The International Japan Karate-Do Association South Africa (IJKA SA) has identified and introduced an 8-level programme grading system entitled Introduction to Martial Arts (IMA), also commonly referred to as Dinky Karate, whereby young students between the ages of 3-5 years in particular, can take up the art of karate in order to develop the necessary bio-motor abilities and rudimentary skills so desperately needed in our technologically saturated society today. The system is aimed at equipping small children with the basic fundamentals of coordination, concentration, reflexes and endurance. These, and other skills, form the basis of karate movements which makes Dinky Karate so suitable and essential for young children lacking these basic concepts. Moreover, the concept of Dinky Karate also strengthens the will and aims at character building through learning the values of etiquette and the discipline that accompanies it.


So how does Dinky Karate work?

Young students between the ages of 3-5 are taught karate related games whereas to them it seems as if they are playing just a game, where in fact these karate games assist them by teaching them basic skills such as how to cross the mid line, balancing, and focus to recite a movement or series of movements. The left and right combination of feet and hands are excellent for overall brain and cognitive development. These games also incorporate basic karate techniques such as punching, blocking, striking and kicking. The instructor aims to increase and maintain concentration of the students throughout the lesson. Dinky Karate instructors interact with the young students by demonstrating and so challenging the Dinky students to have fun and learn competitiveness in a workout which is not only aimed at having fun but also to learn a skill at the same time.

The Dinky Karate grading system

Dinky students between the ages of 3-5 years are awarded a small coloured stripe on their white belt at a grading indicating the IMA level obtained. The IMA coloured stripe system follows the same belt colour system as the conventional belt grading system found in the IJKA SA system (i.e. Yellow, Orange, Green, Blue, Purple, Red, Brown and Black). Dinky Karate students are required to demonstrate what was learned through the term in order to advance to a next level of the IMA system. After the Dinky students have grasped the basic fundamentals and understanding of punching, blocking, striking and kicking, then he or she is graded to a yellow belt thus continuing with the normal belt system as per the curriculum of the Association.

It has been found that Dinky students perform better later on in their karate development because of the basic foundation that have been formed at a young age, especially when it comes to the senior graded belts. IJKA SA karate has been following the highly successful Dinky Karate programme with excellent results. Many black belt students have started with the Dinky Karate programme by progressing through the IMA system and ultimately through the various belts until now where they have become fully fledged black belts in the association.

Download the Dinky Karate brochure here