View Full Version : Shorinji Kids Classes

Steve Williams
4th August 2000, 20:33
A few questions:

What is everyones opinion of teaching children?
Do you have a dedicated childrens class or are they taught in the adult class?
Do they continue to train for many years?
If there is a drop out age is it the same for boys and girls, or different?
If you have a dedicated childrens class then do you include "games" as part of training?
Does anyone have any good games to use which are possibly Kempo/ martial art orientated?

Just to start the ball rolling, here are my answers:
I think that childrens classes are a great potential for growth of shorinji kempo (with the addition of university clubs), children have a unique view of training and can improve any instructors teaching style.
I teach a dedicated childrens class and have done for a number of years, it takes place immediately before the adults class (means a hard 3+ hours of training for me and my assistant instructors), we have 25+ children train, ages from 6 to 14, roughly 60/40 split boy/girl.
Many of them have been training for 3 years or more, and don't seem to drop out at any set age, although more of the girls seem to stop in their early teens than the boys.
Many of my students have gone on to the adults class and still train, one of my young Japanese kenshi returned to Japan, continued training and is now 3rd dan, so although some drop out there are many who continue and thrive.
We do play games as part of the lesson, usually finishing the class with a game of "British Bulldog" or an impromptu sumo tournement. We sometimes have a "who can kick highest"/ "who can punch fastest/hardest" contest which is done in a very relaxed game-like manner.

One advantage is that some of the parents after days or months of bringing their children to train decide to start themselves, this is another way of promoting Shorinji Kempo by creating a strong positive impression of martial arts in general and Shorinji Kempo in particular.

Any thoughts at all on the subject then let us hear them.

Robert Liljeblad
9th August 2000, 11:35

I started to practise SK in a children’s class fifteen years ago at the age of eleven until I was fifteen. I was then transferred to the adult group. A really hard transition going from a Sempai roll in the children group to a Kohai roll among the adults.

The children practise was a lot like the one Steve is writing about. We were among 25 kids practising two times a week. Although the majority of the children was only there on Saturdays (once a week). I think this particular children group carried on for five years. The result of this is one shodan a father that started because of his doter that is still practising and two san-dan kenshi.

I don’t know if you are familiar with the special kamokyho from hombu for Children’s practice. I think this is a six kyu system (Maybe someone can correct me if I’m wrong). But I think it makes sense to have some extra kyu grades for children so that they can have a new belt every semester.

I also think the age of 15 is a good age to transfer to the adult group. Games is also important. We appreciated games like playing he (tag) (not sure of the English word). But more martial arts games was perhaps having a great carpet. Then telling the kids the one left at the one left is the winner. This made a big pile of wrestling kids to be able to through out the others kids from the carpet.

Going to camps together with the adults were also a great source to learn a lot as a kid.

When I visited Kyoto in 1995. I had the opportunity to see some great children practising SK at Tambawashi doin. It was amazing how disciplined the kids there was. I have never seen that in Sweden. And the instructor had a great way of mixing fun with seriousness.


Robert Persson

Steve Williams
9th August 2000, 18:27
Gassho Robert

The kyu system for children (from Hombu) is starting at 9th kyu(white belt) and going in half belt stages (i.e. yellow tip/yellow, green tip/green belt etc...) to 1st kyu(brown belt), there is a junior shodan grade (only for over 12 years old) but no English kenshi have ever got this (to the best of my knowledge) probably takes too long to get there only by training once or twice a week, by then they are in the adult class !!

Age 15 is a good time to go to adult class, we usually transfer upwards at age 14 to 16, usually dependent on physical size of student.

I also have seen a Japanese childrens class and was also amazed at their discipline, I wish my class were like this all the time instead of only most of the time.

Glad to see you are still training (and teaching?).


Anders Pettersson
11th August 2000, 10:08

Just to add some details.
Some years ago (January 10, 1995) Hombu informed each country (letter 94-GA-139) that if you have children's class you can either start with 8th or 6th kyu. After the age of 13, kenshi should follow the adult kamoku.
Colour of belts should be 8-7 kyu yellow, 6-4 kyu green, 3-1 kyu brown.

As for the great children's class Robert (and myself since we where there together at that time) watched it was truly some amazing kids. Sadly though I got the information some months ago that the teacher of Tambabashi doin, Yamazaki-sensei, had died from heart decease last year.

<A href=”http://www.shorinji-kempo.org/">www.shorinji-kempo.org</A>

Steve Williams
20th September 2000, 21:36
There is a new kids syllabus available from hombu, basically the same as the old one, but now A5 size so it comes into line with the adult syllabus.

Stefan Jönsson
23rd February 2001, 09:01

We are talking about to start a children's class at our branch.
My question is: What is your branch minimum age?

I read that you Steve teach from 6-14. Isn´t it difficult for a 13 year old to practice with a 7 year old?

We are talking about 10 as a minimum age.

Hope to hear from you.

Steve Williams
23rd February 2001, 20:19
Hi Stefan and welcome

Regarding the age differences, it really depends upon the size and maturity of the kids involved.

I have a couple of 8 year olds training who could easily join my adults class from a maturity point of view (but they are much too small), conversely I have one or two 12 year olds who are barely able to handle the format of a kids class.

I currently have two 5 year olds training (they both have older brothers in the class) who are very good and train very well.

Sorry to be so vague but it does depend so much on the individuals concerned.

To try to be a little more clear in answer to your question, I never match students of vastly different physical size, you should (in my experience) always keep children of similar size training together when doing pairform practice, this is even more important when doing goho, but not as critical when doing juho (kids should not do locks due to their developing bone structure).