If you want your child to get the right introduction to karate, learn proper skills, and have the kind of positive experience that will keep him or her active, look for a local karate association or recreation program that follows Karate for Life, Karate Canada’s development recommendations for each age.
Following the Long-Term Athlete Development (LTAD) model, Karate Canada has developed specific guidelines for children’s karate at the elementary school age levels:
Active start (children aged 0-6)
This entirely fun activity-based introduction stage focuses on teaching your child fundamental movement skills and getting him or her an active start in life. Acquired in a club, at a daycare or at home, an early knowledge of the fundamental movement skills and the ability to link them together in play will help your child in karate’s next stages.
FUNdamentals (females 6-8, males 6-9)
Like Active Start, Karate for Life’s FUNdamentals stage engages your child exclusively through fun activities. As your child begins mastering the general movement skills, he or she will also be introduced to karate concepts such as basic ethics, style-specific abilities, the rules of competition, guard and fighting stances, footwork and single attacks. About three or four of your child’s recommended nine to 11 hours of weekly physical activity will be dedicated to karate, and competing regularly is discouraged.
Learn to train (females 8-11, males 9-12)
In Karate Canada’s Learn to Train stage, your child’s weekly karate training time increases to five to seven hours a week. He or she will still be encouraged to participate in other sports, but karate-specific skills become a measure for talent. Warm-up, cool-down and stretching techniques are introduced as the focus remains on training over competing. Other skills your child will acquire in this stage include distancing, rhythm, phases of technique, double attacks, defensive concepts, focus of power, decision making and more.
You can learn more about quality karate programs at Canadian Sport for Life.