Most styles of martial arts are rooted in tradition and have been taught the same way for generations. And while tradition is vital to keeping the art preserved, the way it is taught in today’s modern world isn’t always as effective. As times change and as we become more educated, it’s our responsibility to adjust to the needs of the people we serve. This is especially true when teaching children.
Traditional martial arts is taught as a set of techniques that progressively get harder, or build on each other as each new level is attained. Following a traditional method, these techniques are the same for a 3-year-old as they are for a 13-year-old – yet the abilities of these two ages are completely different. Because of this, most children often become frustrated and quit because they can’t meet the expectations of the curriculum. In addition, the instructors become frustrated because they don’t understand why the children aren’t performing the techniques correctly or performing in a sloppy manner.
This technique-based approach of martial arts isn’t easy when you have a child that has low muscle tone, poor core strength, and has only had a few years of language development. It makes it very difficult for children at different ages to grasp the techniques and so the “confidence” that is trying to be built doesn’t stick. A more successful approach is what we refer to as skills-based training.
With a skills-based approach to martial arts training, students are in classes that were created for their specific stage of development. For example, an instructor is teaching a middle punch and the 3-year-old student can’t perform it the way the instructor would like. The child can’t hold the punch up for any length of time and the instructor doesn’t understand why this is. In our SKILLZ program, the instructor has been trained on the stages of development and understands that a child at this age doesn’t have the muscle tone yet to be able to hold the punch out. Therefore, specific skills-based drills are used to develop this ability.
Since each age group is given a unique set of skills to work on, designed especially for their stage of development, the child’s overall growth is more effective in class. And this doesn’t just include physical advancements but also intellectual, social, and emotional progress. But the biggest benefit of this type of training is that these skills can help children in school, at home, and in other sports as well!
When we understand each child’s stage of development, we can then begin to teach them and reach them where they are, which helps us guide them to where we want them to be. Utilizing a skills-based approach to training children in martial arts is key. And by doing this, we are setting them up for success in all areas of their life.
To learn more about our child development program that utilizes dynamic martial arts and cutting-edge brain training as the vehicle for maximum growth or to get your child started click the button below.