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Introducing karate through Active Schools Print E-mail
Written by Jim Miller   
Tuesday, 09 October 2012
Karate working with Active schools

The club sport framework identifies better connected clubs as a priority to ensure they are well-placed to deliver sports opportunities within local communities. Part of this is developing strong connections between Scottish governing bodies (SGBs), local clubs and Active Schools.

Introducing karate through Active Schools

Two years ago the Scottish Karate Governing Body (SKGB) decided to try and increase participation in karate by introducing it to children in schools.

SKGB chairman Paul Giannandrea and Active Schools Coordinator Roger Arnott put the wheels in motion by applying for funding from the Carnegie Trust to develop a four-week karate programme based in Fife primary schools. Twelve schools took part in the initial four-week programme.

The programme included three weeks of school-based karate and one week where the children went to the Japan Karate Shotorenmei (JKS) Scotland Dojo in Dunfermline for a full morning of karate experiences. This involved teaming up schools from across Fife. Everyone involved received a certificate for their achievements.

The programme had strong links with the Curriculum for Excellence. The children learned how to make sushi, and write and say their names in Japanese, which enhanced their experience.

This cross-curricular approach helped gain support from head teachers who were an integral part of driving the programme. A strong partnership developed between JKS Scotland, Active Schools and education staff.

Evaluations of the programme have been positive, particularly around the interaction between JKS Scotland instructors and the school staff, the children and their parents. The instructors’ enthusiasm and the high standard of their lessons has been a key ingredient in the programme’s success.

Developing opportunities for the long-term

Since the initial project completed, the partnership has focused on developing the extracurricular programme further to ensure it is sustainable long-term.

So far 17 extracurricular clubs have been set up in local primary schools. Over 350 children between P1 and P7 take part regularly in breakfast, lunch and after-school karate clubs run by JKS instructors. They work to the same curriculum as the Dunfermline Dojo of JKS Scotland. 
All pupils have successfully undergone an early initial karate grading. They now have the opportunity to grade and progress at their own pace in the future.

Many of the children involved have moved on to participate in the local karate club structure and the challenge now is for them to progress into regional competitions.
To ensure the programme continues to develop, the six active schools coordinators in Fife meet with Paul once a term to review the programme and make improvements as necessary.

Planning is underway to form extracurricular clubs in each of the local high schools to ensure the pathway continues through the transition into secondary education. Plans are also in place to hold an Active Schools karate festival in 2013.

The success of this project has led SKGB to set up a group for all karate clubs working with Active Schools to come together to discuss ideas and best practice. The SKGB is developing resources to support the growth. Similar projects are now taking place in Dundee and West Lothian.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 09 October 2012 )


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Kenwa Mabuni
Creator of Shito-ryu. Karate
(1889 - 1952)

Hironori Ohtsuka
Creator of Wado-ryu karate
(1892 - 1982)

Gichin Funakoshi
Creator of Shotokan Karate
(1868 - 1957)

Shigeru Kimura
(1941 - 1995)

Keinosuke Enoeda
(1935 - 2003 )

Tatsuo Suzuki
(1928 - 2011)