View Full Version : Teaching Kids

24th October 2001, 00:51
I was looking for some ideas for my kids classes to make them more fun while still learning. Anyone have any drills/games that they use in their classes? Also, how do you address the topic of bullies in your classes? Any thoughts and ideas would be greatly appreciated.

joe yang
26th October 2001, 05:10
On bullies, kids spend a lot of time in school, where they can't defend themselves, it's against school policy. On the other hand, I work in a jail, bullies are my living. I try to coach my kids classes to be very aggressive about eye contact. Without going into a lot of detail, I've learned bullies are big on selecting victims they can stare down, but are easy to stare down in turn. We call it "cop eyes" at work. It is great for sparring, and easy to learn. You can even turn it into a game or two.

1. Walk around and make eye contact.Make the kids look you in the eyes when they are drilling and you are at the head of the class.

2. make the kids make eye contact with their partner, stare them down, while practicing self defense.

3. Line them up in two rows, facing each other. Make them stare each other down, without blinking. Give them a chance, do it several times, till they all win. Kids love this drill as a break from routine.

Incidentally, eye contact is really important, I've seen magicians, mentalist, and carnie workers do amazing things with eye contact. Sneaking an axe kick onto the top of someones head is nothing compared to forcing a card on someone, sneaking it out of the deck and slipping it into your pocket, while you hold their eye contact.

30th October 2001, 05:59
I've found some great ideas at Ron Sell's website www.4kicks.com there's a whole section on teaching tips with hundreds of fun drills and class activities.

1st November 2001, 15:10
I am getting ready to move to a new part of the country. My wife, who has moved ahead of me, already has about 10 kids who want to learn karate when I get there.

I plan on opening a Taijutsu/Karate dojo after a time. The thing that has been on my mind is the bully situation.

Mr. Yang is right when he says that kids are not allowed to defend themselves. Policy is reactive and poorly so in our schools today.

In college self-defense classes I have given, we give our students a sort of routine for judging and dealing with assailants and aggressive individuals. I was thinking that kids really need the same thing, and they need to be given permission to defend themselves when absolutely necessary, particularly teenagers.

My routine would be as follows:

1. Eye contact, Mr. Yang is so correct about this, but the type of eye contact is important. You must not initiate challenging eye contact but meet it when initiated on you.

2. Talk your way out of it first and make distance.

3. They get a maximum of three warnings if they enter your zone of personal safety (subjective). If they put their hands on you, no warnings, but act accordingly.

4. You can defend yourself, but try to use equal force, subduing the assailant is preferable if possible. If not, do what is prudent.

5. The students must understand that they will probably get in trouble for defending themselves due to school policy and will have to deal with that. However, as long as their defense is justified, you as their instructor will respect their decision.

6. This should be discussed with the parents of the children, and your reasoning explained. Parents should be made aware of the very real dangers present in the daily lives of school children in many parts of the country. They should be encouraged to support their children should the child be punished for defending himself or herself.

7. Students uncomfortable with this plan should be helped in forming a plan they are comfortable with. They know the situations they are in at school.

For younger students particularly 4th or 5th grade or younger, an emphasis on grappling self-defense techniques should be made. At this age, it all becomes a wrestling match anyway, and grappling for young children is safer and gives them a way to confidently defend themselves.

School officials would find this plan unacceptable, and this is why it must be made clear to the students that they will probably be punished for their decision, but that the decision was not necessarily wrong.

1st November 2001, 15:49
Regarding making classes fun for kids:

Always work within their attention span. Next time you show the kids a new technique, stand back a little and watch how long it takes for the activity level to drop. It might only take two or three minutes, depending upon the age group of the class. As soon as you see the activity level begin to slow, introduce the next technique. That way you'll keep them interested and they'll enjoy it more.

Regarding games:

Try "Sticks & Stones". Each kid gets a tanbo which they have to tuck into their belt, behind their back. They are not allowed to hold on to their own stick. The object of the game is that they have to take as many sticks as they can off the rest of the class, without losing their own. If they lose their own stick they become a "stone" and have to sit down where they are. If they can reach up and grab someone else's stick, they can tuck it into their belt and join in again. The winner is the one left with the most sticks.

There are a lot of lessons in this game. They learn to keep facing their opponent. They also learn to keep their back to the edge of the mat. The better students soon learn to stay in the corners. Give one student FIVE sticks, and see how long it takes for them to realise that carrying anything valuable makes them a target. Also, the kids who last the longest are those that stand quietly to one side and DON'T try to take anyone else's stick. They get left alone!

Regarding bullies:

Ask the kids to recall if they tease someone else. Many kids don't realise that their idea of harmless teasing is their victim's idea of bullying.