The General Class
Updated: Mar 28
The two most common questions people ask when inquiring about our school are "Do you have a kids class?" And "What is a general class?" We're listed as having an adult class and a general class, but no tiger time or cubs class for the little ones like other schools have. We focus on the demographics that can benefit most from karate and are more likely to join by choice. Even though we do have kids join because their parents say so, it is much better for the child if they want to be there. They will benefit from the class structure.
Don't get me wrong. Many schools that have classes like a "little dragons" reserve it for 3-5 year old's as a type of karate after school care. It keeps the kids active while learning outside public school. However programs like this can be a revolving door, only occasionally keeping a few students over time. It's a good way to create revenue for a school. Kaze-kai however doesn't teach karate to make a living. It's also why our monthly rates are so low. Since its founding by Shihan Sensei Goral the instructors have full time jobs outside to dojo, you'll see similar scenarios in Okinawa (The birthplace of karate). Therefore we get to be more selective on how we manage our classes. As I said earlier we separate the young from adults one night a week. Starting at the age of 14 one could join the adult class, with some exceptions. If a student behaves like an adult and is of a sufficient rank they can be invited to join in with the adults.
General class on the other hand is for all ages as early as the age of 6 or 7, again with some exceptions. Remember, we have the freedom to be more selective and have had some well behaved 5 and 4 year old's in the past.
We feel between the ages of 7 and 10 years old is a great time to start training karate. According to phycology we've entered the age of reason were humans develop cognitive, emotional, and moral rational thought. Of course any age is a great time to start.
By mixing the age groups it's convenient for the parents who also want to train. Rather than having separate time slots and multiple days encompassing an entire week, families can train together. Sure this makes large classes but if you've read "Beyond the Black Belt Dojo." You'll know we've got that covered.
The mental development mentioned earlier is really the meat and potatoes of our general class. There is a saying.
"It's easier to get adults to act like big kids than to get kids to act like little adults."
But what if it was? Children already come with a built in trait, they are mini copy machines. Our millions of years in evolution have pre-programed babies with a copy function, to mimic adults for a greater chance at survival and the first few years are fundamental for personality. Just like how lower ranks need to learn from higher ranks to get promoted. Kids need to watch how adults behave in order to mature. It's teaching without a lesson. Simply being exposed to disciple and dojo etiquette young people will mimic them in some form. The teacher need only mention the finer details. It's not asking for much, where some schools teach kids for 30-45 minutes we try to get a whole hour out of them. Just one hour a night, three days a week we teach them how to be adults. They have plenty of opportunities to still be kids, occasionally in the dojo. The other night I had a yellow belt no older than 10 lead grown adults in kata simply because she out ranked them. To some they were shocked to see her lead but to her, it was Tuesday. She got a lesson in leadership while the adults had a lesson in humility.
As for the teenagers, they focus more on self-control. With a little guidance they begin to understand how impressionable young children are and how important it is for them to not behave carelessly. It's an important trait to bring out into society as they enter adulthood.
All the while the adults are still able to train, maintain their karate and get a sold workout. Each week starts with the adults only, and more often than not they can practice what they learned throughout the rest of week on general class. This lets the young students get exposed to a generalized experience of what the adults practice.
So, what is a general class? A chance for kids to learn how to behave like adults, a place where adults practice being their best self, and a time for everyone to train and study the art of karate. Teaching how fun bettering ourselves can be.