San Jose Dojo extends a warm welcome to kids, children, teens, and their parents. Parents, we are honored that you have decided to have your children train with us.
- Age 7 and under must be accompanied by adult who also participates in karate practice.
- Shorter attention spans are normal for youngsters who may loose focus and begin to wander. We ask that parents assist in escorting their child from the dojo. Parents and children may excuse themselves at this time as this ensures safety for all.
- Age 8 and above have sufficient independence. Thus parents need not practice but should be available in the event of some unforeseen event.
Instructors will defer to parents in agreeing on each child’s best departure time. It’s suggested initially children or youth practice 45 minutes. After training for a while your child would usually attend the entire 90 minutes.
Awards vs. Values
The immature focuses on awards: belts, prizes, etc. while the mature are concerned values and the resulting lessons learned. Children who attend karate are exposed to two important values:
- Finish what you start.
- Do your best and don’t give up.
Practitioners are asked to embrace these and other important values, both in and out of the dojo. Parents may want to consider the resulting beneficial impact on your child when these values are translated to activities outside the dojo, such as schoolwork.
Clearly, those who begin at a young age have a tremendous opportunity. And those who continue their practice into adulthood will enjoy a tremendously positive impact on their lives. But even if a child practices for only a short while and is unable to continue, he or she will be awarded with exposure to many positive values by practicing karate.
San Jose Dojo instructors have been teaching children and youth karate for decades. During this time we have made some observations and can offer some recommendations that may be beneficial.
- Correcting: with subjects like mathematics or English, you may be accustomed to correcting or teaching your child. In western educational subjects this makes sense. However with martial arts, like karate, we believe parents should avoid trying to correct. Parents should leave the karate correcting to the instructors, as this avoids your child receiving conflicting instructions. Best is to simply encourage your child’s regular attendance at practice.
- Uniforms: Because children outgrow uniforms quickly, we suggest you consider investing in a uniform only after your child has made a few practices and you’re convinced that your child will continue. Birthdays or other milestones can be good goals to avoid or delay a premature clothing purchase. Visit the uniforms page for more information.
- Belts: In keeping with Japanese karate traditions, white, brown and black are the only belt colors. Until reaching age 16, a child is not eligible for testing for black belt.
- Grading: Children may be invited to participate in kyu testing typically once be year. Tests usually are held in April and November each year, and once a student is ready an instructors will reach out to a parent (or guardian) to coordinate.
- Stripes, Colors, Trophies: San Jose Dojo does not charge for ranks, promotions, or belts. Other martial arts organizations may offer (for a fee) stripes, belts, and awards to solemnize a child’s efforts. So that you do not have the same expectation, \
Please be aware that neither San Jose Dojo nor our national organization provide children encouragements with a rainbow of belt colors, belt stripes, “attaboy” patches, trophies, etc. In contrast a diligently practicing child in our group will remain in the white belt ranks for years. Instead of motivating with rewards and prizes, our practitioners (children and adults) find their motivation elsewhere: the satisfaction of finishing what one starts and joy of accomplishing a realized goal after much effort, discipline, and persistence without giving up.
- Fighting: Combat outside the dojo is strongly discouraged. A mature karate practitioner uses words before fists. Using diplomacy or humbly turning away from a confronting situation is best.
The ultimate aim of karate lies not in victory nor defeat, but in the perfection of the character of its participants”. – Master Gichin Funakoshi.
- Medical Situation: Pediatricians sometimes encourage parents of children with various medical diagnoses to send their children to karate. We welcome all who would like to try karate, and remain open to discussing any special needs your child may have to help you determine whether karate may be appropriate for your child’s unique situation.