The week after summer camp, we will debut our “Tiny Samurai” class on Monday and Thursday afternoons from 4:30 to 5:15*. This class will be of immediate benefit to the 3-6 year old children who participate. It will also prepare them to enter our children’s classes, which begin at 7 years old. (Or in some cases a mature child could begin at age 6.)
* Note: The class time has been changed to 5:00-5:45 PM.
Why “Tiny Samurai”? Well, the “tiny” part should be obvious; I expect most of the students to be on the small side. :-]
But why “samurai”? We won’t be wielding katana, dressing in armor, or swearing fealty to a feudal lord. (We will use foam swords, however, and learn how to do a few basic sword moves.)
I’ll get back to that in a moment. First of all, the class will aid in the all-important mental and physical skills development taking place at those tender ages:
- Concentration (“focus”) – keeping your eyes, body, and mind “on task”
- Paying attention – to both verbal instructions and physical stimuli around you
- Mental processing – following instructions, learning and remembering new physical skills, and sometimes performing them in series
- Physical abilities – strength, balance, mobility and agility, coordinating different movements at the same time
- Self-control – It’s not too early to start teaching children this young about taming their impulses and emotions – not to eliminate those two things, but to bring them under control.
All of this will be accomplished while having FUN! (If it’s not enjoyable, why bother?) And we will practice some elementary safety habits and self-protection skills appropriate to their age. The class will be fast-paced, never dwelling too long on one task, and entertaining, including lighthearted competition, and music.
OK – why “samurai”? I like to think that the ancient Samurai code of ethics can be applied to this class, as it is to our regular karate classes, modified to fit the age of the students, as well as the era and the culture they are living in – which is not feudal Japan, after all! This code, according to Nitobe Inazo’s classic book Bushido: The Soul of Japan published in English in 1900, consists of eight virtues. I have used more modern words for some of them below:
- Doing the right thing
We will weave the teaching of these virtues into the activities we do and things we tell them — by emphasizing and gently insisting on certain qualities and behaviors in the dojo and with short, age-appropriate, interactive conversations each class. We want to aid you, the parents, and their other teachers and significant adults, in developing the whole person.
Looking forward to seeing you and your Tiny Samurai at the dojo on Mondays and Thursdays!