• East Morris Karate Academy
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Teenage Students

Rite of Passage

The human need to belong to a tribe extends in adolescence to a growing drive to live as an adult. It is an uncomfortable time for children - and parents as well.

We say that we teach karate to kids, not 'Kiddie Karate'. While that's true, teenagers now must learn to study with the same intensity as the adults.

We promote to black belt beginning at age 13 using a half-grade rank found in judo. The test is age appropriate. But it's only at age 16 that the student becomes eligible for the full black belt rank of Shodan. The examination is the same given to adults - the martial arts equivalent to coming of age.

In a traditional dojo, testing for Shodan, in many respects, truly is a right of passage.
Teen being promoted along side adults
Lion pride on the road


"If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together."
- African Proverb

Caught between childhood security left behind, the uncertain future ahead and jackals on the road, teenagers can easily feel vulnerable.

But they can find an ally whose very job it is to guide students toward strength and wisdom. The dojo.

And the dojo accepts everyone equally.

What gets you in the door is sincere interest. You don't have to be anything in particular. Athletic, aggressive, poised, etc. Normal will do just fine.

Normal people are out-going, shy, agile, clumsy, tall, short, overweight, underweight, middleweight. Furthermore, karate is as much a cerebral study as it is physical. And finally, even some very normal people have 'challenges'.

The dojo defines people only by how good a student they are. And that depends more on character than physical performance.

We don't compete against one another here. There are no champions, no losers. Neither does anyone ever 'warm the bench'.

Do your work, exemplify good martial attitude, enjoy being a part of the crew. That's what we ask of others and ourselves.

And, as always - we do not leave our people behind. No one gets cut from our team.

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