A Martial Arts Training Manual for Kids

The release date is still a month away, but we can’t wait to start telling everyone about our book. We know lots of kids are going to have fun with it, and we know a lot of parents are going to love having a handbook about what their children are learning in class. So I’m going to start right in with some FAQs:

What is this book? After many years of requests from students, parents, and fellow instructors who couldn’t find what they wanted in the bookstores, Sensei Didi Goodman, with the help of photographer-illustrator Linda Nikaya and great team of young students, has created a useful, practical martial arts training manual for kids: The Kids’ Karate Workbook: A Take-Home Training Guide for Young Martial Artists. It was written with karate and taekwondo students in mind, and has information that any martial artist will appreciate.

What’s in it? Lots of good stuff:
· Tips to improve technique.
· Puzzles and games that reinforce knowledge.
· Fun ideas for practicing at home.
· Self-defense guidelines for kids and parents to discuss.
· Lots of extras, like a guide to the uniform and belt; martial arts etiquette and behavior; martial arts physics; and more.
· More than 200 illustrations.
· All the essentials for getting from first-day beginner to intermediate rank levels, and beyond.

What makes it different from other available books?
· This book is a companion, not an overview. Where most kids’ karate books offer an introduction to training and a quick look at a few techniques, our book presents a structured curriculum very much like what a young student will encounter over many months of training. Instead of being quickly read and set aside, the book will accompany young students on their martial arts journey, offering tips and reminders along the way.
· It’s interactive. Readers are invited to fill in the blanks, write in the margins, complete puzzles and generally get fully engaged in learning.
· It’s compatible with many different martial arts styles. Instead of teaching about a single tradition, it guides young students in finding out about whatever school or style they happen to belong to, and provides information about a broad range of styles.

The book says ‘karate,’ but I take taekwondo (or another style). Do I need a different book? All martial arts have a lot in common. Karate and taekwondo have very many techniques that are alike. We purposely focused on ideas and techniques that many different styles of karate and taekwondo hold in common. But we understand that different schools, and even different teachers within the same school, do things differently from one another. We acknowledge more than one way of doing things, and give more than one name for the techniques. We leave lots of room for different approaches in the book, and there’s room in the margins to write whatever your teacher wants you to know!

Will the book make me a better martial artist, or maybe help me test for my next rank sooner? Only practice can make you better. Only practice, with excellent attendance, will get you to your next test. But the book can help you practice; plus, it’s fun.

Can I use this book instead of coming to class? No; martial arts cannot be learned from a book. You need help and input from an instructor who can see how you are doing. But the book can remind you of things your instructor wants you to improve–especially if you use it along with your instructor’s advice.

What’s going to be on this blog? We’d love to use this space to provide “extras” to go along with the book–things we had to leave out, for example, or information that you, our readers, wish we had included. We’d also like to publish your feedback about the book, and hear about your ideas and experiences as martial artists. Let us know what you have to say!

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4 Comments on “A Martial Arts Training Manual for Kids”

  1. Chris Baglieri Says:

    Didi and company,

    Congratulations on completing this project! I’m excited to see the results. Not only am I planning on ordering a cop from Amazon, but I’m considering ordering twenty, and offering them to my beginner class starting next week. (The book will ship about halfway through their first 11 week session.)

    I’m a bit hesitant, but your description seems like -exactly- the companion book I’m looking for.

    If it works out for new students, I’ll see about my first three classes of beginners.

    I’m kind of excited, and I wish you well with the project!

    – Chris Baglieri
    NJ-Cuong Nhu, Kidsafe Safety and Self Defense Program

    • redwoodojo Says:

      Thanks Chris! I truly hope it meets your expectations. And I’d love it if you’d come back to this blog after using the book, give us honest feedback, and share some of the things you and your students are doing.

      If there are any questions I can answer to help you decide to go for those twenty copies, just ask!

      • Chris Baglieri Says:

        Wow!

        I teach child safety and self defense classes, and I ordered this book a few days ago,looking for a resource for my students and their parents. It arrived today.

        I just got home an hour ago, and dinner is quite late because I have been reading the book non-stop.

        It’s INCREDIBLE!!

        In nineteen years as an instructor, I have used many handouts and homework exercises to reinforce the lessons taught in class, and I’ve often thought that I should assemble a companion guide to help parents guide their child’s practice at home.

        The Kids’ Karate Workbook is exactly what I was looking for!

        The book strikes a perfect balance between specific techniques and general good martial arts practice – all of it perfectly targeted for grade school kids.

        It takes the essentials of good practice and the key points of martial arts philosophy and presents them with sound teaching methods in a format that kids and parents can use. It’s equally useful in a Karate, Tae Kwon Do or Mixed Martial Art school.

        [Kids can even learn what these different martial arts are by reading the excellent appendix!]

        I no longer have any urge to write this book, since I know I couldn’t top the excellent job that Sensei Didi and company have done!

        Instead, I’d just like to learn how many I’ll have to order in order to get some sort of bulk discount, because I’m sure that my students and their parents will agree with me!

        For parents and kids looking to enrich their martial arts practice, I highly recommend this book!

  2. redwoodojo Says:

    Thanks for the great review, Chris. No one is going to believe you aren’t my best friend giving me a great review as a favor! But really folks– he’s not. He’s an instructor who lives on the other side of the country and apparently really likes my book.


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