Youth Karate




Scottsdale Martial Arts Center (SMAC), is owned by Sensei Ray Hughes; a 7th-degree black belt in Karate with over 40 years of experience in martial arts.

Sensei Ray and his staff teach students of all ages, but their greatest passion is the development of children.  Self-esteem, confidence, and mental discipline are the main focus of their Jr. program as well as the nurturing of life skills. The ability to defend oneself emerges through the rigors of training.




Our Youth Beginning Program

Our Novice Youth Program is a comprehensive program that addresses mental and physical development, social skills, manners, and etiquette.

It takes time and experience to grasp the concepts of martial arts.  Our Novice Youth classes offer that time for both students and parents to understand this concept.  By the time a student is ready to move into the intermediate classes, both the student and the parent will have a basic understanding of martial arts training.


How our Youth Program is Taught

By introducing many topics and quickly moving from topic to topic, the Sensei (teacher) engages the child for increased learning.

A proper balance of content, structure, and humor are the most effective means to teach children.  If the child enjoys the content, the child will learn well.  With structure, the child will learn in an orderly manner.  With humor, the child remains mentally alert.

Scottsdale Martial Arts Center uses a stripe and belt color system to motivate students to move to the next level.


What is taught in our Youth Programs

Three primary areas of development are stressed in our youth programs: mental, physical, and social.

The mental areas of development are self-esteem, confidence, emotional control, mental focusing, memorization, conflict resolution, stress reduction, patience, and much more.

The physical skills that are developed are strength, speed, agility, coordination, balance, flexibility, and cardiovascular development.  An overall healthy lifestyle is also encouraged.

Developing social skills, manners, and etiquette is as important as mental and physical development.  Appropriate social skills often minimize or eliminate conflict.  The ability to lead, speak in public as well as having cultural awareness and abstract understanding, prepares our students for today's world, above and beyond what other children are offered.



How does a student move through the program?

Our youngest students begin in our Introductory Pee Wee Program (4 to 6 years of age). Students between the ages of 7 and 12 start in our Beginning Junior Program. Both programs have the same structure with the only difference being the length of the class.

Introductory Pee Wee Karate (ages 4 to 6 - white belt)—20 minutes
Beginning Pee Wee Karate (ages 4 to 6 - yellow & orange belt)—30 minutes
Beginning Junior Karate (ages 7 to 12 - white through orange belt) - 45 minutes




Introductory Pee-Wee Karate

The Introductory Pee Wee Program is offered as the first step for students between the ages of four and six.

Students in this program begin with no belt. In order to receive their white belt, they must stand in front of the class and recite their name, address, and phone number. This is done to begin mental and social development as well as having the child know crucial information for their own well-being. Public speaking ranks as America’s #1 fear: by having young children participate in this activity they are given an invaluable gift that will help them throughout their life.

From this point forward, stripes are awarded for knowledge of basic Karate terminology. Once a student has earned all six black stripes for their white belt, they are eligible to test for their yellow belt by performing various karate techniques and our first Form (organized sets of movements).  These yellow belt exams are held in front of their fellow students.  They are held when students become eligible and are less stressful than our formal belt exams that are held quarterly in front of a black belt judging panel.  These exams serve as a stepping stone to the more formal belt exams that are required for orange belts and above.  When a student receives their yellow belt, they move into the Beginning Pee Wee Program.

Students advance at their own pace. They may spend several months in each program before they are ready to move on. Remember:

“This is not a race.”


Beginning Pee-Wee Karate

In this program, the second step of our PeeWee program for students 6 years of age and under, the student advances to a 30 minute Yellow & Orange belt class.

In this class, the student will learn two additional Basic Forms while continually covering previously learned techniques. The student will test for a new belt when each form is learned.

When a child reaches a Yellow/Black stripe belt, that child is eligible to be invited to their first formal belt exam test for the Orange belt rank.  From this point forward, all students must pre-test for the next belt rank level.

The student will be formally pre-tested, a practice test for the belt promotion. If the student passes the pre-test, the student will receive an invitation to the belt promotion test. These tests are held every three months with a $35 testing fee. At these tests, the child performs their techniques and forms in front of a board of Black/Brown Belt instructors.

If the child is deemed not ready during the pre-test, the child will wait until the next testing opportunity. With philosophy and humor, the Sensei (teacher) seeks to constantly empower the student: simultaneously teaching the realities of hard work and determination as well as showing the student how to handle disappointment.


Junior Karate

The Beginning Junior Program is essentially the same as the Pee-Wee Program, except Juniors begin in a 45 minute class. Due to their age, they automatically begin as a white belt.

What equipment is necessary to participate

The only item necessary is a karate gi (uniform) which consists of pants, a top, and a belt which can be provided by Scottsdale Martial Arts Center.  To purchase a gi, please speak to one of our assistants at the front desk.  The student will need sparring gear when they are ready to start sparring.


Common Questions

Will karate make my child aggressive and want to fight?
Not at all. Aggressiveness and the desire to fight come from a LACK of discipline. Karate will teach your child self-discipline. In addition, we have very strict rules regarding violent behavior and the general conduct of students outside the school.

Are there any religious teachings involved in karate?
There are no religious teachings in the program. However, social and moral conduct are encouraged and taught.

How long will it take my child to earn a black belt?
The length of training to attain a black belt depends on how old the student is when they start.
Students must be a certain age to obtain certain belt ranks;

  • 7 years of age to test for green belt
  • 9 years of age to test for purple belt
  • 11 years of age to test for brown belt
  • 13 years of age to test for junior black belt

Regardless of age, there is a minimum of four years of continuous training for students that have never trained in martial arts.  In addition, there are skill level requirements for each belt grade.  Some students take longer than others to develop this skill capability.

How long will it take for my child to be able to defend him or herself?
It is difficult to put a length of time on when a child will be able to defend himself/herself. Each child's personality and upbringing will influence the choices they make in a self-defense situation. The longer and harder a child trains, the better prepared they will become.