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Blue Belt
Blue Belt

Joined: 09 Feb 2016
Posts: 259
Location: It varies
Styles: Matsubayashi Shorin Ryu

PostPosted: Mon Feb 21, 2022 9:25 pm    Post subject: Help with kids classes? Reply with quote

Hey everyone!

So I work for a franchise called Premier Martial Arts. I知 somewhat new, so I知 finding out how challenging it can be to run kids karate classes, particularly ages 4-7. To be specific, 4 and 5 year olds, who will just flop on the floor and randomly refuse to do anything I tell them.

Here痴 my original class structure:
- line up/bow/student creed
- basic techniques in horse stance or guard stance
- obstacle courses
- basic techniques, if they were refusing to do them earlier
- bow out

I figured I could tire them out with obstacle courses and then review some kihon, but some of the kids are straight up refusing to listen to me - even during the obstacle courses! Tonight, class ended with the student (private lesson) just running away from me and throwing around the pads that I had assembled for the obstacle courses. Earlier, he completely destroyed the whole course (which was actually kinda funny) so I had to set everything back up while he continued to run around all crazy monkey like.

I知 not sure how to get them to focus. I知 not sure what else to do with them besides obstacle courses, because that seems to be the only way they値l *somewhat* listen to me. Any advice will be SO appreciated!
Instagram: @srkdi_pgh
Shorin Ryu Karate Do International - Pittsburgh (SRKDI - PGH)
- Matsubayashi Shorin Ryu, Nidan
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KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 18 Oct 2010
Posts: 2733
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Styles: Shorin-Ryu, Shuri-Ryu, Judo, KishimotoDi

PostPosted: Tue Feb 22, 2022 8:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Put a "game" at the end, and tell them they won't get to play it if they misbehave. Popular ones I've used, in the past, have been "Bulldog" (basically freeze tag, but the person who is It is on all fours, and to be unfrozen, someone has to kick your outstretched hand), "Artillery" (throw pads at them that they have to punch out of the air), "Bunny Rabbit Sumo" (they squat all the way down and can only push on each others' hands to knock each other over), and "Lightsaber Duels" (point fighting with Chanbara swords).

I would usually put the obstacle course at the very beginning, as a warm up. And try to have them doing partnered basics more than solo basics, because then they have to help each other.

You can also just sit the offending students out off to the side, and explain to their parents that they are being disruptive and disrespectful, if it comes down to it. Martial arts can help build discipline, but the parents need to support it, too.
Kishimoto-Di | 2014-Present | Sensei: Ulf Karlsson
Shorin-Ryu/Shinkoten Karate | 2010-Present: Yondan, Renshi | Sensei: Richard Poage (RIP), Jeff Allred (RIP)
Shuri-Ryu | 2006-2010: Sankyu | Sensei: Joey Johnston, Joe Walker (RIP)
Judo | 2007-2010: Gokyu | Sensei: Joe Walker (RIP), Ramon Rivera (RIP), Adrian Rivera
Illinois Practical Karate | International Neoclassical Karate Kobudo Society
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Brown Belt
Brown Belt

Joined: 13 Nov 2006
Posts: 707
Location: UK
Styles: Shotokan, IJR Karate, Iaido, Kobudo

PostPosted: Tue Feb 22, 2022 8:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Find a way to work the basics into your obstacle courses. Maybe have a small obstacle set up which leads to a line on the floor, they need to complete the obstacle, stand on the line (perhaps in horse stance) and complete a set of 10 punches for example. Then have to complete the obstacle course again on the way back. Mix up your obstacle course and choice of technique at the end to keep mixing it up.

But if you have discovered something they enjoy, in this case the obstacle course, find a way of including the basics that you want them to learn...
Ashley Aldworth

Train together, Learn together, Succeed together...
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KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 16419
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Tue Feb 22, 2022 9:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

4-5 years old have the attention span capacity of 4-5 seconds. Students 45 years old have the capacity of learning the MA; but it'll take them some time to achieve, even with a very patient CI.

Those ages are some of my most favorite classes because they're not preoccupied on the floor like much older student can be. They love the gi and all of the things that we adults don't care about.

I believe that your kids' class has the makings of a great class structure. Change things up often so that they don't lose complete interest. Introduce balls of different sizes, which can be used to engage their kicking mechanics and their arm movement mechanics.

One of the biggest things that I've done with students of this age is to just PLAY WITH THEM!! That's what I do. I just play with them BUT with the theme of the MA basics.

Biggest advice I'd give is:

*Keep the classes short
*Don't bore them especially with a lot of blah blah blah

Not all black belts can teach, and in this topic, not all black belts can teach kids!!

With kids this young, class structure has to have a ton of flexibility of change. Remember the attention span rule at all times. Oh yeah, one more thing, teach the Dojo Kum but don't be way too overly concerned with the Dojo Kun at all because they don't care about that one way or another...they just want to play and have fun.... THEIR JUST KIDS!!

**Proof is on the floor!!!
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Orange Belt
Orange Belt

Joined: 12 Oct 2021
Posts: 162

Styles: Ryusei-ha Ryukyu Kempo Karate-jutsu

PostPosted: Tue Feb 22, 2022 10:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have absolutely no suggestions to you other than to wish you the best of luck with this!

I am, however, reminded yet again why it is that I refuse to teach children! LOL!

Again, best of luck!
For me bujutsu is not a set of techniques, but a state of the body. Once the principles are integrated, the techniques surge spontaneously because the body is capable of adapting instantaneously.
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KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 31 Mar 2006
Posts: 30188
Location: Hays, KS
Styles: Taekwondo, Combat Hapkido, Aikido, GRACIE, Police Krav Maga, SPEAR

PostPosted: Tue Feb 22, 2022 10:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good suggestions above so far. You want to keep changing things up about every 6-7 minutes or so. As Bob mentioned, they have a short attention span, so moving through the drills quickly and efficiently is key. Anything that is going to take a whole lot of demonstration and explanation is probably going to lose them.

This case you have here sounds like that of a kid who just doesn't want to listen, and wants run over you. Sit the kid out until he's ready to behave properly and do as he's asked. Make him clean up his own messes. If the parents don't like it, and won't back you up, then it's time for them to find a different activity. Usually, I find parents to be most helpful in reinforcing the behavior you are trying for, so I'd start with that, first.

Wastelander's idea of making the game and incentive, and sitting someone out of it if necessary, is a good one. Another approach to this is to start your class off as normal, but have some games in mind to play in the spur of the moment. If a particularly problematic student chooses to act out during your drilling sessions, sit him/her out, and then proceed with one of your quick games directly after that. He/she misses that game, and realizes quickly that acting out is costly.

Best of luck moving forward here! Kids can be a challenge, but once you get them to fall in line with your program, it is very rewarding.
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