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#133827 - 10/18/04 02:31 AM martial games for kids?


next week I am supposed to be taking 3 self defence classes for kids in the school holidays at the local leisure centre as part of the day camp scheme. (8-13 year olds)

does anyone have any ideas for martial games they could do?

Also if any of you teach children what kind of techniques do you get them to practice mainly? what do they enjoy most?

I have taken these classes before but not for some time and need a little prompt with ideas so I can structure a plan for the day.

any ideas welcome- thanks very much, Charlie.

#133828 - 10/18/04 02:59 AM Re: martial games for kids?
still wadowoman Offline
Improved beefier techno-prat

Registered: 04/10/04
Posts: 3420
Loc: Residence:UK- Heart:Md, USA
Hi Charlie,

This is where I disagree with most people that teach children -I don't like games in the dojo (miserable old cow that I am [IMG][/IMG] ).

Are these complete beginners or are they existing students coming for extra training?

#133829 - 10/18/04 05:54 AM Re: martial games for kids?

Yeah I understand what you mean totally! it is all part of the childrens holiday activities, like a day camp thing where they do different activities through out the day- so they are not martial arts students but it is like a taster session for the kids to see what martial arts are like but is classed as self defence- the managers always like some form of 'game' type activity.

so I was planning to do a few techniques then a game then a few techniques and so on...

however if I was doing this full time then it would not be like this-just pure martial training

#133830 - 10/18/04 07:28 AM Re: martial games for kids?
still wadowoman Offline
Improved beefier techno-prat

Registered: 04/10/04
Posts: 3420
Loc: Residence:UK- Heart:Md, USA
Charlie, I am not being difficutlt, or at least not deliberately and most people will disagree with what I am about to say.

My personal feeling is that if you play games on your "taster" days, prospective new students will think that is typical of a martial arts class. You will not be attracting your true target audience.

I think you should do similar stuff to you would if they were starting martial arts for real. If they like it they will join, if they don't then at least they know from the beginning. I think that's better than getting a dozen new students who leave after a couple of weeks because it isn't like the taster day.

It can still be fun, but only to those who would enjoy a regular martial arts class. Kids love pad work for example. They also love jumping kicks and spinning kicks (not as difficult to do if you break it down either). They love partner work and there is lots of stuff they can do together that is not too dangerous.

They will also love it if you get some seniors from your regular class to demonstrate some "cool stuff" and then get the kids doing a simpler version, possibly at half speed.

Sorry that I am not really answering your question about which games to play, these are just my views.

#133831 - 10/18/04 12:28 PM Re: martial games for kids?


I agree, to some degree with wadowoman, however I think that there is a happy medium. This is especially true when it comes to the basics. It is hard to get a young child to focus on the basics (ie - blocks, stances, kicks, etc). They just don't have the attention span that adults do, nor the attention to detail. This is even more evident if you are teaching a teaser class as you mentioned.

Here is what I like to do: show the kids the basic techniques once or twice so that they get a feel for what they need to do. Then quickly review them so that you have an idea if they understand them or not. If they seem to have a grasp, then you can play this simple game - "Sensei Says".

We have all seen the game "Simon Says". Well, this version just carries a martial arts twist and helps the kids connect the martial arts techniques to the names. You could even give prizes to the winners, or whatnot.

I do this a lot, especially for the younger groups that I teach, and they really enjoy it. Most of them are very competitive, and they will be happy to learn and retain the technique if they know they will be in some sort of competition after they have spent a short time learning the technique.

Best of luck.

Happy Training!

#133832 - 10/18/04 04:31 PM Re: martial games for kids?
senseilou Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 10/14/02
Posts: 2082
Loc: Glendale, Az.
I totally agree with Wadowoman, games are for the play ground, Martial Arts is serious. It can be made fun to do, but there can not be a "playground atmosphere" Its like "little Johnnie" jumping on the couch, it was funny when he was 1-2 years old, but if you allow it to continue when he is 4-5 its not so funny anymore. The dojo is a place of study, not to play. You can do fun drills but they have to know they are drills.

To practice my Junior class rolls, I laid candy out on the mat, trick was they had to roll, pick up the candy and hold it till they were on their feet. If they dropped, I got to eat it! It was fun, but they learned how to roll. The lesson has to have a moral, if not, they will think its play time all the time and its hard enough to get them to concentrate at the best of times

#133833 - 10/19/04 01:33 AM Re: martial games for kids?

Thanks Sharon, wisetiger and sensei lou for your ideas and comments, it is appreaciated and I can understand what you are saying-makes a lot of sense, I will put it into effect.

Thanks again

#133834 - 10/19/04 05:10 AM Re: martial games for kids?
Akiba Offline

Registered: 04/11/04
Posts: 365
Loc: London, UK

I've spent several years working during the holdays for kids activity days and so perhaps I can understand where you are coming from.

I too am serious about the fighting arts but children do need laughter and fun. I have two tips for you as I'm not entirely sure whether you are looking to teach self-defence or offer a 'taster' to the martial arts.

(The two are very different)

If teaching self-defence then the kids are not necessarily bothered about learning a structured progressive art. In this case I teach a workshop for kids defence that basically relies on teaching awareness and confidence to responding to stranger approaches. Though its not impossible for a child to deliver a damaging blow to an adult children do not (generally) have the calmness of mind to pull it off. Therefore I use games such as tag (it) and then get them to draw practical lessons from it ie: "we are trying to avoid the dangerous person"... then we might play something like Mr Wolf where the idea is that the closer to danger we get we start preparing to escape. it goes on but you get the idea? At each stage we workshop what we are actually feeling when we are threatened and instead learn to 'use' that
feeling to keep safe.

Now, if you are providing a taster then try this THE KIDS WILL LOVE IT! I notice that you are experienced in karate and ju-jitsu based arts so you should be confident enough. Give them SUMO matches. All you have to do is mark out a ring or matted area approx 7feet
diameter. two enter the ring and on Hajime they attempt to push/pull or lift the opponent out of the ring. If any part of their body other than the soles of their feet touch the ground then they loose a point. I play that a kids needs two points to win the match.

The kids can't get enough of it as its rare these days they get the chance to find their own strengths. Also you'll often find the smaller ones fair better as its easier for them to unbalance the larger kid. This is GREAT for their confidence.

Email me for more detailed rules/setup I've merged EDO styled sumo with Okinawan Sumo (tegumi) which utilises so many of karate’s grappling techniques in a free and non-choreographed way.

Akiba, (see profile for email)


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