Woodlane Dragons

Our younger students (from 5 to 12 years old) are the Ishinryu Dragons.

The Woodlane Ishinryu Dragons have their own dedicated class each Monday and Thursday starting from 5.45 p.m. and lasting for an hour.  These classes are designed to be child friendly and ideal for new starters.  As students progress, they may also train in the senior classes, however only those who have graded to a coloured belt may do so.

Each lesson is £6. There is no up-front membership cost.

Students will need a Karate Gi (costume) and optionally, protective hand-pads.  We can supply this kit from the club, or provide guidance if you’d prefer to purchase elsewhere.  Our advice is to wait a few weeks before buying to make sure your child will continue with training.  For the first lessons, they should wear T-shirt and track bottoms.  All training is in bare feet.

Other Costs
Ishinryu are members of the English Karate Federation (EKF) and all students must be licensed to train in our Dojos.  A licence renews annually at a cost or £25 for students under 16 years of age.  If your child decides to continue with Karate training beyond a month, they will need to purchase a licence.

Woodlane Dragons – Your Questions Answered

Click on any question below for more detail.  If you have a question not answered below, please use our Contact form to ask.

How are Dragons classes different to Adult classes?

Karate training can be successfully adapted for students as young as four or five years old.  Some key lessons in adapting the training includes:

  • Shorter training sessions with more breaks.
  • Introducing a ‘fun’ element into the training to maintain interest.
  • No pressure to progress through formal grading.
  • Recognising that the capabilities and interests of a child can be very different from those of an older student.
  • Providing an initial period of one month before there is any need for parents to invest in a license and training gear.
Can Dragons also train in the Adult Classes?

Yes,  We encourage our Dragons to progress into the general classes, but we do require students to have graded to a coloured belt before joining into the general classes.  Those eligible to train in the general class may continue to train in the Dragons class.

What if my Child has a disability or special needs?

There are few barriers to training in Karate, and each child will be assessed on their own abilities and aptitudes.  For attention disorders, Karate can help with focus, and the discipline and order of a Karate class can be helpful to those with Autism or Asperger symptoms.  However, each child is unique.  Please disclose any medical problems when joining the club and we will do our very best to accommodate any special needs.

How strict are the age guidelines?

We have set the minimum age at 5.  While there are always exceptions, our thinking is that younger children do not have sufficient levels of attention and concentration to train safely in Karate.  However, all children are different, and you should discuss with a club instructor if you think your child can start at a younger age.

The upper limit of 12 only applies to new starters.  Existing Dragons are more than welcome to train beyond this age, and they are very helpful in organising the younger students and setting an example of correct behaviour.

What qualifications do your Instructors hold?

At least one senior Black Belt grade Instructor will always be present at every lesson.  Each Instructor is fully DBS checked and trained in First Aid.  Our senior instructors are all family men with Children (and Grandchildren) of their own.  They have many years experience in teaching both children and adults.  Our Instructors hold EKF licences and have EKF sponsored Insurance cover.

How do I get started?

Just turn up at our Dojo 15 minutes before the start time and we’ll take your details.  Your child is welcome to sit in and observe a lesson, but be aware that space is limited in our Dojo.

Your child is welcome to join in, and the first lesson is free.  This is an opportunity for your child to try it out, and for the instructor to asses the new student.

What is the origin of the Ishinryu Dragons?

The Ishinryu Dragons originated in Australia with sensei Bruce Hyland.  Sensei Hyland led the way in successfully adapting traditional Karate training for children in their own dedicated classes.

When sensei Lee Smith toured the Australian Dojos in 2009, he was greatly impressed – especially by the Dragon’s classes.  With sensei Hyland’s approval, he brought the Dragons concept back to the UK, and formed a club, just for children, at the Forest Row Centre in Collier Row.  Following a well-attended Open Day on Sunday 20 September 2009, the first Dragons lesson was held on Tuesday 29 September. This first session saw over 20 students with more students joining over the following weeks.

Several instructors made a significant contribution to this club, including Tony Spinks (5th Dan) and Dave Lawrence (3rd Dan).  Some of the original UK Dragons continue to train as adults and a number have even reached the coveted Black Belt grade.

Unfortunately, the original Dragons Club did not survive the upheavals of Covid lock-down, and Dragons has now become a generic term for our younger students up to12 years old across all clubs.  Some clubs, including Woodlane and Cranham, run dedicated Dragon’s classes.  Other clubs, such as Gidea Park, have mostly younger students anyway.

Woodlane Dragons Flyer

I believe the children are our future.
Teach them well and let them lead the way.

Whitney Houston.