There’s a lot of stuff out there concerning kids and Martial Arts training. I’ve only recently started teaching my kids class, but I’m enjoying it more and more with time.
When I started I wanted to make sure that I didn’t teach them bad movement skills. Often with karate training people end up moving like robots, this is through overuse of three-step sparring and the like. The difference in movement efficiency when kids do that sort of training compared to when they run around freely in play is marked and frankly scary.
Why on earth would a teacher/coach/sensei want to replace movement efficiency with a vastly inferior model? I can see no reason. Please, feel free to let me know via comment if anyone can.
One of my first aims was to shape inherent efficient movement skills into something martial. We ‘play’ Zombies and the ‘bashing game’. These are adaptions of adult drills that get the kids moving around one or more opponents. In simple terms they run around avoiding other kids. I give them tips and they improve. They love the drills, there’s some competition and a lot of fitness work. It’s a winner.
Another aim was to use similar ‘play’ methods to teach striking skills. I get them to throw a ball against the wall and then adapt the throwing technique into the striking technique. This is a method Steve Morris uses, and it is very effective. I also use it with adults, always with great success.
These kids can hit hard, no question about it. Oddly enough they enjoy this too, especially when I let them hit me! I always have them hitting pads and bags straight away, it can take a while for them to get used to the contact but they get there.
One outcome of this playful learning is that the lessons are noisy and a little anarchic. No straight lines, lots of belts falling off and then discarded, running around. That’s not to say that discipline goes out of the window, misbehaviour and silliness gets a visit to star jump corner (burpees with a star shaped jump). Increasing numbers of forfeit star jumps are then ‘awarded’.
The photo taken after yesterdays class with three young achievers illustrates the lack of emphasis on a tidy gi……..