Children’s Karate Program in Manhattan
Shihan Michelle and her team of Sensei have been providing expert quality martial arts training for young people and adults in Greenwich Village since 1998.
Ken Wa Kan Children’s Program
We do not teach kid’s karate—we teach karate to children—and we are really good at it! Read what our parent’s say about our program here.
We love karate and we love teaching it to young people! While our program is specifically designed to engage and develop children beginning at age three, we do not teach a watered down kid’s version of karate. Children receive instruction in the same karate curriculum as adults. However, our unique approach to teaching children serious, practical and traditional Japanese karate combines a wide variety of skill building games and exercises that are lively, challenging and fun. We start small and concise and work our way up and out from there.
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Children learn: Kihon basic punching, kicking, stances, Kata forms, Fighting skills kumite, Traditional Okinawan weapons bo, tonfa, nunchaku and sai.
Each class includes Japanese terminology and observes traditional karate practices and protocols including meditation, bowing, saying “Osu!” and reciting the Dojo Kun.
Children’s Karate Programs
Tiny Tiger Program (6 months)
Basic Level Designed for 3 & 4 year olds
Children take class once or twice a week (30 minute sessions)
The Tiny Tiger Program introduces children to the structure, basic vocabulary, protocol and movement fundamentals of karate in a way that is appropriate for their age and social development. We focus on games that highlight and reinforce developmental movement patterns and specific karate skills that develop coordination, balance and strength. At the same time they work on social emotional skills such as self management, social awareness, listening, taking turns and impulse control. Children get to experience their own power in an environment that is fun and disciplined. This program is designed to prepare them for the White Tiger Cub Program and to support them in creating an ongoing and regular karate practice.
The White Tiger Cub Program (6-9 months)
Basic Level Designed for 4-6 year olds
Children take 2 – 30 minute classes per week.
The White Tiger Cub Program is designed to inspire and engage youngsters curious about karate. We teach basic karate skills (punches, kicks and stances) that develop coordination, balance, agility, and strength mixed with games to build, focus, self-discipline and social emotional skills (taking turns, listening, following directions, impulse control, and cognitive sequencing). Children learn Japanese terminology as they observe traditional karate practices and protocol such as meditation and bowing. Our requisite 2-class a week program encourages the disciplined practice and commitment that is fundamental to earning a Black Belt (and what goal worth achieving doesn’t require commitment?) This program prepares children for the advanced beginner and intermediate White Tiger & Red Phoenix Programs.
White Tiger (6-9 months)
Basic Level Designed for age 6-11 years old
Children take class twice a week for 40 minutes
White Tiger Program inspires and empowers children ages 6+ years who want to learn karate and develop their ninja skills! The class incorporates basic karate skills (kicking, punching, footwork drills, stances), partnering and pad work exercises with group games that increase strength, stamina and agility. Classes are designed to increase focus, and develop self-discipline, confidence, cooperation and cognitive skills in a responsible and cooperative community. During this program children participate in two-belt promotion ceremonies, wherein they will be promoted from white belt (12th kyu) to blue belt (10th kyu), beginner to advanced beginner level. This program prepares children for the intermediate Red Phoenix Program.
Children participate in two 40-minutes classes per week.
Red Phoenix (12-14 months)
Intermediate Level Designed for age 6-11 years old
Children participate in two 40-minutes classes per week.
The Red Phoenix Program is our advanced beginner/intermediate program for students who graduate from the White Tiger Program and achieve their blue belt. While in the Red Phoenix Program students elevate their basic skill level as they learn more complex kata (forms) that include blocks (uke), kicks (geri) & stances (dachi). They begin to partner up to hold pads and practice sparring drills and techniques appropriate for their age and training level. Throughout this program they begin to develop their training as leaders in class. This includes being asked to call out the count and demonstrate form and techniques for others to follow. During this program, children participate in four belt promotion ceremonies, promoting from blue belt (10th kyu) to orange belt (6th kyu).
Green Dragon (12-24 months)
Intermediate/Advanced Level designed for ages 6-11
Students take class twice a week for 45 minutes
The Green Dragon Program is designed for students that graduate the Red Phoenix Program and achieve their orange belt or 6th kyu. Students in this program continue to elevate their basic technique while learning more advanced fighting and kata technique and training skills. Throughout this program they continue to develop their training as leaders in class by leading the count and demonstrating form and techniques for others to follow. Classes include a variety of rigorous conditioning exercises to develop strength, stamina, coordination and agility. Students will participate in four belt promotion ceremonies, wherein they will promote from Orange belt (6th Kyu) to Brown Belt (2nd kyu).
Black Turtle (24 months)
Advanced Level designed for ages 8-13
Students take class 2-3 times a week for 50 minutes
The Black Turtle Program is designed for students that graduate the Green Dragon Program as brown belts and are now eligible to begin the final phase of their Black Belt Journey. This final phase is distinct in that it requires both that the student fulfill the requirements set out in the physical curriculum and that they embody the ethos of being a Kenwakan Black Belt. This is a unique expression for each student and is, for us, the most critical aspect of development. Students are required to demonstrate ownership of their own training i.e. they are asking questions, offering assistance, succeeding at school, cooperating at home and school, and participating in dojo community events.
Students at this level are responsible for maintaining and elevating the skills acquired at previous levels while learning the new curriculum required for advancement to Brown/Black Belt (Ikkyu) & Black Belt (Shodan). Three months prior to their Ikkyu (black stripe) or Shodan (Black Belt) promotion, they begin training a minimum of three times a week to develop the stamina, coordination and strength required to obtain Ikkyu or Shodan promotion.
As part of their leadership training and in the spirit of “watch one, do one, teach one,” students are trained once a week as assistant instructors. They share their knowledge with lower ranked students in small groups in the lower level classes and lead portions of promotion ceremonies. This is done under the supervision of Sensei and other instructors. This serves to enrich their experience and understanding of karate basics, while providing opportunities to evolve as role models and leaders and be of service in the community. The students in this program participate in evaluations and receive specific and personalized feedback from instructors to help them to continue to carve their path to Black Belt.