Kumite, but instead enhances them. Further developing and reinforcing skills and concepts gained in those three areas of karate training. Use of equipment in a wide variety of ways, as will be shown in this paper, can help with motivation, confidence, self-esteem, pride, success and enjoyment of the young student during karate training. These things will help carry the child towards his or her long term goal of becoming a black belt and help make them stronger individuals, mentally and physically, outside the dojo as well. If all karate training relates to one or more of the four main aspects of karate: Budo, Physical Education, Self-Defense and World Wide Sport; all equipment training should aid children in the development of one or more of those aspects. This paper will help demonstrate and prove how equipment training relates to the four aspects of karate and provide the instructional video drills that aid in keeping karate training for children interesting, motivating and fun. It should also be kept in mind that karate is not born into an individual, it must be learned. Only from correct repetitive, continuous practice and conditioning of body parts, can karate be used effectively.

3 Equipment Used In figures 1 through 11 we see several examples of types of equipment that can be used to aid in the training of children in karate. There is no limit to the amount and type of equipment used when training children in karate. The only limit is the instructor s imagination and creativity. The same piece of equipment can be used in many ways. 1. Free Standing Heavy Bag (equipment used) 2. Body Shield (equipment used) 3. Focus Paddle (equipment used) 4. Focus Target (equipment used) 5. Elastic Resistance Band (equipment used) 6. Sparring Safety Gear Head (equipment used) 7. Sparring Safety Gear- Hands (equipment used) 8. Sparring Safety Gear- Legs/Feet (equipment used) 9. Rope (equipment used) 10. Matted Training Area (equipment used) 11. Foam Noodle (equipment used) Budo Budo is a term for Japanese Martial Arts. Budo is most often translated as The Way of the Warrior. However, Budo more accurately represents a discipline and way of life specific to the Japanese warrior. This would be Mental Development or Mindset Development of the Karate Ka. Every time a child trains with equipment in karate they are challenging themselves to be better. The fact that they are there challenging themselves to be better is what's important. It is through hard physical training that they really begin to find out and learn about themselves and the value of hard work and dedication. After achieving a goal, such as rank advancement, children feel a great sense of accomplishment and pride. By using equipment during the children's training, we are able to better keep them motivated and focused on the path to their next goal and help them grow into productive confident adults.

4 Physical Education Karate when used as a form of physical education is almost without equal. Karate offers the complete package as it improves strength, speed, endurance (muscular and cardio), flexibility, agility, and body coordination. Children benefit greatly when training in karate both physically and mentally. Using equipment can help further those benefits. Striking various types of equipment helps the children gain strength, speed, body coordination, endurance and flexibility. The instructor can modify the drills on the equipment to focus on any of those areas of fitness. Figure 12 (Demonstration of Fitness and Flexibility) In this video clip, two 4 th kyu boys ages 11 and 8 and a 7 year old girl 6 th kyu, demonstrate the flexibility, and strength they have gained from training in karate. These children take great pride in the fact that they have become so physically fit and walk with confidence because of it. Being physically fit, strong, confident and proud allows children to walk, talk and act different. By not appearing to be weak, they are less likely to find themselves in a Self- Defense situation, because the bad guy will seek out an easier weaker opponent. Self-Defense Karate is an exceptional form of self-defense, as it teaches its practitioners to be able to defend themselves without any weapons. When developing equipment drills for children the two main types of self-defense situations should be considered: 1) Duel- Where two combatants agree to fight face to face. 2) Surprise Attack- Where one of the combatants does not know and is not ready for the attack that is coming.

5 The following rules for Self-Defense should be considered: 1) Block or avoid the attack 2) Establish a Base (Stance) 3) Choose a target that is easiest to hit 4) Choose weapon and technique that can cause the most pain and damage With children especially we must teach them, to use a technique appropriate for the situation. Simply punching someone because they say something hurtful or even simply push them with no further threat, may not be the appropriate response and when designing Self- Defense dills with equipment for the children this should be considered. Deciding when not to strike is equally as important as when to strike. Figure 13 (Surprise Attack Drill) In this video a 5 year old 7 th Kyu is practicing a complex equipment drill to aid with self-defense and decision making skills. I created this drill for Surprise Attack training because it uses all three of the child s senses that are used mainly in karate, sight, hearing and touch. He must react to the danger of sound or push. Then choose whether or not an additional response is needed. World Wide Sport In recent years karate has become a very popular sport. Competitors may compete in Kumite(sparring) or Kata (formal exercise). Kumite points are awarded for correct karate technique performed with timing, distance and power to a scoring area of the opponent. Kata scores are based on proper technique, timing and tempo of the kata and demonstration of the correct principles of power in the kata. I believe the greatest value of karate competition is to aid in the motivation of the karate students to train harder or more often.

6 Figure 14 (Paddle to Learn Tempo in Kata) In this video a 5 year old 7 th Kyu is performing Heian Shodan. The clap of a paddle is used to help the child learn the tempo of the kata. It is also used to help the child learn and understand what tempo is. Figure 15 (Elastic Band Training) In this video we see children ranging in ages from 9 to 11 and ranging in rank from 4 th kyu to Shodan Ho. The bands are used to provide resistance for the karate ka. For karate purposes the bands have a big advantage over weights as they provide resistance in the correct direction in relation to the movement. By providing resistance in the correct direction in relation to the movement, band training simply recruits more of the correct muscles for a movement by tricking the body into thinking more muscle fibers are needed to perform a specific movement. Since bands come in a wide variety of resistance, they are appropriate for child and youth karate practitioners. This is a great way for both kata and kumite competitors to train and try to gain a physical advantage over the opponents they will see in competition. Important Considerations for Instructors Instructors should consider several things when using or developing equipment training drills for children. 1. What is the purpose and goal of the current drill? Why are you using this equipment and what are you working on or trying to improve or make better? i.e. Technique, speed, power, endurance, reaction, disguising repetition etc. 2. Can it be easily incorporated into class without interrupting the flow of the class causing many children to become distracted and bored, loosing motivation to train. 3. Is use of this equipment not only helpful, but also enjoyable to the children?

7 4. Is the use of this equipment appropriate for the age and karate level of the children? A child's skin, bones, muscles and joints are less developed than that of an adult. Is this equipment helpful or could it cause an injury to a child that it wouldn't cause to an adult. 5. Do the students know how to properly perform the technique(s) being asked of them without the equipment before asked to perform with the equipment? Figure 16 (Building a Complex or Multipart Equipment Drill) In this video a 5 year old 7 th Kyu is taught a complex equipment drill to aid with self-defense and decision making skills. In the end, the child must be able to react to either sound or touch, create distance and a base area (stance) and decide if the situation calls for the child to defend himself or that it is safe. I show in this video how a complex equipment drill can be broken down into smaller parts so that it is easier to teach the child. Those smaller components are then combined to create a more complex multipart drill that the child is able to do. Karate Must Be Learned Karate is an art based on the maximum use of all parts of the body. Use of these body parts as weapons of defense is not born into a person, but instead must be learned. After learning the proper way to use a body part as a weapon it must be trained repeatedly and continuously in order for that body part to become strong enough to be used as a weapon and for the person using the weapon to be able to do it automatically without having to consciously think about it. The repetitive training develops what is known as muscle memory. One of the most difficult things to do when training children is keeping them motivated while still getting the proper karate training skills and techniques necessary for advancement. Repetition is a necessary part of karate training. However children, especially young children, have difficulty staying focused and motivated when asked to do the same technique or drill over

8 and over. Using equipment during their karate training can help disguise this repetition and make classes more exciting and fun. Figure 17 (Hiding Repetition w Mawashi Geri) In this video clip we see several basic ways that equipment can be used during Karate Training to hide or disguise repetition while still getting the high number of repetitions needed in order develop muscle memory and improve strength, flexibility and endurance as well as the technique itself. Feedback from Equipment Using equipment in karate training also gives the children and instructors feedback. Positive feedback from equipment use helps build the child's self-esteem and confidence. Success, motivates the child and makes them want to work harder. Children take pride in what they are good at and need feedback to know what that is. They also need feedback to know what they are not as proficient or as strong at. While success and positive feedback may not be immediate in the areas the child finds more challenging, once the child gets it they learn that hard work and dedication breed success and they want to continue with their training and working towards their goals. Targets and Weapons Identifying targets and using the proper weapon to strike the target is also an important part of the young karateka s training. Punching, kicking, blocking and striking in the air does not give the child the same feedback and body awareness that striking a shield does. Many types of equipment can be used to aid children with development of the skill and ability to put the proper weapon to the target.

9 Figure 18 (Correct weapon to the Target, Front Kick and Reverse Punch) In this video we see a 5 year old 9th kyu child. We make sure that he knows what the weapon is, do the technique slowly to make sure the weapon strikes the target and then full speed. Figure 19 (Round Kick/Hook Kick Identifying Targets) In this video a 5 year old 7 th Kyu practices identifying targets with focus shields. The child must quickly identify which target is available to hit and choose the correct technique to do to that target. This helps to teach the child that rather than just throwing random techniques at their opponent during kumite, hoping to hit them, they should look for what is available for them to hit or attack, choose a technique that could hit that area and try to score on that area. This drill does have the added benefit on aiding the development of quick reactions and decision making skills. In this drill I used visual cues by flashing the shield up and the child had to react and attack. Developing Quick Reactions and Decision Making Skills Simply learning to punch, kick, block, strike and throw is not enough for a child to be able to effectively protect themselves or participate in kumite competition. They need to be able to quickly process what s going on around them and quickly come to a decision on what to do and act upon that decision. We can use equipment to help us develop this ability in our child and youth students while also making classes more exciting and fun for them. Figure 20 (Duck and Jump for Quick Reaction/Decision Making) In this video we see a 5 year old 9 th kyu child playing Duck and Jump. I say playing because the child believes he is playing a game. In reality, Duck and Jump is a drill that I have found to be very effective in developing quick reactions in our club s youth students. The instructor swings a foam noodle at the child in various ways. The child must avoid being hit by

10 the noodle in ways specified by the instructor. The child must see and hear what is going on, decide what to do and actually do it. Training in this way helps the child process information faster and act upon it more quickly. Figure 21 (Drills w Focus Shield with Decision Making) In this video we see a 5 year old 9 th kyu practicing some basic kumite drills on the focus shields. Since the reaction drill contains 3 different combinations, we have the child first practice each component individually; they are then all put together. The child is then told what cues he will receive and the appropriate response. This drill not only helps the child develop quick reactions, it helps him to begin to understand the difference between offensive and defensive movements in kumite and dealing with attacks coming at different levels. Figure 22 (Punch, Punch Step Punch with Decision Making) In this video we see a 5 year old 7 th kyu. This drill will be developing quick reactions and decision making, but in a different way than the previous drills. This drill will focus on whether or not additional movement is needed to follow and score on your opponent. The child has a base combination and a follow up to add on to the base combination. When cued by the instructor the child attacks with his base combination. The instructor then does nothing or steps back to create a bigger gap between himself and the child. The child must then decide if the extra follow up technique is needed or if he should exit and return to kamae. In addition to the quick reactions this drill helps develop, it also helps the child begin to understand that you must use techniques appropriate for the distance and situation. Figure 23 (Reaction and Decision Making Influenced by Touch) In this video we see a 5 year old 7 th kyu. We are once again working on reaction and decision making for the child, this time influenced by touch. This drill however, has a

11 component that the previous drills did not. In the previous drills while the child had to choose what to do at the appropriate time, he was given specific techniques or combinations that must be performed. In this drill the child must choose what techniques he does on his own. The instructor taps any of the child s four limbs and the child must then react to the touch and strike the heavy bag with that limb using any technique he wants. Timing and Distance with Equipment Understanding of Timing and Distance is another key component to a child s karate training that can be taught through the aid of equipment training. Without an understanding of timing and distance the child would not be able to apply his or her karate techniques in a selfdefense or kumite situation. Giving a child a better understanding of timing and distance early in their karate training can help bring their karate quickly to a higher more effective level, allowing them to be more successful in a self-defense or a tournament situation. Figure 24 (Front Kick for Timing with Noodle) In this video we see a 5 year old 9 th kyu begins to learn timing for his Mae Geri. The child is asked to kick a noodle that is swinging back and forth in front of him. The child must learn the timing so that he can strike the moving target in the center with his Mae Geri. This drill teaches Timing but does not teach Distancing to great effect. While the target is moving, the child s distance to the target remains relatively constant though out the drill. Figure 25 (Timing and Distance with Stop Shield) In this video clip, we see two 8 year old 4 th kyu boys practice Timing and Distance in the Stop Shield drill. This drill differs from our previous drill with the noodle in that the child s distance to the shield is constantly changing as the instructor moves towards him. The child must figure out the correct time and distance from which to execute a Mae Geri or Gyaku Zuki.

12 I choose a punch and a kick for this drill because the timing and distance for each of these techniques is different. This helps the child not only develop Timing and Distance, but also realize that the timing and distance varies from technique to technique. Goal Setting with Equipment Equipment can be used to aid in goal setting for the children s training. This could be kicking to a new height, covering a greater distance to strike with a technique, hitting stronger, increasing physical conditioning. These smaller goals within their daily training will help them gain confidence and help keep them motivated as they work towards their more long term goals of Kyu Rank or Dan Rank advancement. Figure 26 (Goal Setting with Rope) In this video clip, we see two 8 year old 4 th kyu boys performing mawashi geri over the rope. The goal this time was to see how high the children could kick over the rope. We moved the rope progressively higher and higher until the children could no longer kick over the rope. Both children were able to kick at least to their own head level. They were both children were very motivated by their success of kicking so high over the rope. Safety Using equipment can also make karate training safer for children. Whether it s safety gear worn by the children for kumite, equipment used in the dojo or part of the dojo such as mats on the floor all of these things will help children feel safer and more confident by aiding in reducing the fear some children may have initially when trying new things and training drills in karate class. Additionally, instructors should closely monitor the safety and condition of the equipment in their dojo. Instructors should also put some serious thought into what type of safety gear they

13 use for the children during kumite as well. Legally the instructor and business (dojo) are responsible for the safety of the child students. The instructor should choose the equipment the he feels would most benefit the students and the dojo for training, safety and in a liability sense. Conclusion The purpose of using equipment to train children in karate is not to replace Kata, Kihon or Kumite, but instead to enhance them. The use of equipment, in a wide variety of ways, was demonstrated in this paper. These specific drills, when implemented into the dojo s program will make karate training a more rewarding experience for the children and instructors, while helping increase the abilities of the young karate student. The use of equipment listed and the specific drills provided, also relate to one or more of the four main aspects of karate: Budo, Physical Education, Self-Defense and World Wide Sport; by developing skills and concepts necessary for that aspect of karate. I have been instructing children in karate for 19 years. Over that time period I have found, through the development and implementation of these drills, increased; Motivation, confidence, self-esteem, pride, success and enjoyment are just a few things the young student will gain from the feedback equipment training provides. These character traits will help carry the child towards his or her long term goal of becoming a black belt and will make a stronger individual inside and outside the dojo.

14 TABLE OF CONTENTS Acknowledgments..I Abstract. II Executive Summary.. III Table of Contents...XV List of Figures...XVII Introduction.1 Purpose and Use..2 Types of Equipment Used in Training Children in Karate... 3 (Fig.1) Free Standing Heavy Bag....3 (Fig.2) Body Shield...3 (Fig.3) Focus Paddle...3 (Fig.4) Focus Target....4 (Fig.5) Elastic Resistance Band (Fig.6) Sparring Safety Gear Head.. 4 (Fig.7) Sparring Safety Gear Hands...4 (Fig.8) Sparring Safety Gear Legs/Feet...4 (Fig.9) Rope (Fig.10) Matted Training Area...5 (Fig.11) Foam Noodle...5 Equipment Training for Children & the Relationship to Karate s Four Main Aspects...6 Budo...6 Physical Education.7 (Fig.12) Demonstration of Fitness and Flexibility...8 Self-Defense..9 (Fig.13) Surprise Attack Drill World Wide Sport...12 (Fig.14) Paddle to Learn Tempo in Kata.. 12 (Fig.15) Elastic Band Training.. 13 Things for Instructors to Consider when Using Equipment to Train Children in Karate.15 Important Considerations for Instructors.. 15 (Fig.16) Building a Complex or Multipart Equipment Drill. 16 Karate Must be Learned (Fig.17) Hiding Repetition w Mawashi Geri.21 Feedback from Equipment.23 Targets and Weapons..24 (Fig.18) Correct Weapon to the Target, Front Kick and Reverse Punch (Fig.19) Round Kick/Hook Kick Identifying Targets 25 Developing Quick Reactions and Decision Making Skills....27

15 (Fig.20) Duck and Jump for Quick Reaction/Decision Making 27 (Fig.21) Drills w Focus Shield with Decision Making.. 29 (Fig.22) Punch, Punch Step Punch with Decision Making...30 (Fig.23) Reaction and Decision making Influenced by Touch..31 Timing and Distance with Equipment (Fig.24) Front Kick for Timing with Noodle. 33 (Fig.25) Timing and Distance with Stop Shield Goal Setting with Equipment (Fig.26) Goal Setting with Rope Safety Conclusion List of Embedded Media Files

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