Squares, squares and more squares

If you’ve ever had the experience of teaching small children karate, you’ll know that one of the biggest challenges is to get them to stand in something that looks like a karate stance…

Some of my kids pick it up naturally. And then there are those whose bodies look like twisted pipecleaners in a 4 year old’s art project. For whatever reason as soon as they make “forward stance” they think they must put one foot in front of the other and then stand sideways…

This drove me nuts!

Then I’d correct their stance and of course with the very next movement it was “welcome back to twisterville”.

Like I said, this drove me nuts until I thought of a clever way to sort out the problem.

Wanna know what it is?

Are you sure?

Here’s the answer:



That’s the key.

Squares made from electrical tape, stuck on the floor.

Now I just ask them to spread out and put their feet in the squares and face forward. From there I ask them to bend their front knee and hold up their hands…

Simple, huh?

I’ve positioned my “squares” at various points on the tatami and they make a great point of reference for young children when doing basics or kata. Sometimes we use one square, sometimes two.

Furthermore you can use the squares to play games, relay races, etc.

Tape a few to your floor and see how handy they are.

I know – you’re asking “What if I don’t have a full time dojo and I share a basketball court?”

Tape a few squares on the floor anyway. Most people won’t realize, and if they do they probably won’t say anything. What’s the worse that can happen? You might be asked to remove them. No big deal. Or if you’re really worried, ask first.

The squares are a great way to teach kids from ages 4-6 the basic length and width of a stance. Yes, I know all kids are different shapes and sizes, but use the squares as a general guide. It’ll cut down on your workload of “stance correcting” and give you more time to develop their skills in other areas.

Young minds need tools to help them learn.

Squares are fun and helpful.