Karate isn’t just about kicks and strikes - it’s about learning self discipline and control.
That was the lesson that six campers at the Culpeper County Parks and Recreation Karate Camp took away following a four-day camp with Sensei Remi Godlewski.
Tabitha Riley, Programs & Facilities Supervisor, Culpeper County Parks and Recreation, said that the beginner class includes students ages 6-11 and the camp is offered for children who have either taken no karate or had very little instruction.
“The big thing is self discipline and self control because they have to be able to control themselves and focus so they can learn the correct moves,” Riley said.
Behind Riley, Sensei Godlewski put the campers through their paces with a pool noodle - subbing in for a bo staff. As parents watched, they saw their children show what they’ve learned during the camp - including the ability to center themselves and take instruction from their sensei.
“I take these beginner children and they will surprise you with their talents and it’s wonderful to see them develop these skills,” Godlewski said. “If we give them a great beginning on their basics, it makes everything else so much easier to advance.”
Three campers earned their yellow belts during the camp. Elliot Carroll, Jayden Jenkins and Seren Meister progressed through the camp to move up from a white belt.
Meister said her grandmother signed up for karate class and she was glad she did.
“I liked to try to do karate when I didn’t know how to do it,” Meister said. “My favorite thing is working with the bow staff.”
Jenkins, taking his first karate class, said he loved all of it.
“There’s a bunch of things I like, I can’t explain them all,” Jenkins said excitedly.
He said it’s helped him “a lot” with his focus and has taught him to respect others.
Godlweski was first introduced to Tai Kwon Do as an exchange student in Germany and continued his lessons at Temple University, Pa. with the legendary Terayuki Okazaki, founder of ISKF. He’s taught classes through Culpeper County Parks and Recreation for about 10 years.
“I add practical elements of self defense, which includes jiu-jitsu,” Godlewski said. “We also teach them elements of Aikido, which is falling and the rolling. They love doing jumping kicks, and it uses up a lot of energy.”
Karate is the art of self defense and he loves to teach the kids something practical that they will take with them through life.
“The benefits is that it will help them in whatever they do in their life,” Godlewski said. “One of the benefits is the physical growth - their coordination and flexibility. But they also learn self control and how to follow directions.”