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DWx
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 17 Jan 2007
Posts: 6148
Location: UK
Styles: Tae Kwon Do & Yang family Tai Chi

PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2019 7:12 am    Post subject: Does anyone run a Little Kickers type program? Reply with quote

Does anyone here run a Little Kickers type program for younger students? For students who are not ready to learn your main syllabus but could benefit from a reduced curriculum to promote coordination, balance etc.

I have a few friends running this type of class. Usually they are much shorter than normal classes, up to 45 mins in total and whilst they have a few basic kicks and punches, most of the class is practising coordination, agility and strength games. The children that do these classes then feed into the main classes later one.

Does anyone on KF have any experience with this type of class? What do you teach? How are the classes set up?
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sensei8
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 14401
Location: Houston, TX
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2019 9:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Does anyone on KF have any experience with this type of class?

I've been teaching for a very long time, ever since my dojo opened in 1977; kids of the very young age have always been a staple at both the Hombu and my dojo.

Quote:
What do you teach?

Shindokan Saitou-ryu!! If you mean, what do I teach kids that very young and tender age?? Shindokan Saitou-ryu!! But the emphasiks is NOT Shindokan, nor is it ever mentioned to them. Why?? They don't care one way or another. Protocol and manners and etiquette and so on and so forth is taught alongside with Shindokan. They get a uniform; kids love that whole thing with the patches and belt and all.

Do they learn how to defend themselves?? That's not the emphasis because who in the world can they defend against except another tiny tot; surely not a bigger kid and certainly not a determined adult. Sure we do teach Shindokan, but in a really laid back way so as not to scare them in any way.

Quote:
How are the classes set up?

Play!!

That's what I do....that's what all of the instructors do...WE PLAY WITH THEM!! Running, jumping and hopping, all sizes of balls to toss around, obstacle courses, to name just a few....and then some; whatever our imagination can come up with.

My wife has always accused me of being a very big kid, and I suppose that I am; teaching them at that age is my favorite because I love to play too!! Moms seem to love how I do Play with them while at the same time teaching a lot of things other than Shindokan. Knock Sensei down is the most favorite game for them at that age because they've no preconceived notion of evilness in them. Whereas the older kids, just don't want to knock Sensei down, no, they want to SMASH Sensei, in which you can see that "KILL SENSEI" in their eyes



Classes last no longer than 30 minutes:

5 minute stretching/warm-up
20 minutes of PLAY
5 minutes of cool down

We talk to them while they Play Learn, but we never engage in a long drawn out blah blah session because experts say that kids have the attention span that's equal to their age: a 4 years old MIGHT pay attention for 4 minutes, but it's been my experience that that 4 minutes is pushing ones luck.

Constant activities; never, what we call, dry-air!! Once you lose them, it's over...class is over for that kid; if the kid wants mom/dad, we just let them go whenever they want.

When we sneak in Shindokan, it's in a game/play time without them ever knowing that they're learning Shindokan. When the kid gets older and starts connecting the dots, they have their very first AHA moment; love to witness that whenever it does happen...touches my heart every time!!!




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bushido_man96
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 31 Mar 2006
Posts: 27757
Location: Hays, KS
Styles: Taekwondo, Combat Hapkido, Aikido, GRACIE

PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2019 12:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Our school does what called a "Little Lions" program, which is very much what you are referring to, Danielle.

We have a series of stripes we give out over the course of a two month cycle, all based on character traits and physical skills: balance, coordination, listening, focus, teamwork, etc. We have two 30 minute classes per week for them, and at the end of the two month cycle, they have a testing. We run a separate belt system for these classes, as well. Its really a great way to feed kids into the regular classes, and is a big part of how our school actually keeps going.
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DWx
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 17 Jan 2007
Posts: 6148
Location: UK
Styles: Tae Kwon Do & Yang family Tai Chi

PostPosted: Thu Mar 14, 2019 4:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the responses guys. It's something I eventually want to do when I have more time. I have some 4 year olds and 5 years in my classes and it is becoming clear that they just can't cope with the main syllabus. They enjoy the classes but for progression I'd love to be able to give them some different belts or badges to keep them going.

What's the youngest age you take for these programs?
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bushido_man96
KF Sensei
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Joined: 31 Mar 2006
Posts: 27757
Location: Hays, KS
Styles: Taekwondo, Combat Hapkido, Aikido, GRACIE

PostPosted: Thu Mar 14, 2019 7:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We typically don't start anyone under the age of 6, but each case is different, and I think each child should be evaluated based on how well they pick up and are able to participate in the class. Some six year olds aren't up to the challenge, and some four year olds are.

As a baseline, starting around age six works out pretty well for us.
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Lupin1
KF Sempai
KF Sempai

Joined: 15 Dec 2009
Posts: 1603
Location: NH USA
Styles: Isshinryu

PostPosted: Fri Mar 15, 2019 5:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think it depends on the goals of your school. I know some people are against it because it's not "real" karate and just play, but depending on your goals, I don't think that's a bad thing.

At my school we don't accept anyone under 2nd grade and most of the kids we start are in 3rd grade or higher. But we run out of a Boys and Girl Club, which doesn't accept children until Kindergarten, and we start groups together-- usually in the fall. So we have kids apply to the program and then our head instructor, who works for the club and knows all the kids, hand picks the ones he thinks would behave and have a good attitude. We also only have one class, so we can't do multiple classes for different age levels.

But at a school that's dedicated to karate and has multiple class times every week and has room for every student who wants to participate, I'm all for a program for young children. Sure, it's not "real karate", but it's a developmentally appropriate program to help children develop a strong foundation on which they can advance to "real karate". Even if it just looks like play, play is a vital part of development in children that age and sadly, in today's world of plopping small kids in front of TVs and tablets, kids aren't getting enough of the movement play that develops strong coordination and motor skills. I think providing a program to give them a place to do that through guided play is extremely valuable.
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bushido_man96
KF Sensei
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Joined: 31 Mar 2006
Posts: 27757
Location: Hays, KS
Styles: Taekwondo, Combat Hapkido, Aikido, GRACIE

PostPosted: Mon Mar 25, 2019 12:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great points above, Devin. Our Little Lions program really helps to float the rest of the school, which benefits all the adolescents and adults that train with us in the traditional classes. It can really be a boon to a school.
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Spartacus Maximus
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 01 Jun 2014
Posts: 1723

Styles: Shorin ryu

PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2019 7:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Those who are against the idea of children’s programmes have a point. Such programmes are not the real system/martial art. This however, is besides the fact that children’s martial arts programmes are less about teaching martial and more about giving them the necessary physical skills to prepare them to learn the real martial art later on when their physical and mental development makes it possible to learn real martial art.
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Wastelander
KF Sensei
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Joined: 18 Oct 2010
Posts: 2431
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Styles: Shorin-Ryu, Shuri-Ryu, Judo, KishimotoDi

PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2019 8:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

We have a "Little Warriors" class for the 3-5 year olds, although once they are 6, they usually move to our regular youth classes. The Little Warriors class has a reduced curriculum, where they just work a few basics, our very first Kihon Kata (basically just punches going forward, and outward middle "blocks" going backward), and one self defense technique, and it's all structured in a way that makes it playful. We're going to practice kicks, but you have to balance a pad on your head! We're going to practice blocks, but sometimes I'm going to swing this blocker at your legs and you have to jump over it! You are going to break out of this grip and race each other to that punching bag! That kind of thing.
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The Pred
Member of the Month
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Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 331

Styles: Goju Ryu

PostPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2019 7:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No little kicker program. When I teach little kids, I teach 5-6 very basic moves, then have them either hit pads or myself.
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