1. Playing Sensei Says
2. Taking numbers up and numbers down (ex: 10 jumping jacks, 20 pushups, 30 mountain climbers…then when you get to a certain number start going down; ex: 40 front kicks, 30 toe touches, 20 front punches.)
3. Turn a certain word into a “key” word: ex: Karate would mean 5, jumping jacks, 5 pushups, and 5 mountain climbers, and Rules would mean 5 sit ups, 5 leg lifts and 5 calf raises. Do basics and stretches. Every few minutes yell out one or both of the word to get the exercises in.
4. Use a medicine ball game in between each exercise.
Try one or all four and let me know how it works out.
I highly recommend that you read my first blog post before picking up here. That way you will have an idea of where I am coming from and going to…..
I need to digress into the word osu for a moment. I love the word, and I love it’s meaning of “I understand, let’s push on.” Here is my dilemma: although I know the proper spelling of the word is “osu”, I love the word spelled oos. I came to karate spelling the word oos, and for sentimental, nostalgic reasons, will continue to spell it that way when I use it in future posts. I hope this isn’t a deal breaker for you, and that my quirkiness will not turn you off to this blog.
This group does not get rank, is non-competitive, does not have to bow at the dojo door, learn Japanese, and does not do push-ups for punishment. I’d like to mention why I don’t have my ‘babies’ do push-ups for punishment: My goal with these youngsters is to make them LOVE exercise. Therefore, using push-ups as punishment is contrary to my goal. It seems pretty logical to me. What do you think? You can get a clear understanding of my view on these little guys from my book, Kicks with Kids, Martial Arts for the Very Young.
Now let’s get down to the business of separating the children into classifications for future discussions (refer to my first post 6-13-09):
When I teach children age 3-5± I call it “pre-karate”. You can see a few in this photo.
Age 6-12± - Begins the pathway to serious training. I call these children mainstream because they are easily capable of understanding the rules and etiquette in the dojo and they are completely capable of being competitive and reaching goals, both personal and rank oriented. Here is a photo with a few kids who have just begun this journey:
Age 10 - 13± with the rank of 3rd Kyu or higher is a tough group to teach. These children have been training for anywhere from 4 to 8 years. They are not qualified to test for black belts yet and are no longer interested in the same training games the little children experience. At some point they will join the adult class and begin rigorously preparing for their black belt test. However, for a few years between reaching brown belt (in my Japanese system) and being mature enough to want to be in the adult class, they require some interesting teaching tactics. I won’t spoil them. Yet, it is important that I treat them like young adults and keep them knowledgeable of everything that karate has to offer them. I have found this to be challenging. I will detail more on this in a future post. Write me if you have any specific ideas you would like to see in that post. In this action shot (hence the blur), one of my 10 year old brown belts spars with an adult student.
I have had a significant number of special needs children travel through my dojo. (I bet you have too!) I keep them with the mainstream group and we find very little adjustments need to be made for everyone to be comfortable. Have you had the same experience?
So, that is how I see the different levels of children I teach. (I also teach adults, and black belts. But, that is another blogspot altogether, don’t you think?) My next few posts will focus on mainstream kids: how to manage assistant instructors, how to change up the routine repetition of basics, kata, and even sparring, how to work the discipline necessary in a dojo while keeping their spirit strong and viable.
That does, however, mentally segue me to one of the axioms I teach my assistant instructors:
In a children’s class, children come first, and technology is second. In an adult class you reverse that. A brief explanation: My goal with the kids is to make them feel stronger, more capable, and more empowered when they leave class than when they arrived. If, in order to achieve that, I have to let a stance correction slide till another lesson, no problem. In reverse, the adult training is all about the technology. We work and improve from the beginning to the end of every lesson. “Feeling better” about yourself (I smile when I type that, it is so silly), is the responsibility of the adult practitioner – not the responsibility of me, the instructor.
On that note, I will say “oos” to all until the next post.
(Don't forget to write me at firstname.lastname@example.org until I figure out how to get comments on this blog.)