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JR 137
KF Sempai
KF Sempai

Joined: 10 May 2015
Posts: 2359
Location: In the dojo
Styles: Seido Juku

PostPosted: Sat Nov 14, 2015 3:51 pm    Post subject: My daughter's first lesson Reply with quote

I've been looking forward to the day my oldest daughter (2 weeks shy of 5 years old) could take karate with me. My dojo starts at 6 years old (we don't have a tiny tigers, peewee, etc program. Other Seido dojos do, we just don't have the numbers, demand, nor who my CI feels is the right person to run it. Adult students who have children that are 5 have been allowed to let their children try a few classes to see if they're capable of keeping up with the class. Some are ready, others aren't.

My daughter has hung around the dojo a few times while I've taken class. She knows my CI, and she's been very well behaved while there. She's stretched with us once or twice, and has come onto the floor after class. She took TKD as an after school program at her school for a few months, but there wasn't very good instruction going on. It was glorified daycare. I worked with her a lot at home, and she really caught on fast - how to punch (using her fist, and in front of her instead of out to the side) and kick (not using toes, and in front of her rather than somewhere to the side).

Today was her "tryout." I contemplated taking class with her so she wouldn't be shy or nervous (she gets pretty shy around new people), but didn't because I wanted her to do it on her own and not use me as her safety blanket.

She followed the etiquette to start and finish class like she's been there for months. She nailed zenkutsu dachi, mae keagi (front stretch kick) and mae geri (front kick). After that, my CI had an assistant take her over to the side and teach her punching (opposite hand chambering, which I didn't do with her) and high block. She did so well and I'm so proud of her.

After that, they rejoined class and did kihon line drills. Again, did them like she's been there for months.

After that, they did non-contact kumite. Every one there was amazed, especially me. The 2 adults who are also students that were watching class were chuckling and watching her (in a good way). I asked them what they were saying, and they answered "She fights just like you!" She circled while countering, backed every partner into the wall, and didn't know the meaning of no contact. Their words, not mine.

She wasn't out there like some out of control animal by any means. But she had that sense of not covering up and going straight back, and to keep her opponent backing up. One parent laughingly said she's stalking her opponents. She was making contact with punches, but not hard; the way I taught her when "sparring" with me.

I'm so proud of her. Yes, her doing well with the physical techniques is a plus, but I'm mostly proud that she was able to be taught. She paid close attention, was very respectful, and didn't get intimidated by the atmosphere nor process.

Sorry for the long post. Sorry if I sound like a soccer mom saying my kid's the best. She's not. I'm just so proud of the way she handed herself. I've been looking forward to her going for a long time. It was better seeing her do her thing than I imagined it would be. And I had high expectations.
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sensei8
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 14329
Location: Houston, TX
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Sun Nov 15, 2015 4:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Congratulations on her first day on the floor; many to follow!

You've every reason to be proud, and it shows in your post. Gently guide her, and don't press her to much, let the experience envelope her slowly.

Let her know that I'm very proud of her, and I've got her back!!

Train hard...train well!!



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mushybees
Orange Belt
Orange Belt

Joined: 16 Nov 2014
Posts: 196
Location: UK
Styles: Wado ryu

PostPosted: Sun Nov 15, 2015 5:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's awesome. Its great getting your little ones training.

My daughter trains in my club in the under 6s class in which I assist my sensei. She's pretty good but going through a phase of stubbornness which is making her harder to teach. Once she moves in to the mainstream class I think she'll turn the corner.
I watch her train and I see some of my traits in her, epecially in her focus and attention to detail in her kihon. Like yourself it makes me very proud.

Great stuff. Important as well to remember she's just started her own journey, I'm terrified of taking the shine off of training by being critical so I look at these early years as a slow introduction and laying a strong foundation.
Let it be purely fun for now.
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JR 137
KF Sempai
KF Sempai

Joined: 10 May 2015
Posts: 2359
Location: In the dojo
Styles: Seido Juku

PostPosted: Sun Nov 15, 2015 8:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks to both of you. The hardest thing for me was not teaching from my chair. In the beginning of class when the students took turns counting to 20 in Japanese (during warmups/stretching), my CI said "let's all help Kathryn learn how to count in Japanese by counting with her." I wanted to tell him to let her count because she knows how, but I bit my tongue. During sparring, I almost walked over to her and told her not to make contact, but I told myself to let the teachers teach.

It's her journey, not mine. I'll try my best to let her take it where she thinks it should go, but I'be got to guide her journey too. Kind of like reinforcing a tree so it'll grow straight and not fall over.

I meant to post this the first time, but somehow forgot...
In the car on the way home, I asked her if she knew what "no contact" means. She said no. I chuckled and told her I'd show her when we get home.

Mushybees-

Have you considered not teaching when your daughter takes class? Kids usually respond differently to others when it comes to teaching. Teaching anything, really. My daughter gets a bit silly, then whines pretty quickly when she starts to get frustrated when she thinks she can't do something. She gets too hard on herself when my wife or I are teaching her. She's totally different when it's someone else working with her. A lot of kids are like that.
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Bulltahr
Brown Belt
Brown Belt

Joined: 08 Mar 2015
Posts: 609
Location: NEW ZEALAND
Styles: Shotokan, Seido Juku

PostPosted: Sun Nov 15, 2015 11:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's great man, I love training with my little princess also.
Something special about washing 2 gis every week.........
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mushybees
Orange Belt
Orange Belt

Joined: 16 Nov 2014
Posts: 196
Location: UK
Styles: Wado ryu

PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 2015 4:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

JR 137 wrote:
Kind of like reinforcing a tree so it'll grow straight and not fall over.

I like that analogy and I'm going to shamelessly steal it

JR 137 wrote:
Mushybees-

Have you considered not teaching when your daughter takes class? Kids usually respond differently to others when it comes to teaching. Teaching anything, really. My daughter gets a bit silly, then whines pretty quickly when she starts to get frustrated when she thinks she can't do something. She gets too hard on herself when my wife or I are teaching her. She's totally different when it's someone else working with her. A lot of kids are like that.


Yes I did think of that and it may help my daughter it would mean some of the teaching overall would suffer.
Ordinarily the under 6 class is just meant to develop their concentration and prepare them for the mainstream class but a group of 5-6 kids including my daughter have really surprised my sensei by showing some real aptitude for the art. As such they've moved on a little from the games and started doing some real training.
The post summer influx of new starters meant the class went back to drip feed discipline and karate games which is perfectly understandable, the class doesn't make enough money to justify two instructors and its not fair to drip the new kids in the deep end.

Which is where I came in. Even if I just help hold pads and help demonstrate techniques it frees up sensei to give the kids a bit more individual attention and goals.
My daughter only has a few more months of little class then shes being thrown into a bigger pond and my role in her training will diminish. I'm trying to stay hands off outside of the dojo in the hope that when she needs my help she'll be comfortable asking.

Enough about me though! Its nice to hear your daughter is enjoying, I genuinely believe the MA is one of the best gifts we can give kids next to teaching them to read and do maths. Its definitely very rewarding to see them apply themselves in earnest to something you know will positively set them apart from their peers!
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JR 137
KF Sempai
KF Sempai

Joined: 10 May 2015
Posts: 2359
Location: In the dojo
Styles: Seido Juku

PostPosted: Sat Nov 28, 2015 1:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Today was her second class. We had her birthday party last Saturday, and we've all been sick, so we couldn't get back in sooner.

She was thrown into the deep end, so to speak. There was no assistant, and only my CI running class. One other white belt who's about a year or so older, and the rest are a couple years older and a few belts ahead. She didn't receive the almost constant 1 on 1 attention she did last time, but still did quite well. They did a lot of things she's never learned before, and she did quite well - side kick, kiba dachi with techniques, kata, and prearranged self defenses. She did a great job of following the CI's demonstration and following the other white belt next to her.

Just like me, her kicks during kihon line drills leave much to be desired, but they're pretty good during kumite. No idea why I suffer from this; it's not a lack of effort by any means. I guess the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

I asked my CI if she's ready after class, before I pay the upfront costs of the gi, patches, Seido national dues, and 3 months tuition (3 months isn't required for new students, but it's cheaper this way). My CI said he was looking to see if she was focused and mature enough, being that she's actually a year younger than when he lets most students in, and she's great. He said "I can teach any student who's focused and wants to learn, and she's obviously ready." Actually, she's more focused than a lot of the kids twice her age.

My only concern is that she sticks with it and doesn't get frustrated with what she may perceive as a lack of improvement. We don't do the stripes on the belts every few weeks, patches all over the gis for various things (the only patches we have are the kanji on the chest and logo on the sleeve), etc. While there's a kids' program and it can be a lot of fun, it's very traditional and serious. It's not predominantly games with some technique thrown in; it's karate with some games thrown in. When my CI runs class (which Kathryn wants to go to his classes), it's like an adults class at kids' ability levels. I just hope she doesn't get burned out any time soon.
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sensei8
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 14329
Location: Houston, TX
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Sat Nov 28, 2015 1:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great news, for both of you!! The one thing that you share with serious students is this...TIME!! Time on the floor: learning!! Time off the floor: practice!! And if it's allowed, time will address everything and improve everything, like kicks.

When the AHA moments happen, and they will, both of you will be locked in and drawn in those moments, and this takes...guess what...yes...

TIME!!

One class at a time...one practice at a time!! Watching the upper belts is a good thing, and if you do, don't ever dwell on..."I have to learn to do that?" because guess what...you and your daughter are learning things already or have learnt things already that you said that very same thing to yourself while in class...but...you did it, and you're learning it and refining it.

If I might suggest...read up about Shu Ha Ri!!



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JR 137
KF Sempai
KF Sempai

Joined: 10 May 2015
Posts: 2359
Location: In the dojo
Styles: Seido Juku

PostPosted: Sun Nov 29, 2015 10:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I read up a bit on Shu Ha Ri as you suggested (I've seen you reference it many times before). Makes total sense. I've been doing that in the MA and in life without knowing it or thinking about it. It reminds me of photography - learn and practice the rules of photography, get good at them, then learn when and how to break them.

Time is the most valuable thing any of us have. Sometimes we forget how valuable it truly is until we run out of it. My favorite thing in the world is spending time with my wife and daughters. There's never enough time.

It's funny you bring up not looking at senior students and thinking 'how am I ever going to do that,' as that just happened last week. Some sandans were working on some advanced yakusoku kumite while a partner and I were learning one for our rank. I looked over and thought 'how am I ever going to do that if I can't even get this?' On the way home, I remembered how difficult what I Pinan 5 looked when I was a white belt and thinking the same thing. Time and experience are what make what seems so difficult today become easy and second nature down the road. That's why we learn to read the alphabet before reading Shakespeare.

Kathryn is a great learner and athlete. She'll get it. I have zero doubts about anything she sets her mind to. She just needs work on the little things I didn't teacher - chambering punches, mawate, yoi, noare, etc.
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Spartacus Maximus
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 01 Jun 2014
Posts: 1714

Styles: Shorin ryu

PostPosted: Sun Nov 29, 2015 6:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As a parent nothing there is nothing quite like being able to share a lifelong endeavour with one's son or daughter. The longer the child enjoys practising, the longer she will pursue it. In the beginning it is much more important to communicate how fun, interesting and beneficial the martial arts are than the actual technical aspects.

Children are much too immature physically and mentally to grasp anything more complex than gross motor skills and basic coordination. Playing and having fun on the other hand, is understood right away.
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