Karate instruction promotes health and confidence
Wednesday September 28, 2011 — Ryan Rogers
Three- and four-year-old children enrolled with the Fair Haven Children’s Centre received certificates and medals from the Burnaby Karate Academy (BKA) for their exercises in martial arts during their annual potluck picnic last August.
Sensei Andrea Maikawa from BKA has been providing instruction for the children at the out-of-school care program with the Burnaby Association for Community Inclusion (BACI) for about two years, and says the karate lessons are good for their health and self-confidence.
“Not only does it promote a healthy lifestyle, and the younger you get into that the better, but it’s also a big confidence booster for the kids,” says Andrea, a first-degree black belt.
The children learn how to count to 10 in Japanese and can show their parents the blocks, kicks and punches they’ve learned, which they’re proud of.
Andrea says the children very young, so her lessons focus on co-ordination, movements, and some basic punching and kicking.
“We focus a lot on blocking and the defensive side of karate, rather than the offensive striking stuff,” says Andrea. “We work a lot on movement, getting out of the way of pads and I use pool noodles as striking things, so they don’t get hurt, but learn how to get out of the way, or make a block. They enjoy that a lot of the time.”
Andrea had a chance to speak with some of the parents during the summer picnic, who said they were “very happy with their kids coming home from daycare and sharing their experiences,” she says.
A few of the children have signed up for Andrea’s instruction at her Burnaby Karate Academy class after they graduate to kindergarten.
“As long as they’re having a good time and learning, but mostly having a good time, I’m happy,” says Andrea.
The sensei has been an instructor for five years, and is a former two-time junior national champion and world championship competitor.
“I’d love to see a few of them come into my club and progress belt-wise and become black belts some day, but as long as they’re happy and in a structured learning environment, I feel like I’ve been successful in teaching them.”
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