Kids Taster Sessions


Brown Belt
May 21, 2002
Reaction score
United Kingdom, Europe
I've got some 1 hour "taster sessions" lined up next month to increase membership in my junior classes. (Ages 7 to 12 yrs)

Has anyone got any tips on how to make these sessions really attractive. Kids here in England seem to be a bit lacking in commitment. How can I motivate them, (and their parents) to sign up for classes?

All hints, tips and advice gratefully received.


Along with teaching them some basics, make sure you show them what you can do at the high end. Maybe add some flash to your demo. But make sure you do a demo, don't just invite them in for a hour and teach them a front kick, upward block, reverse punch. You have to get them excited about what you offer by showing them the skills that one day they potentionally could have.

Oh yeah,

and if you do get some of them to sign up, make sure you keep them excited about Kenpo with regular demonstrations of the high end stuff.

Thanks Again,
I would recommend making the classes fun, and pretty high on the change-up scale. Basically, do a series of activities, and don't let any one activity last more than about 6-7 minutes. This way, the kids won't lose interest in what they are doing. Tell 'em a few stories along the way (either actual martial arts happenings that you have experienced, or myths....maybe involve some of the "heroes" of the MA?), and gear activities toward their age levels.

The important thing is not only that they learn, but that they have fun doing what they are doing. If they don't, then there is no way you are going to get them to learn.....the parents may drag them to class, but you will be fighting them the whole way through it. If they are enjoying it, and it is fun, then before too long, you can point out to them just what they know, and they will be truly amazed.

Do not sacrifice the discipline and respect aspects when having fun, but instead, enhance them. Play a game of seeing who can stand in attention stance the longest....try and get them to laugh, or smile....then they have to sit down.....ever play "Simon Says"?? How about a game of "Sensei Says"? If they are "out" have them do a technique, or a couple of kicks.....

Finally, if these are "tasters", don't fall for a bait and switch. Do the kind of things that students will actually see in class--don't make up something to get them interested and then change the material on them. That won't bring 'em back.

Mainly, as long as you have their interest, you will have them as students. Most kids are not the ones with commitment; it's the parents. The kids want to learn neat stuff while having fun, and the parents want to see their child get discipline (and various other results) out of the arts. Please them both, and you have succeeded.

not sure if he still does this...but my instructor used to make people sign up for a minimum of three months. after that, they could go to a month-to-month membership, but he would tell the person that if they're not willing to commit for three months at least, then they were wasting both his time and theirs. If they were waivering he'd either give them another private lesson free, or he'd give them the rest of that month, if there was two weeks or so left free or something to sweeten the deal. Once someone does it for three months, they tend to be hooked.
Thanks to all of you for your help on this one.

Some of your ideas are things I'm alresdy doing, or have done in the past. This shows me in on the right track.

The new ideas, I'm going to give a try, and hopefully, I'll cover the rent for the studio. :)

Once again, thanks for your help.

They all had pretty good replys. I, on the other hand will be in your shoes. All I have taught in the past and now are adults. I do know you need to keep their energy up (I got three little ones).

You should give Kathy Owen a call or e-mail. She has a great kids program. Not that everyone doesn't because all the responses will help me.

Bill Smith
Originally posted by Bill Smith


You should give Kathy Owen a call or e-mail.

Bill Smith

Hi Bill,

Funnily enough, I have e-mailed Kathy. And Keith and Bruce and Kevin Harrington and a whole bunch of others.

What I want to do is collect a group of varied ideas, and apply all of them over a period of time. I do the kids tasters six times a year, and hopefully, I'll be able to give feedback as to what worked for mwe and what didn't.

Then I can share the results with everyone else.

Keep the ideas coming please guys.

When you have the results keep me posted. I'm going to start teaching 9 to 12 yrs of age. Their attention levels are alittle longer and when they get to the adult program they can use what they learned in the junior class. Not too much time as passed.

There are a couple others that are doing well in that area. Mr. Carey and Mr. McCord I've believe have junior programs.

Good luck with the session,
Bill Smith
Last night I posted a pretty lengthly reply but got kicked off right before I hit submit. But when I come on today. It seems that everyone already covered what I was going to say. Tonbo in particular.

I am not an Instructor, but I am an assistant, and do not claim to even come close to knowing everything there is to know about teaching kenpo. But I am going through our schools Instructor couse and should have learned enough by the time I reach Black(I am green right now and should be ready to test for brown in June, but the final descision is up to my Instructor)
I do work mostly in the youth class, 7-12 yrs. old. One last bit of info not mentioned yet is the last thing to enter your mind when teaching children. The Parents. The parents can be harder to handle than the kids. Be prepared for Why hasn't my kid tested but this one did (even though they bring them once a week, while the other kid comes 3 or more times), the parents almost telling their kid they will be scared and might fail in this karate thing(this one gets me the most).
Bottom line, be prepared for angry parents, no matter how awsome your class is, some parents always want more.
A good thing to remember when dealing with parents and kids is to set their expectations up front. "No, Johnnie will not get his Black Belt when he turns 6." "I am the teacher, stay off the floor."
I know it is a little harsh the way I am saying it and I only have a small childrens program so far, but I lay the ground rules up front. I have one mother bringing her son to train because he got beat up at school. I had about a 2 hour long talk with her explaining what she was doing and to be prepared for the consequences.
Make a little certificate of completion. When the class is done, using a felt tip pen and someone with good handwriting, pen the students name on it. To throw a successful demo/seminar, you always give them something to remember it with, booklets, pamphlets, certificates, pens, keyholders, etc.

This holds true in martial arts, real estate sales, etc. virtually any sales promo!

Note that this word process is not WYSIWYG, so the periods are place holders for positioning only!

So ... A small for example:

...................Your school Kenpo Name/Logo address phone number

Be it known that on this day.........June xx, 2002,

................................Little Johnny/Mary Watchmacallit

has succesfully completed the Your School name, Junior introductory course for:

.................................Beginning Kenpo.

Ima Bigcheese.........................................Mary Jones
Head instructor........................................Allen Squibblesquab
................................................................(A couple of signatures
.................................................................of senior students)
young jedi...that's a good one...

however Lucas may have some copyright issues to discuss with ya. :D
well, you say power rangers and all people are going to think of is that gymnastic stuff they all do... and ninja turtles are all about da weapons...

young jedi is probably the only thing that I'd like to see kept alive, but Lucas is doing a darn good job of that on his own...

may the force be with you.


Hmmm, Young Jedi's.... I finally realized why the 'old Jedi order' Pre-ANH seperated the Jedi potential children from their parents... Can you imagine it? "Little Johnny is ready for his trials!" or "Master Yoda, Johnny is doing it right, you're wrong.." even though they are not force sentient. It would test even Mace Windu's patience...

Timmy's Dad: "Master Windu, where is little Johnny's Dad?"
Mace Windu: <with small wave of hand> "Johnny didn't have no Dad."

Now *that* would be cool, huh? It would alleviate sooooo many problems.....for example:

Parent: "Master SoandSo, why hasn't my child been tested for rank? He's READY, and Billy got tested......and he's been here three weeks LESS than my son!!"

Instructor: (using Jedi Mind Control) "Your son is not ready to test."

Parent: (Eyes glazing over slightly) "You know, my son isn't ready to test."

Instructor: (Using Jedi Mind Control) "You should take your son home and encourage him to practice."

Parent: (Still glazed) "I think I will take my son home and encourage him to practice."

Instructor: "Excellent. See you next week?"

:rofl: Now *that* would be a great training be able to train some of the parents in the ancient martial art of "paren-ting", or the subtle art of actually getting your child to do what they should.....