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Lupin1
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Joined: 15 Dec 2009
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Location: NH USA
Styles: Isshinryu

PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2017 8:10 pm    Post subject: First Day Experience Reply with quote

Next Tuesday we're going to start our Fall beginners. We've got 6-8 new kids coming in-- all between the ages of 8 and 11. I'm going to be responsible for them.

I know we're going to start out by doing warmups together with the rest of the class. After warmups, they're all mine. I've shadowed/assisted our former head instructor with the beginners for the last few years. His "first night" experience consisted of having them sit down while he went over the history of the program, a bit about the style, the rank system, the "three ks of karate", etc. It took a good 15-20 minutes. After that he really only had time to teach a few basic stances, how to make a fist, and how to punch. Tonight at class, however, our new head instructor told me "just promise me you wont have them sit down and talk to them forever". So I have to revise our "first night" procedure for next week.

I'm curious to hear about how you all structure your first class for new students-- specifically children.
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Wastelander
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Joined: 18 Oct 2010
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Location: Phoenix, AZ
Styles: Shorin-Ryu, Shuri-Ryu, Judo, KishimotoDi

PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2017 9:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Those kids aren't too terribly young, so you can sneak in some talking, but don't lecture--make it fit with what you're doing. This means you can get in little snippets of cultural and style information. Not enough to bore them, but enough to give them an idea if they decide to look into it further. This is generally what we will do. We tell them to bow in, and quickly say why we do that. We take them through simple warm ups and say why we are doing them (make your legs ready to kick, make your arms strong to block, etc.). As far as technique goes, for kids that age, we would usually go through how to stand in a basic "fighting stance," how to do a basic middle "block," how to throw a basic straight punch, and how to throw a basic front kick, and have them do that on pads. Making it a game by moving the pad, or doing "Sensei Says" makes them forget they are learning stuff, which is helpful. This also gives you time to tell them this is kihon, and briefly what that is. From there, it's on to the first kata we teach, which is very basic and uses the punch and block (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KbGFFPu8SxU). That obviously lets you mention what kata are for. From there, we usually show some sort of application for the kata, and if they do well with it, add some sort of gentle takedown. Inevitably, the kids get a kick out of the takedowns. This also lets you introduce the idea of kumite, as well.
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Nidan Melbourne
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Joined: 21 Aug 2013
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Location: Melbourne, Australia
Styles: Goju-Ryu, BJJ, Balintawak Arnis

PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2017 10:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We normally give them the basic infornation that they will need for the first few lessons, like: Hai, So, Kiai, Sensei, Senpai.

Then they join in on the classes warm up, which we normally give an introduction to our Basics; so stances, punches etc.

Then we split up into groups, and depending on class size and instructors; they will either join the lowest white belts in a small group OR will do it with fellow intro students.
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singularity6
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Joined: 26 Jun 2017
Posts: 447
Location: Michigan
Styles: Jidokwan Taekwondo and Hapkido, Yoshokai Aikido, ZNIR Iaido, Kendo

PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2017 5:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Heh, I remember my first day! There was quite a bit of talking... and you could tell it was a script.

I've been rethinking how our first days go in the math classes I teach. Having gone through the first day in TKD has helped with this. Over the years, I've begun to equate orientation sessions in any organization as "fire hose sessions." There's a tendency to blast people with information. Since it comes in such volume, and so fast, very little gets retained. In my classes, at least, I plan to break things up just a little.
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JR 137
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Joined: 10 May 2015
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2017 12:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with what’s been said so far. Physical education teacher talking now ...

Maybe have them come in a few minutes earlier than the usual time. Explain the basic etiquette of bowing, titles, names, etc. Keep it brief. Then go into warmups and so on, all the while reminding them of those things when appropriate. During everything you do during class, a brief explanation of why is also good.

The kids are there to learn karate - they’re there to move. They’re all excited about becoming the next Daniel-San. Making them sit there for 20 minutes and listen to you lecture about history, philosophy, etc. isn’t going to accomplish much. If it bores you to do so, how do you think it feels for them? Furthermore, do they really need to learn that stuff all at once the first night? Do the absolutely need that information before they step foot on the floor? Are you never going to mention it again? There’s things they should know their first night - who to bow to and when and why, how to bow, who’s who, etc. Those things shouldn’t take more than a few minutes, tops.

If earning your white belt requires knowing history and the like, then by all means do it. If not, don’t get carried away with it.
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sensei8
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Joined: 23 Feb 2008
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Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Sun Oct 15, 2017 12:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JR 137 wrote:
I agree with what’s been said so far. Physical education teacher talking now ...

Maybe have them come in a few minutes earlier than the usual time. Explain the basic etiquette of bowing, titles, names, etc. Keep it brief. Then go into warmups and so on, all the while reminding them of those things when appropriate. During everything you do during class, a brief explanation of why is also good.

The kids are there to learn karate - they’re there to move. They’re all excited about becoming the next Daniel-San. Making them sit there for 20 minutes and listen to you lecture about history, philosophy, etc. isn’t going to accomplish much. If it bores you to do so, how do you think it feels for them? Furthermore, do they really need to learn that stuff all at once the first night? Do the absolutely need that information before they step foot on the floor? Are you never going to mention it again? There’s things they should know their first night - who to bow to and when and why, how to bow, who’s who, etc. Those things shouldn’t take more than a few minutes, tops.

If earning your white belt requires knowing history and the like, then by all means do it. If not, don’t get carried away with it.

Solid post!!

I don't allow them to have a moment of pause, especially the younger ones. I keep them moving...doing something; I take their energy and run with it. It is said that the attention span equals the age of the student. An 8 year old has about 8 seconds, and not 8 minutes before that student is bored out of their skull.

If you like to talk and talk and explain to the Nth degree of what you're teaching, that 8 year old has only remembered 8 seconds of what you've said. However, put action in the words, well, now you've got that 8 year old for 8 - 10 minutes.

Aha, after those 8- 10 minutes of activity laced in with verbal instructions, you better shift the gears up, otherwise, boredom takes root once again.

With children, I believe my secret weapon or my secret ingredient is...I become that age group for the entire time of class. 4 year old students, for example, armed with that 4 second attention span and the energy of TNT, I simply become that 4 year old and I play with them. It might take that 4 year old 6 months to one full year before they ever test, but they'll have learned, and they had a blast all at the same time. Even that 4 year old's parents forget the testing cycles, and that's because all are having fun!!

Btw, adult students are not much different!!

No matter the age of the student, they must be challenged at all times!! That's the job of the Sensei...Instructor...CI!! Challenging doesn't mean overwhelm; do that, the battle is lost before it even began.

Especially that very first class; you've that one chance, and only that one chance to make that positive impression. Make it a good one!!



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JR 137
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 15, 2017 7:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sensei8 wrote:
JR 137 wrote:
I agree with what’s been said so far. Physical education teacher talking now ...

Maybe have them come in a few minutes earlier than the usual time. Explain the basic etiquette of bowing, titles, names, etc. Keep it brief. Then go into warmups and so on, all the while reminding them of those things when appropriate. During everything you do during class, a brief explanation of why is also good.

The kids are there to learn karate - they’re there to move. They’re all excited about becoming the next Daniel-San. Making them sit there for 20 minutes and listen to you lecture about history, philosophy, etc. isn’t going to accomplish much. If it bores you to do so, how do you think it feels for them? Furthermore, do they really need to learn that stuff all at once the first night? Do the absolutely need that information before they step foot on the floor? Are you never going to mention it again? There’s things they should know their first night - who to bow to and when and why, how to bow, who’s who, etc. Those things shouldn’t take more than a few minutes, tops.

If earning your white belt requires knowing history and the like, then by all means do it. If not, don’t get carried away with it.

Solid post!!

I don't allow them to have a moment of pause, especially the younger ones. I keep them moving...doing something; I take their energy and run with it. It is said that the attention span equals the age of the student. An 8 year old has about 8 seconds, and not 8 minutes before that student is bored out of their skull.

If you like to talk and talk and explain to the Nth degree of what you're teaching, that 8 year old has only remembered 8 seconds of what you've said. However, put action in the words, well, now you've got that 8 year old for 8 - 10 minutes.

Aha, after those 8- 10 minutes of activity laced in with verbal instructions, you better shift the gears up, otherwise, boredom takes root once again.

With children, I believe my secret weapon or my secret ingredient is...I become that age group for the entire time of class. 4 year old students, for example, armed with that 4 second attention span and the energy of TNT, I simply become that 4 year old and I play with them. It might take that 4 year old 6 months to one full year before they ever test, but they'll have learned, and they had a blast all at the same time. Even that 4 year old's parents forget the testing cycles, and that's because all are having fun!!

Btw, adult students are not much different!!

No matter the age of the student, they must be challenged at all times!! That's the job of the Sensei...Instructor...CI!! Challenging doesn't mean overwhelm; do that, the battle is lost before it even began.

Especially that very first class; you've that one chance, and only that one chance to make that positive impression. Make it a good one!!




Absolutely. I teach 3 year old pre-k physical education. Some of them aren’t quite 3 years old yet either (the cut off is 3 years old by December 1).

You’ve got to mentally bring yourself down to their level in a way. Not just 3 year olds, but all younger aged children. No 8-10 year old wants to hear a 20 minute lecture, and they’ll honestly retain about 3 minutes of it, tops. No parent had a 20 minute lecture in mind when they signed 8 year old Johnny up either. Get them up and moving as soon as you can. They’re not there to learn the history of karate, they’re there to learn to kick and punch. Obviously the history is important, but it’s a marathon, not a sprint to learn it.

A thing I like to do with all ages in physical education is give them a fact or two during the opening, and ask them to answer it during the closing of class. Ask them one more thing you haven’t covered, then have them answer it the following class during the opening. Perhaps even offer a trivial prize to the person who gets it right.

Just some ideas.
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