View Full Version : Teaching Children

Tim Chilcott
10th March 2002, 13:00
In regard to teaching children, what do you guys think is a good age to start accepting students? I teach a small karate class that is mixed with children and adults. I find this challenging because the attention span of children is not as long as adults, yet I don't want the adults to feel like they are in a kiddie class by slowing down the pace. Pretty much we stick to a traditional training regimen in a relaxed atmosphere. If I had the time I would teach a children's class seperate from the adults, but unfortunately I do not have the time to do so. Another challenge is in the area of rank and promotions between children and adults. Typically, children promote at a slower rate than adults in our association, especially since a student has to be at least 16 years old to promote to Shodan. To keep kids interested we add extra stripes to the belt of all ranks below 6 kyu. 6 kyu and above promote like the adults. Some students may become discouraged when an adult of equal time in training promotes ahead of them. My sensei would reply to this by saying to the kid, could you beat this guy up? Sensei would also stress to the young students that maturity and minimium age requirements also play a part in promotions as well as ability and a good attitude toward training. This explanation I also use since it is the best I have, considering one can't go beyond what they have been taught. I have seen children become fine adult martial artists, so I believe there is a benefit to them in the dojo. I will admit sometimes I cringe a little bit when a new youngster starts, at least until they show promise, then I lighten up some. I'm very serious about training consistantly and not letting karate class be viewed as another time for amusement and play or as a cheap babysitting service. We are all in it because we want to be, but we all must bear in mind the seriousness of our training and what it is in it's basic element, a way of self defense. I hope I'm not rehashing an old thread too much, I just want different viewpoints to reference and increase my scope of awareness and knowledge.

Yours in the Way,
Tim Chilcott:karatekid

David T Anderson
10th March 2002, 18:03
There are some young kids [ie. pre-teens] that come to my Aikido class, and I'm somewhat ashamed to say that I wish they wouldn't, although mostly they come with their parents who also attend class. My feeling is that they aren't really benefiting from the class, which is aimed at adults, and certainly the adult members of the class don't learn much from the kids.

I'm not against the idea of MA classes for kids, but at the same time I think the classes have to be designed and structured _for_ kids to be valuable to them. Most kids don't have the maturiity of attitude or the determination to spend hours learning a lot of uncomfortable and strenuous stuff. It would be instructive to talk to a kids' sports coach and see how they make things worthwhile for their little charges....

Kevin Meisner
11th March 2002, 03:10
We separated our younger children from the adults class a couple years ago. It has worked out very well, when the children turn 11 or 12 they can transition into the adults class. We also maintain separate belt systems for the children and adults with more belts for kids. Instead of teaching one class on class nights I teach 2 classes back-to-back now. The kids class is only 45 minutes, has not taken up that much more time for what it has been worth.

Kevin Meisner

Steve Williams
11th March 2002, 22:18
I also teach a kids and an adults class.

Also teach them back-to-back. 1 hour kids, then 2 hours adults,some of the older kids stay to train in the adult class (age 15+) otherwise keep them seperate.

You said it yourself, the attention span is different (for the majority) also certain techniques/ moves should not be done by children (in view of their still-developing joints/ bones).

BTW I teach from 5 to 14 years old in the kids class, all together for basics/kihon split up the grades/ ages for technical/ pairs training..... seems to work well for us.

Couple of pics here..... http://www.bskf.org/juniorinstructors.html (even a pic of me :eek: ;) )