Archive for the ‘FAQs’ category

A Book for Karate Moms and Dads, Kids of All Ages

October 15, 2009

When I tell people I’ve written a martial arts book for kids, often their first question is “What age group did you write for?” The publisher has categorized the book for ages 9 to 12; however, I have a much different view of the matter.
Front Cover
I believe kids of all ages can benefit from the book. It has over 200 illustrations, and these can be enjoyed– and even, if you like, colored in– by younger readers who aren’t yet ready for the sentences and vocabulary.

More importantly for the younger kids (age 5 & up), their parents can benefit from helping them read the book. In fact one of the main reasons I began the project was that parents of younger students asked time and again for such a book– something that would help them understand what their children were learning, so they could be supportive of their practice at home. They wanted a book they could enjoy together with their children while learning about martial arts.

The more parents know about their children’s training, the better they can support it. I think most instructors would agree with that. Parental support is a key factor in success. Parents shouldn’t try to take the place of the instructor, but they should try to understand what the instructor wants from the student. Then they can be supportive in appropriate ways.

And what does the instructor want from the student? Instructors want kids and parents to know that karate and taekwondo are fun, but they’re also serious. They require commitment, dedication, exactness, and an ongoing desire to improve. The great thing is that these are all “attitudes for success” that will help kids in many areas of life.

Commitment, dedication, seriousness– those are big words for 5-year-olds. But they’re important lessons kids start on as soon as they start school. And they are at the heart of martial arts. So if a child is old enough to be in a martial arts class, they’re old enough to begin learning about those ideas (in age-appropriate terms, of course!).

I’ve never gone wrong by taking kids seriously and letting them aim high. In all the years (more than twenty) I’ve been teaching ages 5 & up, I’ve avoided talking down to my youngest students. Sure we have fun, we sometimes laugh, and the youngest go at a different pace from the older kids. But we are all learning the same lessons, and working on the same material– the material of martial arts. Martial arts is an individual pursuit where every student, regardless of age, must proceed at his or her own pace.

I’ve written my book in the same way, as a handbook for all ages that doesn’t talk down to anyone. Students must use it at their own speed and in their own way– with the help of instructors, the help of their parents, and when they’re old enough, on their own.

Click here to buy from Amazon, or ask for the book at your local bookstore:
The Kids’ Karate Workbook: A Take-Home Training Guide for Young Martial Artists

A Martial Arts Training Manual for Kids

September 12, 2009

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!