Having a Karate birthday party can be a lot of fun, at a very low cost.
My nephew is now a soldier in the Israeli army, a member of an elite combat unit. He served in the Lebanon War, battled real-life terrorists and saw live action. But I still remember when it was all just "make believe".
I was always the "Cool Karate Uncle". So one year my sister in law called me up and asked me to be a guest teacher at his birthday party; teach a fun class for him and his friends. It was a blast and soon enough other kids wanted a "Karate Birthday Party".
Here are some ideas how to make a great birthday party. With slight variations it can be Krav Maga party, a Ninja party, or a Karate party.
What will you need?
A qualified instructor, he or she should bring punching and kicking shields (every martial arts school should have them or they can be purchased)
A few martial arts party favors (I will explain in each section what to get)Some open space, kids, and some spirit. OK, lets get started;
Karate Birthday Party
BEFORE THE PARTY
Design your own special karate invitations or let the Karate companies do the work, you can purchase a pack from Century or AMWA
For just a few dollars you can decorate the room and give it a karate or Japanese feel. Just buy or borrow a few Wall Scrolls with pictures of dragons or some cheap decorations from your local China town. Or you can order from Century or AWMA.
The instructor should be dressed in a karate uniform. He should be introduced as "Sensei so and so", that is Japanese for instructor. The students will be called "your name San", as in Daniel San from "The Karate Kid" movies.
We explain to the students that in Japan the term San follows one's name; it is a title of honor and respect. (We are traveling to Japan now; we are creating a special atmosphere).
Special language – We explain to them that for this lesson they will be speaking a new language; Japanese. They will learn a few simple Japanese terms, like "Hajime (Begin) and "Matte" (Stop). In fact you could introduce each student (party guest) in traditional Japanese style, "Hajime mashte" – a pleasure to meet you Daniel San.
It is not necessary for everyone to have a karate outfit, but, depending on your budget you might buy them special T shirts or karate headbands. Special headbands are only a couple of dollars a piece and it makes the kids feel like real "Karate Kids".
History – Story Telling
The instructor will begin with a brief history of the art of karate, they will learn about its origins and uniqueness. They will learn a little about the history and culture of Japan.
Moral lesson – The students will learn "Rule number one" from "The Karate Kid" movie; "Karate for self defense only." Then they will learn rule number two, "Make sure you know rule number one". Their parents will be impressed when the kids get home.
Kicking and Punching
Demonstrate and teach a few simple techniques. Keep it simple so no one stands up as being untalented and not being able to do it. The goal here is not to actually learn something but just to have fun. Keep everyone happy.
If you have only one or two punching shields, you hold them (maybe the parent holds one and the teacher holds one) and the kids will line up to do their kicks and punches.
One popular activity that I always do is "real life scenarios" or something out of the movies. One kid is surrounded by three people holding different size shields, the kid has to "escape" by kicking or punching each of the three bad guys; he hits them and runs to safety.
Buddy drills – you can also teach teamwork, two buddies are walking home from school and are approached by three thugs, they must kick and punch and escape.
If there is time you might screen a martial arts movie or just some interesting training clips
Have them go home happy, talking about what a great party it was! They can keep their "Karate Kid" headbands, or that special T shirt. You can also buy special karate key chains for very little, you can explain that a karate student is responsible and keeps his keys safe. Many inexpensive karate items are available for purchase. (Century, AWMA)