photo Sarina Rao
1. Stay and watch class! We know with busy schedule this can be challenging but when a child looks over and sees their Mom, Dad or a caretaker watching their class it makes a huge difference! You don’t have to stay for every class. Maybe plan to arrive early for pick up and really observe their skills? They are working very hard on the mat and they want you to see their hard work and dedication.
2. Rephrase the process. If you tell a child that they “have to” this will most certainly lead to resistance. Rather rephrase the process as “you deserve this”, it goes a long way. If a child knows that they deserve to know how to defend themselves and they deserve to have more focus it will sit better than feeling that the training is obligatory.
3. Don’t Complain about bringing your child to class. Every child is going to have an afternoon where they do not want to come to class or they are taking their sweet time getting ready to go. Resist the temptation to lose your temper and give them a long list of all the things that you need to get done that day. If you make coming to class stressful then your child will start to link that stressful feeling to the training – even if they enjoy the training once at the dojo. Easier said than done! We can all practice being relaxed during the transitions in our lives.
4. Practice with your child or train yourself: Ask your child to show you their warm up or some of their Martial Arts skills. This is a great way to understand what your child is working on and maybe you can have some fun too! To really reinforce the importance of martial arts is to train yourself. This sets the tone that the training is important to you and you will make time to train no matter how busy life gets.
5. PRAISE- PRAISE – PRAISE: Resist the temptation to point out everything your child did wrong during the class. Instructors are careful not to over-correct because it will overwhelm the student. Plus it is no fun to be corrected all the time. Repetition is the mother of skill. In time skills fall into place. Try to find something specific that your child did well in class and praise them. We all need more praise!
6.Get friends and family members involved: Invite your child’s friends to try a class. If your child is playing video games after school or in the middle of a play date, it can be challenging to stop and switch gears. Get their friends involved and make the training their play date.
7. Repetition is the Mother of Skill. Sometimes students complain that they do some techniques over and over. We do our best to keep some elements of the class new & exciting but there is no way around repetition as it is the only way to gain mastery over a skill. In this case, we remind that students that the Masters Love the Basics. Anyone who is a master has repeated a skill thousands of time until it becomes part of their body so they can act without thinking. In the words of Bruce Lee “I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.”
8. Martial Arts training is a Life – Skill. There will never be a time in your life when you will not benefit from self – defense skills, increased focus and discipline. Many sports are fun but martial arts training can develop skills that will last a lifetime. At Sun Dojo we meet adults all the time who say that the martial arts training they did as kids helped them tremendously in their adult lives.