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SYCC’s new ‘Tiny Ninjas’ karate class to cater to four- and five-year-olds

BUCKHANNON — Through Sensei Larry Carter’s new Tiny Ninjas class, children ages 4 to 5 years old now have the opportunity to learn a traditional form of karate.

The class, which begins on Monday, June 15 at the Stockert Youth & Community Center, will be taught by sixth-degree black belt Sensei Larry, a man who has dedicated over 30 years to learning and teaching karate. The Vietnam veteran is a master in Shotokan, a traditional Japanese/Okinawa form of karate, and has taught the form to a range of learners from six-year-olds to adults for years in Buckhannon.

“I thought maybe there was a need for kids four and five years old to get into something that is structured,” he said.

Through the new class, participants will learn the proper way to stand for karate, blocking/striking/kicking techniques and terminology for many Japanese techniques. Eventually, students will learn how to spar and basic kata — a series of martial arts techniques.

During each class, Sensei Larry will have a few of his current teenage students assist with teaching the youngsters.

“I can tell that I would probably intimidate the young kids, so if I have teenagers there that can walk through as we’re trying to learn techniques and actually putting these kids in proper stances or fixing what they’re doing wrong with techniques, without a sixth-degree black belt Sensei coming over and scaring them to death,” he said with a laugh.

Aside from learning the techniques and vocabulary of this particular form of karate, Carter hopes participants can learn a sense of confidence, respect and skills.

With COVID-19 restrictions still in place, Carter said proper precautions will be taken to ensure the safety of participants and parents.

“Before they can enter the dojo, we have to make sure their temperature is under 103 degrees. If it’s over 103 degrees they can’t come into the dojo,” he said. “They have to bring their own drinks because the water fountains are off limits.”

Participants will need to utilize specified doors to enter and exit the building, as well.

“As far as social distancing goes, I have marks on the floor that indicate where to stand when stretching,” Carter noted.

Participants do not need to bring anything; however, Carter advises to wear loose-fitted clothing to each class.

The Tiny Ninja class will be held on Mondays only and begin at 5:30 p.m. and last roughly one hour. To get registered, parents/guardians can get in contact with SYCC or show up at 5:30 p.m. on June 15. The class will cost $10 a month.

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