Karate Kick


By Matt Christopher

Text by Stephanie Peters

Formats and Prices




$6.99 CAD




ebook $4.99 $6.99 CAD

This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around August 10, 2009. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

Cole Richards has been training in karate for four years. He’s on the brink of advancing to his next belt level, but as he prepares for his test, new challenges come his way. First, his dojo announces a “create-your-own kata” contest to take place the same day as his belt test. Now he’s torn between practicing for the test and making up a series of moves that will knock his sensei’s socks off. But before he even begins with either challenge, he lands in trouble with a group of local teens — and then with his best friends, too! How will Cole handle the mounting pressure?

With themes of jealousy, competition, and bullying, Matt Christopher brings together important life lessons and the thrill of karate.



Copyright © 2009 by Matt Christopher Royalties, Inc.

All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the publisher.

Little, Brown and Company

Hachette Book Group

237 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10017

Visit our website at www.HachetteBookGroup.com


First eBook Edition: August 2009

The characters and events portrayed in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.

Matt Christopher® is a registered trademark of Matt Christopher Royalties, Inc.

ISBN: 978-0-316-08185-6



With a forceful cry, eleven-year-old Cole Richards flipped his best friend Marty Bronson backward over his hip. Marty landed with a thud on the thick floor mat. Cole dropped down and, with a loud "He-ya!" aimed a punch at Marty's throat. His fist stopped less than an inch from its target.

They both froze for a moment. Then they relaxed and looked at their martial arts instructor, their sensei.

"Good," said Sensei Joe, nodding.

Cole stood up and adjusted his white gi top so that it lay neatly over the uniform's white pants. He tugged at the ends of the blue canvas belt wrapped around his waist, tightening the belt's knot.

"Okay, Marty, it's your turn," the instructor said. "Cole is going to attack you with one of three grabs — a single wrist grab, a double wrist grab, or a front choke. When he does, defend yourself."

Marty faced Cole. Cole waited a beat, and then rushed forward and put his hands around his friend's throat.

With a lightning-quick move, Marty flung his arms straight up and outside Cole's arms, fingertips pointed at the ceiling. Then he stepped back, twisted sideways, and dropped one elbow across and down onto Cole's arms.

Cole fell forward and released Marty's neck. Marty delivered two quick elbow jabs at Cole's exposed jaw, punctuating each with energetic cries.

"He-ya! He-ya!"

Those elbow jabs ended the move. The two separated and turned for Sensei Joe's reaction.

"Not bad," he said. "Marty, you attack Cole now."

"Okay!" Marty wrapped his left hand tightly around Cole's right wrist. Cole tried to free himself by pulling his fist up toward his ear with a sharp jerk.

It didn't work.

"Stop," Sensei Joe said. "Cole, what did you do wrong?"

Cole stared at his wrist, still encircled by Marty's fingers, and shook his head, mystified.

"Marty, do you know?" Sensei Joe asked.

"He forgot to turn his wrist first," Marty replied immediately.

"And why would that make a difference?" the instructor prodded.

"Because then the skinniest part of his wrist would face the spot where my thumb and fingers meet," he said. He demonstrated by rotating Cole's wrist. "Without the turn, the widest part of his wrist would be at that spot instead. It's hard for the wide part to force its way through that opening. But it's almost impossible for me to keep my grip on him when the skinny part does."

"Exactly," Sensei Joe said with satisfaction.

A red flush of embarrassment crept up Cole's face. He couldn't believe he'd forgotten such a basic move. It was something he'd learned nearly four years ago, when he'd first started taking karate, for Pete's sake!

"Try again," their instructor said.

This time, when Marty grabbed his wrist, Cole remembered the turn and yanked himself free without a problem.

"Good," Sensei Joe said.

Cole and Marty attacked one another with several more grabs. Then Sensei Joe told them to join the other students to practice some different defensive moves, called kumites. They bowed to one another and moved from the mats to the main floor of the dojo. Their instructor, meanwhile, disappeared into his office.

Marty nudged Cole. "You know what Sensei Joe's doing, don't you?" he whispered.

Cole glanced through the office windows. "It looks like he's printing something," he said.

"Exactly! And I bet I know what it is!" Marty grinned at him. "It's your invitation to test for your green belt!"

Cole blinked. His mouth grew dry. His heart started thumping in his chest. "My green belt test? You really think so?"


Cole had been a karate student for more than four years. Like all beginners, he had started his training in the white belt class. Sensei Joe and the other instructors taught him some basic blocks, kicks, strikes, and stances, plus some simple defensive moves, and how to spar safely against other students. They also taught him his first kata, or series of karate moves.

Each belt level had its own curriculum. After a few months, Cole had learned all the material at the white belt level. But before he could advance to the next rank, yellow belt, he had to demonstrate that he had mastered the white belt skills. That demonstration, or test, was by invitation only and took place on a special day and time outside of class.

Cole had been nervous the day of his first test. But once he began, his anxiety had fled.

For the test, one of his senseis asked him to do some basic moves. Another watched him perform his kata. Finally, Sensei Joe had tested his defensive skills. Cole did each task well and had passed with flying colors. When he accepted his new yellow belt from Sensei Joe at the end of the test, he couldn't stop grinning.

As a yellow belt, Cole learned new moves, a new kata, and practiced all the white belt material as well. In time, he advanced to the next level of orange belt, where he continued to build upon the skills he had learned at white and yellow.

At some karate schools in other parts of the country, green belt followed orange. But at Sensei Joe's dojo, the next level was purple, and then blue, green, and brown. Cole was a blue belt; if he made it through green and brown and continued training, he could eventually achieve the coveted rank of black belt.

That wasn't the end of the road, however. If he wanted, he could train for years to come, for as Sensei Joe often said, there was always something else to learn or some skill to perfect.

To reach blue belt, Cole had gone through the testing experience four times. Each test had been longer and more difficult, for the higher up he climbed, the more he was expected to know. His last test, from purple belt to blue, had lasted more than two hours!

Now, the thought of being invited to test for his green belt filled his stomach with butterflies. There would be so much to remember!

"Hey, boys, shake a leg!"

The call came from Sensei Ann, another instructor. Sensei Ann was a senior in high school but she already had her black belt, a sure sign of her dedication to martial arts. With her warm smile and easy laugh, she was a favorite among the students. She didn't mind joking around with them — but when it was time to train, like now, she was all business.

Cole and Marty quickened their pace. The other students had already formed two lines facing one another. Cole joined one line and Marty took a spot opposite him.

Cole liked pairing with Marty during exercises that required a partner, such as the defensive maneuvers they were about to do. They were the same age, height, and build, and since Marty had just recently advanced to blue belt, they were the same rank, too. While Cole had no problem working with someone shorter or taller or weaker or stronger than he was, he preferred to pair off with someone equal in size, strength, and skill, like Marty.

"Bow to your partner," Sensei Ann called when everyone was ready.

Cole and Marty dipped forward, straightened, and then assumed positions about an arm's length apart.

"Kumite number one," Sensei Ann said. "Marty's side strikes first, the other side defends. Ready? Go!"

Marty lunged forward with a straight-in punch directed at Cole's face.

As the fist neared, Cole burst into action. He slid his left foot back. He twisted his body a quarter turn to the left. He struck out with his right arm, hitting Marty's forearm with the back of his own to push the punch away. Then he flattened and flipped his right hand and thrust the pinky edge at Marty's neck — a strike their instructors called a shuto. That done, he slid his right foot over and twisted back toward Marty, driving the heel of his left hand at Marty's jaw as he did. A split second later, he unleashed a right punch at Marty's midsection.

"Ki-ai!" he shouted with the punch.

"Ye-ow!" Marty yelped in pain. Then he clutched his abdomen and moaned, "Oowww, my gut! Ooowww!"


For one heart-stopping moment, Cole thought he had really hurt his friend.

But then he realized he couldn't have. After all, he had only touched Marty with his knuckles! If he had actually hit him full force, with that punch or any of his strikes, Sensei Ann would have been on him faster than fleas on a junkyard dog.

So instead of showing concern, he folded his arms over his chest, rolled his eyes, and said, "Nice acting. Are you up for an Academy Award or something?"

Marty straightened, a wide grin on his face. "Just imagining what it'd be like if you really hit me!"


On Sale
Aug 10, 2009
Page Count
128 pages

Matt Christopher

About the Author

Matt Christopher is the best-selling name behind more than 100 sports-themed books for young readers.

Learn more about this author