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Karate Picture Book in the World

Two months ago, I went to read my first karate picture book to a kindergarten class. In uniform, I introduced myself and told them the reason I was there. “I made this book so that kids who don’t train at my dojo, maybe who don’t do martial arts and who live in other parts of the world can learn some of the most important lessons of karate.”

Their attention was held as I read “The Can-Do Karate Kid” in which Makoto starts out bringing Laziness and Procrastination with him everywhere. Then he realizes that they are holding him back in his life, and he must fight them. After reading, I pointed out the page where Makoto is shown walking to school with purpose, in a timely manner. It shows his system goal in the form of an affirmation, “I get to school on time,” at the top of a weekly calendar showing he has done this for a whole week.

karate picture book reading to a class

The Worksheet Based on my Karate Picture Book

For the kindergarten classroom visit, I introduced the concept of a positive affirmation. We talked about focusing on what you do want, not what you don’t. Then we discussed examples of some goals that kids might have, that would take a few weeks to make into a habit. They mentioned things like, “being nice to my sister,” and “cleaning my room.” Then the children filled out their own goal sheet with help from us adults. While they waited for us to go around to each student, they colored in the bottom half which had a line drawing from the book.

Now mind you, above is an overview of all of our activities during my visit. We did not do any karate moves. I didn’t demonstrate any katas or techniques as I often do when I make an appearance in uniform. At the end of the author-illustrator talk, before I left, one perceptive and intelligent boy had something to say to me. He said, “Thank you for teaching us karate.” He got it. I really appreciated that.

My aim is to empower kids with knowledge based on traditional karate principles. After all, these are the most important things I teach as an instructor. To do so, I have chosen the modality of a series Dojo Kun Character Books, which I am both writing and illustrating. These make the karate morals accessible to all kids. If you’d like to hear more about my author-illustrator adventures, sign up here to receive my newsletter emailed every other month.

-Jenifer Tull-Gauger

the Dojo Kun of traditional karate, colored in a rainbow of crayons

Jenifer Tull-Gauger Kyoshi

Children's picture book author/illustrator. Traditional karate teacher and practitioner. Loves drawing and all kinds of art. Also into animals, plants and Mother Nature.

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