First of all, we would like to give a large welcome to you and your child. We know that there are a lot of schools out there, and we are honored that you have chosen us to lead your child in their martial arts education and training. Every instructor here is a dedicated and passionate martial artist with a love for passing down what we know. So we thank you for giving us the opportunity to do what we love!
Who are we?
To understand Chang Tai Do, we must first introduce Shotokan Karate in general. Shotokan’s founding is credited to renowned martial artist Gichin Funakoshi, who began this discipline in 1939. As a traditional style, Shotokan was responsible for much of the popularization of Karate, especially in the West, and it places heavy emphasis on combining skill, respect, commitment, and humility.
As a Shotokan Karate institution, Chang Tai Do firmly holds true to these historical roots, while also seeking to branch out and pick from other martial arts. Founded by Kancho John Chang, who has spent his life not only training in Karate, but also in wrestling and Chinese grappling, Chang Tai Do was founded with the intention of expanding the horizons of traditional Shotokan. Kancho Chang did this by looking for the best aspects of all these very different martial arts styles, particularly Kung Fu and grappling, and bringing them directly to the students.
What will your child’s time with us look like?
Your child is embarking on a very exciting journey into the world of Karate, and we at Chang Tai Do are here to guide them. When students arrive at class, they will participate in warm-up drills and exercises before learning the basics, like how to make a good fist and how to block correctly. As students advance, they will be introduced to kata (forms), and later kumite (sparring) and sticks.
Like any other school, your child will be expected to come to class, learn their material, practice at home, and then show what they have learned through regularly-scheduled tests. Testing occurs after every session, during which your child will either receive a belt stripe, or a new belt after a sufficient number of stripes have been earned. The belt order for Chang Tai Do is as follows: white, yellow, orange, blue, green, purple, brown, red, and black.
Is Chang Tai Do a form of physical education or a competitive art?
Both. Chang Tai Do offers a wide variety of prospects for students of differing time and interest devotions. For some, karate is physical education and self-defense. If this is what you were looking for in a martial arts group, you certainly came to the right place.
Yet Chang Tai do is also a competitive organization in the martial arts world, and as your child progresses through the ranks, they will be introduced to increasingly difficult kata, new self-defense techniques, and different weapons forms that they may wish to use and showcase. Tournaments are the perfect place for this activity. Chang Tai Do competes in multiple tournaments every year, and students comfortable with their material will be encouraged to go try them out. We would like to emphasize that your child will never be required or forced to do this, however, it is a very exciting and rewarding step in helping build technique, social skills, and stage presence.
What can you do to help your child have fun and succeed in Karate?
The number one thing you can do for your child is give your support. Encourage your child to practice every day what they have learned here at Chang Tai Do. Compliment them when they do something that looks really cool, and applaud all the hard work they put in!
Yet, support is two-way, and part of that is giving your child the space and environment they need to learn. Psychology shows us that humans in general can benefit from an audience when we are well-practiced and about to do something we have done multiple times before, like at a tournament. Yet psychology also tells us that the reverse is true; having an audience can be detrimental when someone is trying to learn something for the first time. Karate is already challenging, and it can be very difficult for a child to learn, especially when they have just joined Chang Tai Do, if they are also looking back toward you.
Therefore, we respectfully ask you to please not sit in on the classes. We know this may seem difficult, but we guarantee you that children who do not have their parents here at class watching them do far better and enjoy themselves more than those who do.
We also ask your support and understanding in the discipline aspect of martial arts as a whole. All of our classes have multiple students, some as many as thirty, and with all of these children learning how to punch and kick, safety becomes our top priority. To ensure your child and all other students are kept safe, we enforce constructive discipline through exercises like push-ups. In addition, in order to be heard over noise, and especially if the need is immediate, it can become necessary to raise our voices. We do not at any time yell at students, but it may sometimes be necessary to project our voices in order to immediately enforce the safety of all of our students. If we are forced to raise our voices to your child in order to warn them or get their attention, or if we assign them push-ups for disciplinary measure, please support us in this. We are your child’s teachers, protectors, and mentors through their martial arts training, and if we enforce discipline, it is with the knowledge and experience that through that discipline your child will become stronger, be safer, and have a far more enjoyable and rewarding experience.
And what a phenomenal experience it shall be! Right now, your child is experiencing something that will build them up physically, sharpen them mentally, and engage them socially. Who knows? Perhaps as they continue through karate, they will fall in love with a practice that is equal parts challenge and overwhelming fun.
We know we did.
Kancho Chang and the Chang Tai Do Instructional Staff