Teaching Children Martial Arts

Topics: Karate, Shotokan, Education Pages: 6 (1631 words) Published: November 12, 2012
The importance of Teaching Strategies and understanding Learning Styles when teaching Martial Arts to children Shotokan Karate


Lester J C Membe

3rd Dan

(4th Dan Grading Thesis)


Teaching is a profession that can yield something amazing when the right ideas and beliefs are implemented in the classroom in this case in a dojo. To teach children, Shotokan Karate has to be understood to ensure that it becomes manageable and effective. Having the knowledge of a subject or being the best in a sport does not automatically entail that that is the complete requirement or criteria to becoming a good teacher. Subject knowledge or being the best in the sport is an added bonus, though subject knowledge is essential. Types of students


Children have the most energy and enthusiasm for the arts we teach. At the same time they are a huge challenge in teaching the finer points of the techniques in Shotokan Karate. Teaching children takes a very deferent approach than that of teaching older students. Before going any further in this paper “children” are defined as aged between 5 and 12 years old.

During this time children expand their horizons from a family environment to one that incorporates the world around them. Moods change, friends change, and limits are pushed. This is one of the key times for growth.

As a Martial Arts instructor we are helping shape the way student will interact mentally and physically for the rest of their lives. Teaching Shotokan Karate
Since many martial arts traditions already included references to moral values such as honesty and integrity, Shotokan Karate instructors should be more than willing to emphasize such concepts in the children’s classes. In time, this could help children develop character and learn positive values. Because of this, learning to enjoy teaching children requires a simple paradigm shift for diehard Shotokan Karate instructors. When going to teach children, these facts should be considered: • The majority of children who enter a martial arts program will be incapable of developing any real skill until they are much older. • Even so, though they aren’t learning the whole art, martial arts training is a great tool for helping children grow up to become happy, well-adjusted, productive citizens. • When Shotokan Karate instructors change their expectations regarding teaching outcomes; when working with children it becomes much easier to teach. The purpose of teaching is not to teach students how to memorize facts or moments, or how to know all the techniques. The purpose of teaching lies in getting students to truly understand the concepts and techniques being taught in this case in the dojo. As a teacher, one must know what to teach in the classroom. It is vital that Shotokan Karate instructors have a solid understanding of the techniques being taught and also an understanding of the problems encountered when learning the techniques. There is a need to be aware of how to effectively teach Shotokan Karate techniques to children. There are many strategies available to use when doing so. No one strategy fits all the content needed to teach. Different strategies should be incorporated when teaching children. To be able to teach children class, the Shotokan Karate instructor will need to understand something about child development, and structure the classes in such a way as to compliment and reinforce this.

Child development has four main aspects, and these are as follows:

-         Physical

-         Intellectual

-         Emotional

-         Social

Shotokan Karate instructors must keep the individual student in mind while teaching. Typically in the past instructing in Shotokan Karate involved trying to fit everyone into the same mould. With this approach, students especially children are bound to achieve less than their potential while others are likely to quit in...
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