View Full Version : Karate for High School
I am curious... does anyone know of any attempts or success to incorporate karate into the school system as a sport? Teenagers seem to lose interest in training in a lot of schools... yet they are young, athletic, impressionable... a great time to provide guidance through the martial arts. I know if karate had been in my high school I would have signed up.
I have an idea that a school federation based on korean martial arts could be developed, This would help fill the hole in the martial arts "teen years". It would also offer an opportunity for kids who's parents won't pay for karate. Competition between schools could occur in forms,weapons, and fighting-probably olympic style TKD would be most practical with weight divisions like wrestling. Kids who do well can compete in state events and go to nationals...
It would have to be a number one priorty to maintain the traditional values of the martial arts... respect, discipline, inner strength etc.
I think the biggest barrier to this occuring has been the variety of martial arts styles and the inconsistency between schools in the USA...
Has anyone else ever thought about this?
I really think it could work.
Maybe it could be based on a system similiar to one abroad?
I remember something like this in the 80's with Chuck Norris, Houston Texas & a "Kick Drugs Out of School" kinda deal. I never followed it much but the idea/notion rings a bell.
I'd love to get a school program set up for helping to draw attention to MA as a positive thing. Trick is given all the laws on the books after Columbine & other incidents that reinforced it... how would my sifu teach Plum Flower Sword in a school? I don't see the "Kill Bill vol 1" sword holders on the sides of the kids' desk ... :up: :D
Hmm...good point about the weapons aspect...but I can imagine some great forms teams...teenagers like to be on stage...there could traditional forms and open forms-...maybe demo teams with music... so many ideas... would have to start with one thing at a time... I'm gonna look up that Chuck Norris thing. :rolleyes:
Ehhh.... no dancy/jumpy stuff... just traditional Northern & Southern CMA. Nothing against the other stuff, but I'm a snob... :D
You can check out Norris' KickStart (formerly Kick Drugs Out of America) program here:
The program is currently operating in 25+ schools in the Houston area, and 10+ schools in Dallas.
My son enrolled in the program this fall. It is a four year program, beginning when the students enter 6th grade, and is taken in lieu of P.E. class. The school district pays 1/2 of the instructors' salary, and the Norris organization pays the other 1/2 out of corporate charitable contributions. When the program was initiated, the instructors taught Norris' Chun Kuk Do style. Now, the program has expanded and the instructors teach kata/hyungs from the style in which they earned their black belts, so there is a pretty wide spectrum of Korean, Japanese, and Chinese instruction at the various schools. They uniformly teach Norris' developed one steps and sparring tactics. The lessons are free to the kids, and they receive a discounted price on Doboks and sparring gear. My son and I have been practicing Taekwon-Do for about 6 years. The instructor at his middle school teaches Tang Soo Do hyungs. Assuming the kids stick with the program for 4 years, and pass all of their tests, they are awarded a "KickStart" Black Belt Certificate, signed by GM Norris. In addition, their instructor will arrange for a testing in whatever their base art is, so that they can earn, for example, a Tang Soo Do black belt as well. I've attended several tournaments at which the KickStart kids were competing, and I was favorably impressed with their skill level. My older stepson also participated in KDOOA for two years back in the mid 90's and would have continued if he hadn't been sidelined by brain surgery. The kids who participate tend to have better performance in attendance, behavior and grades than the other students, and, are not messed with by any gang members who happen to go to the school.
My only complaint about the program is the lock-step advancement procedures. Even though my son has earned a black belt in TKD, he is not allowed to advance any faster than the other kids in his class who have had no prior martial arts experience. So, for now, he is the best white belt in the school...
I was actually checking out "Kickstart" before I saw your post... Do you know if the Kickstart program has any options for outside of Texas?
I know that GM Norris has expressed a hope that, one day, the program will be in every middle school across the nation. I don't think they currently have any programs anywhere other than Houston and Dallas. The website has contact listings for the KickStart offices. I believe the head honcho is Ed Saenz. You might want to send him an e-mail.
Do you know where Mr. McCleary has gone? He was my stepson's teacher at Hogg MS back in about 1996. Thanks.
Were there other schools? What happened to them? What failed? Succeeded? What type of funding is left?
Is there anyway to fund an after school program/sport instead?
Thanks for the info, Chris. I found the site, and I'm glad to see that they are doing well. My stepson really enjoyed being in Mr. McCleary's class. Do you ever make it down to Houston for any of the Kick-Start events?
My apologies. For some reason, I thought you were from Dallas. My son and I attended your tournament. Great job! Really outstanding. You really had some outstanding competition, not only among the color belts, but between the black belt/instructors as well. Derek has been learning ITF style Taekwon-Do for almost 6 years, and received his 1st dan about a year and a half ago. Unfortunately, Derek just started KickStart this fall, so wasn't able to compete, as he hadn't passed his first belt test yet, and, since the tournament wasn't "open" he couldn't compete for his other school. He has competed at a few pretty large tournaments in Houston and Austin, although none were as big as yours. He was really interested to see what the competition will be like. There were a fair number of stand-out performances by some of the lower color belts. I got the impression that some of them, like Derek, have some of prior experience.
I had previously heard some slights about the quality of instruction the kids get in KickStart. I couldn't figure out what the problem was, as my older stepson had been one of Mr. McCleary's students at Hogg, and we were favorably impressed then. And, after talking with Derek about the instruction he's receiving at Hamilton, and after seeing your tournament, I am extremely impressed! I had been concerned that he might suffer a letdown or boredom by having to start over as a white belt. But, he seems absolutely committed to earning another black belt through KickStart. I am really excited to see him excited about martial arts again.
That one DQ in the adult black belt division was pretty unfortunate. Clean, legal strike to the opponent's helmet, but apparently drew some blood when the guy's face hit the floor... Bad luck for both participants, but especially for the guy who was DQ'd.
If you guys ever need any volunteers for set-up, judging, etc., please give me a call. I enrolled in TKD at the same time as Derek, and our instructor wants me to do some volunteer work/judging, etc. at some local tournaments. I hope to be testing for my 2nd dan in December.
Sounds like a great program... I don't know if kickstart can be started in my area -atleast probably not by myself...I work part-time as a physician...and can not be a full-time instructor-although it sounds like a lot of fun.(and hard work)... I will have to talk to people and see what can be done in my state... I would love to coach/teach an afterschool team -kickstart in the middle schools would be a great intro into an afterschool highschool program. I wonder though... there may be resistance to such a program in my area because it would draw prospective middle-school age students away from the local karate schools... on the other hand I think a high school team may help improve business for local karate schools.... did you or kickstart run into any of these problems?
I wish they did something like that in Canada.
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Tried to get an after school Judo club started in the Elementary school where I teach but the administration would have nothing to do with it. They were too scared of liability issues. Going to try and work it into the PE curriculum at some point and hope it grows from there. Any ideas?
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