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Yeah, We Get To Shake Hands Again!

What a valuable skill

I always love when we can go back to shaking hands again!

We use the “fist bump” in place of the handshake during flu season as a courtesy to our parents but I wish did not have to. There are two reasons why I like the handshake over the fist bump – the fist bump is a poor substitution for a handshake and the students do not do a fist bump greeting as slowly and carefully as when they shake hands.

Why is this simple greeting such a powerful and valuable teaching tool? Well the obvious is they learn how to shake hands in a very professional, strong and proper manner. We call it “shaking hands like an adult”.

But there are two other reasons for this greeting.

One is to help many children overcome shyness. Again, what is shyness? It is just a fear and a habit of holding back, at least initially. And how do you get over a fear? You remember, face it again and again then power through it. Every time you do you get stronger and the gets fear weaker. It is surprising to see how hard doing this greeting is for some children. Interestingly, we encounter many kids that are shy or afraid of men. So thank you all you dads in the dojo that look a little scary, big or intimidating!

Another reasons was made apparent to me from a story a mother told me a couple years ago. It went something like this: “We were recently riding in my mini-van with some adult friends of mine when, without prompting, my daughter looked at each one of my friends in the eye, shook their hand, and introduced herself. I was blown away but my friends were even more blown away. I was so proud of my daughter!”

That was priceless. And, can you just imagine what this experience did for this little girl when her mother and her friends beamed with amazement and pride over what she had done? It was easy because she had practiced this adult-like greeting hundreds of times at the dojo.

So here is the part you can play in helping us train your child. This handshake is a serious part of your child’s training here at Ohana Karate. It is every bit as serious and valuable as the karate, character and leadership training they get on the floor.

So when they shake your hand please have the same high expectations we do. Here is the procedure and standard:

  1. First, prompting, student should greet in the dojo (including young siblings watching the class and their own classmates)

  2. Here is a proper handshake:

  • Look in the eye and smile.

  • “Web to web” (in other words grip deep until the webs of your hands touch, inexperienced handshakes often grip too early and grab more the end of your fingers)

  • Shake from the elbow (young kids tend to shake from their shoulder and use their whole body)

  • Shake three times (most shake too long)

  • Then say “”(they say their name and the week’s training theme.Later we will teach them to ask a question)

  • You should respond with your last name (It is respectful for kids to address adults by their last name until the adult gives them permission to use their first name) – “”

  1. The most helpful and most powerful thing you can do is give them .If they do a really good job – TELL THEM.If they do not, compliment them on when they did well then ask them if they could do the part they did not do well better and ask them how?

We appreciate your help and……..I can’t wait until we start shaking hands again!

‘Till next time!

Yours for Rock Solid (and respectful) Kids,


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