Kids Karate Game – Thieves

Here’s a quick karate game for you kids’ classes.

Use this as a warm up, a challenge or an end of class reward.

It’s called “Thieves” and works like this:

Place some cones in a large circle that spans the training floor. Each student stands next to their own cone.

Now place 20 or so extra belts in the center and make sure they’re all tangled up.

On your command, students must run to the center grab a belt and return to their cone and place the belt on the floor. Then they run back and grab another belt and so on until all belts are gone.

If two students grab the same belt, it turns into a mini tug-of-war. The first to touch their own cone while holding the belt, retains the belt and places it with their other belts.

beltscircleOnce all belts are gone from the center students must begin to tie the belts one at a time, around their waists as quickly as possible.

As soon as they are done tying they are free to run to another student’s stash of belts and steal any remaining belts, and return to their cone and start tying. If during a “steal” more than one student grabs the same belt, the first to touch their own cone keeps that belt.

Once all belts are tied and none are left on the floor the person with the most belts wins.

Couple of rules:

  1. Students can only steal belts on the floor, not from another student’s waist.
  2. Students may not steal from anyone else until all of their own belts are tied.
  3. During a “steal” students may only take ONE belt at a time, and not the entire stash!
  4. When the game is complete, if there are multiple winners then move to a second round with only those students. All other kids are eliminated.

This is a fun karate game for 5-12 year old kids. You decide how well you want the belts tied. For younger students just a single wrap with a single knot is sufficient in my experience. For older/more advanced kids make sure their belts are tied properly.

Do you have any variations or ideas for this game? Post them below!


6 thoughts on “Kids Karate Game – Thieves”

  1. Hey Jason! Thanks so much for sharing your ideas. It is greatly appreciated! So what happens to the kids who are “eliminated?” In my experience, this can cause kids to become quite upset, therefore ruining the rest of the class for them if the game was played in the middle of class; or if it is played at the end as a reward, to leave the class with a bad taste in their mouths. For this and other games, is there a way to 1. somehow reward the non-winners (we never say “loser!”), 2. adjust the game so that everyone “wins,” or 3. “?”

    In our community, we run a 100% non-competitive school. Having winners and losers doesn’t work well with our kids (except for free-sparring). What are your thoughts?

    Best, Ray (a big fan!)

    • Hi Ray,

      Thanks for your comment…

      Some kids might get upset, and that’s ok. They need to learn to deal with it in my opinion. Part of achieving success in life is through being competitive and doing better than others. And that’s ok.

      We also never say “loser”, and there is no taunting when winning. I teach my students to be humble in both victory and defeat. And the ones that don’t win are taught to congratulate those who do. This creates a good association with competition, motivates students to try harder next time and develops great sportsmanship. There should NEVER be a reward simply for participating. That teaches them they get reward for lack of effort or skill.

      If however, you wanted to maintain an “all win” or “all lose” situation, do the same exercise but make everyone on the same team, and they compete against the clock. Set 60 seconds and see if they can get all the belts and get them tied before time runs out. That way they either all win or don’t win … and can be happy or miserable together. lol.

      Hope this helps Ray,


  2. This is a great game Jason and I know this will be enjoyable to them. This evening I will introduce this game to them. By the way if you do offer any training seminars can you afford me more information. Thanks Jason have a great, safe and blessed day!

  3. Hi David,

    Thanks… yep, it’s a good one. I’ve done it will all age groups, kids, teens and adults. Everyone loves this one. The only thing with the really young kids is they have a hard time tying the belts so I just do the first part (no belt tying).

    You know you could run it against the clock and have 10 seconds after all belts are taken from the center, in which kids can run to any other cone and steal belts one at a time and bring them back to their own cone. Then call “yame” and see who has the most… Just a thought.

    Regarding seminars… I’ll let you know.



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