Why Take Karate?
ReviewsDojo Manners/Rules
Skills TaughtTiny Tigers' Creed
How to Tie BeltStudent Creed
When to BowLosing Your Temper

 Why Take Karate?Boy kicking
    (Ages 4-13)
The kids will tell's fun!  But maybe more important, for changes that can and have occurred in Shidokan Shorinryu karate students:  Shy kids became more outgoing; the unruly grew to be more self-disciplined; unfocused kids developed better concentration; the anxious became calmer; the submissive felt more assertive; and aggressive kids improved in patience and self-control.  The reasons? Confidence and a deeper respect for themselves and others, plus a positive attitude that says, "Yes, I can!"Girl kicking  

The method for teaching and motivating each student is subtly unique, taking into consideration his/her age, size, strength, skill level and personality, as well as any limitations.  Hopefully this will inspire these same considerations for others.

Sharon Basinger Sensei, Certified Instructor and 6th degree black belt teaches youth karate as weaponless self-defense, and as a martial art rather than a competitive sport.  It is not about showing off, but stopping a real attacker or bully.  Offense is a last resort. The goal of karate training is not having to use it, not to learn violence, but how to avoid and prevent it.  Kids are shown how to not only enhance their newly-discovered powers, but also control them. Students are encouraged, not intimidated... and safety is always paramount!   Learning from and helping each other, and using skills effectively and with good judgment is the true art of karate.

Reviews... read comments from students & parents

Karate kids
Skills Taught
Blocks, kicks, strikes, safe falls and throws (flips/take downs) -- with power, efficiency and control.   
Specific solo moves combine techniques of defense and offense in sequence, so instant and correct reaction is natural if required to defend yourself.  Complexity increases with rank.
Hold Breaks:  
Easy-to-learn practical techniques to break free from an assailant, to use momentum, leverage and vital striking points to prevail in seemingly indefensible situations, regardless of size or strength.   
Partner Drills:  
Practice of defense and offense skills with increasing difficulty while cooperating with each other so both partners benefit and improve.
Board Breaks: 
Rather than entirely a specific goal in itself, it also becomes a peripheral benefit -- a symptom of the strength and focus obtained as a result of karate training.
Kick/Punch Focus Pads: Karate kids
Kicks and various strikes to perfect accuracy and balance.
Prearranged (and "free") sparring enhances timing, reflexes, balance and coordination, as well as safe falls and throws…with strong emphasis on self-control.  Difficulty increases with skill level.  Intermediate to advanced ranks.
Effective application of kata with three or four attackers, including safe falls and throws.  Increases spatial awareness, agility and control.  Advanced ranks.
Makiwara (striking board): 
To condition and strengthen while precisely focusing the power of your entire body to a single point.  Advanced and older ranks.

How to Tie Belt ("Obi")
How to Tie Belt
(1) Place the middle of the belt in front of the body.  (2) Wrap belt around the back, overlap, and (3) bring back to the front. (4) Make an X with the ends.  (5) The top end goes under both "belts" from (6) bottom to the top.  (7) Tie knot.
IMPORTANT:   Gi pants must not touch the floor.  If so, they need to be hemmed for safety — our first concern!  Floor length can result in a fall.  Rolled-up (they never stay) distracts the student and is very dangerous.  Correct length is just below or above the ankle.

When to Bow
The bow in karate is often misunderstood.  It holds no spiritual or religious connotation, nor is it a sign of a master-slave relationship between instructor and student.  Instead,Boy Bowing the bow is a cultural practice done to show humility, appreciation and a willingness to learn.  It is also a display of mutual respect between teachers and students, and fellow students.  It most closely correlates with the Western tradition's handshake.  The bow is from a kneeling (Seiza) or standing position.

Students bow when entering the dojo (training area), clearing their minds of distractions, committing to fully focus on and attempt to absorb the material about to be taught.  Bowing toward instructor is to show respect and gratitude for the time and energy devoted to sharing his/her experience, skills and knowledge.  Bowing is to be done between students before and after kumite, bunkai and partner drills.  The ending bows express thanks for furthering each other's skills, and the learning about themselves and their partners.  Bowing upon exiting the dojo signifies that training has finished -- for the moment or for the day -- until time to return.  

Dojo Manners & Rules
Karatedo will help students ("karate-ka") achieve:  Humility, integrity, and respect for themselves and others, as well as a spirit of cooperation with fellow karate-ka, assistant instructors and other higher-ranked students ("sempai"), and the teacher ("Sensei").        
  1. Address as Sensei:  Sharon Basinger, Head Instructor, and Seikichi Iha, Grand Master…always.  Any out-of-town, visiting black belt instructing at Karate STL.  Any higher-ranked black belt while instructing at other dojos.  Also…in Basinger Sensei’s absence from dojo, any black belt instructing at Karate STL.  Ask Basinger Sensei if in doubt.  
  2. Address as Sempai or Mr./Ms:  Assisting karate-ka, higher-ranked but below black belt – Sempai, or Mr./Ms.  then last name, or first name if they prefer – e.g. “Sempai Chris” or “Mr./Ms. Chris”  … unless told otherwise.
  3. Observers/Parents are very welcome, but ALL ages are kindly requested to remain on sideline very quietly and unobtrusively -- no cell phone talking, or communicating with students while they are in class please.  If absolutely necessary to enter training area, please remove shoes.  This is out of respect for students, instructors and dojo.
  4. When late, no problem but it's impolite to simply walk into class.  Instead, quietly warm up by yourself, apart from class.  Then do not join the class yet …stand and wait, just inside the dojo, until instructor signals you to enter.
  5. During class, do not leave training area early, or leave for a break, water, to talk to observers, etc., without clearing it with instructor.
  6. Wait to be notified by Basinger Sensei, as to if or when you will test for promotion, rather than inquiring.
  7. Respect all instructors and follow their directions without question, comment, hesitation or facial expression while in dojo.  For clarification, ask Basinger Sensei privately, apart from others, outside class.
  8. When interacting with other karate-ka, especially those lower in rank, ALWAYS consider their age, skill level, size, strength and any limitations.  Then adjust your speed and power accordingly.  Help each other!

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Tiger    Tiny Tigers' Creed
     (Ages 4-6)
We are the Tiny Tigers.
We're 6, 5 and 4.
But don't you ever doubt us,
Or you'll hear the Tigers ROAR!!!

Student Creed
    (Ages 7+)
Student Creed

Losing Your Temper
There was a boy with a very bad temper.  His father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper,Angry boy to hammer a nail in the back fence.  The first day, the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence!  Then it gradually dwindled down.  Finally the day came when the boy didn't lose his temper at all.  His father then suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper.  The days passed and finally all the nails were gone.

The father said, "You have done well; I am very proud of you.  But look at the holes in the fence.  The fence will never be the same.  When you say and do things in anger, they leave a scar just like these.  You can put a knife in someone and draw it out, but it won't matter how many times you say, 'I am sorry,' the wound is still there.  And never forget, a verbal wound can be as hurtful as a physical one."

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