What does good kids' training look like?

Steve

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In the interest of not derailing the nostalgia of the "What Happened to the Old Ways?" thread, I thought I'd start a new one.

I think I was pretty clear about my position in that thread, but it got me thinking. What do you guys think is GOOD training for kids? I mean, what does it look like? What can we reasonably expect to teach a child? To be clear, I'm not talking about the exceptions... the kids who are mature beyond their years or exceptionally athletic. I'm talking kids. Run of the mill kids. Average 10 year olds.

So, you have a group of 20 kids to teach however you think is best. How would you break out the classes? What techniques would you teach? Sparring? Forms? Weapons? What do you think would be irresponsible? What would you feel MUST be taught?
 

Grenadier

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The most important thing for the kids, is going to be their training in the fundamental techniques. Repetition will only make it better, as long as the fundamental techniques are taught properly, and the student listens.

Everyone, kids and adults, can benefit from solid repetitions of fundamental techiques, and as a result, the other aspects of the class, such as kumite, kata, etc., will improve. After all, if someone can do their progressive fundamentals in our dojo, then there's no reason why they can't apply those same good basics to their kata, and so forth.

However, teaching kids in such a way takes a special kind of patience, and requires that the instructor have a good idea of how kids think, since it's been a while since many of us were kids. Sometimes, it may require that the instructor make it "fun" for the kids, while still keeping the adults attentive.

I'm still learning how to teach kids... There have been times when I've been elated at seeing the kids learn, and times when I've wanted to scowl and grumble, and hopefully, with more experience, it can become more of the former.
 
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Steve

Steve

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Thanks for the reply. I definitely agree that repitition and an emphasis on fundamentals is a great foundation for training kids.
 

Andrew Green

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Organized Chaos :)

Everything should be fun, everyone should be having fun, they should be working hard, making progress and at the same time feel like what they are doing is closed to recess then math class. Lots of laughing and moving, repetition should be there, but it shouldn't "feel" like repetition.

Of course I'd say pretty much the same thing about a class for adults too :D
 
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Steve

Steve

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So, do you guys think there should be contact? If so, how much?
 

Thesemindz

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In the interest of not derailing the nostalgia of the "What Happened to the Old Ways?" thread, I thought I'd start a new one.

I think I was pretty clear about my position in that thread, but it got me thinking. What do you guys think is GOOD training for kids? I mean, what does it look like? What can we reasonably expect to teach a child? To be clear, I'm not talking about the exceptions... the kids who are mature beyond their years or exceptionally athletic. I'm talking kids. Run of the mill kids. Average 10 year olds.

So, you have a group of 20 kids to teach however you think is best. How would you break out the classes? What techniques would you teach? Sparring? Forms? Weapons? What do you think would be irresponsible? What would you feel MUST be taught?

I approach martial arts from a self defense perspective, so in that vein, I feel that good kids training is just like good adult training. It should stress the techniques they are capable of and address the threats they are likely to face.

I think good kids training should emphasize defending against pedophiles and kidnappers. It should deal with how to identify a predator and how to get help. Children should be taught that they can not hope to overpower an adult, so instead they must learn how to stun their attacker while drawing attention to the situation and finding ways to escape. There are ways that even small children can make themselves harder to abduct and they should be taught that.

As far as actual martial arts technique, basics, stances and simple combinations are useful. Some basic sparring can have value. Grappling is good because they are likely to find themselves in situations where they are being held down or overpowered. Pushes, grabs, and strikes to vulenerable targets should be taught. EVen children can learn how to take advantage of an off balanced opponent and push, trip, or drag him to the ground, giving them a chance to escape.

Lastly, an emphasis on discipline and rational thinking is necessary. Children should learn at an early age that their best tool for self defense is staying calm and thinking logically. Learning how to think and problem solve can keep both kids and adults out of most dangerous situations.


-Rob
 

searcher

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I work my kids class on basics, basics, basics. Once they have that down and they are reasonably fit, I start their SD training. Once they are moving on with that, they get to start on kata. And finally, they get to start sparring once they have a good grasp of the basics. The group I am working on right now need to get a better grip.
 

Daniel Sullivan

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A good kids class should focus on the basics and the correct repetition there of to the best degree that they are capable of, which will depend to some degree on their age.

A good kids class will not pair fourteen year olds with four year olds, but will be subdivided into ages that make sense. Very young kids (four to eight) should not be put in a general kids class.

If the art has forms, forms should be focused on, as the base form will contain the basics that kids can grasp. In my classes, I also focus with focus targets so that the kids can develope the individual strikes one at a time.

Sparring should be kid appropriate. We do WTF sparring, so kids are in lots of padding and can go 'full contact'. The focus that I have with my kids classes is on correct technique, rather than just letting them wail on eachother.

I keep it fun and keep the drills moving and not too long so that the interest level doesn't drop.

I try to present them with fun challenges and to praise them a lot when they do well. But I also keep the discipline firm, and the higher belt kids I am very firm with, admonishing them to set the example. I don't expect them to be pint sized Funakoshis, but to simply behave well and most important, to try hard.

Daniel
 

searcher

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Oh yeah, and getting the kids to follow commands is paramount to getting the class going in the right direction.

Proper persuasion often helps the kids know what they need to do and when.
 

Gordon Nore

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One thought.

I find kids respond very well and very naturally to ukemi. Coincidentally, this year I'm teaching a couple of grade six HPE classes, and we've spent the last two weeks on falls and rolls. There's really no downside to a child learning (1) that falling down is not a big deal, and (2) to do it safely. So I given them something they can use down the road in other physical activities.
 

bluekey88

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Kids classes should be Kids only...not mixed with adults or teens. Classes should be small if at all possible and divded by rank. 99 beginners wroking otgether, intermediates and so on...)

Instruction needs to be fun and creative. Lots of focus on basics and repeitions...but break things up. Instead of doing 100 muiddle punches. do 10, work something else, come back to the punches, do another thing, and so on.

Hold high, but reasonable standards of success (keep in mind the ages of your students...older kids might be required to do a full form no count...a yuounger student at 5 it is reasonable to pass them on tdoing the form to the count...standards can be raised as the student matures).

Intruction needs to be concrete. Rewards and psotiive reinforcement need to be frequent and enthusiastic. a 4-1 ratio of positive statements to corrections is a good one to hit according to research.

Putting things into games does wonders.

here's a good exanmple, from one of our typical warm up for our kids competition team. We can have the kids do basic calisthenics and warm up the traditional way and everyone groans and moans and sandbags the whole time. OR we play "airforce" ...the students start running....5the instructors throw balls at them...if you get hit, you do 5 pushups, second hit, 10, and so one...

we'll go up then down...kids runnign and laughing...doing tons of pushups. We'll go through several different excercises...kids work up a good sweat and get good excercise...laughing the whole time.

Peace,
Erik
 

Aiki Lee

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IMO, Children's training should be focused on character building, bully prevention, and escape from child predators. Training drills can often be diguised as games.

For example in my dojo we have a game called "sumo slam" In this game the children try to push each other out of a ring. This game is used to try and teach kids the importance of aiki movements and a relaxed non-ridgid body.

Kids should be trained in traditional kata and techniques, but they learn them much better if it is presented as a game. Sometimes even the adults learn better that way too!

I think once a kid turns 12 he or she should be mature enough to start the adult ciriculum, but if you have a lot of younger teens it would be best to creat a youth class specifically for jr high aged kids.
 

just2kicku

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Well ? I'm thinking I just don't know......Lol
 
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