The Bedford-Stuyvesant YMCA offers a no-fighting Karate class for children 5 – 13 years old.
The class is $75 for members and $120 for non-members (scholarships and financial assistance is available through the Strong Kids Campaign). The class meets on Saturdays: 12:00pm - 1:00pm for beginners; and 1:00pm – 2:00pm for advanced participants.
Kerwin Brathwaite teaches the class. And although the children do learn combat and self-defense techniques, he emphasizes, above all, self-confidence: Fighting is a last resort.
Shy kids come out of their shells, as he trades off calling them individually to the front to lead the class. He’s firm. But his focus is less on rigid technique, as he uses class time to teach the kids how to speak up and learn to lead.
“It’s important that kids have leadership qualities, so they will not tend to be followers and follow the wrong crowd,” said Brathwaite. “The more self confidence the children have, the less likely he will feel like he has to prove himself and the less likely he will fight.”
For more information on the Youth Martial Arts class, contact Fabiola Francisque, healthy lifestyles director at the Bed-Stuy YMCA, 718-789-1497, ext. 4011, firstname.lastname@example.org.