Core Skills Program
Seven to nine-year olds are in what most people consider "the golden age." They are proficient in vocabulary and problem-solving skills, yet they do not yet want complete independence from adults. This makes the teacher-student relationship stronger and more important. The quandary we discovered is that although they are highly intelligent, they still lack mastery of core skills and often struggle to keep up with students ages 10 and up. Our solution is to provide them their own program, targeting their adventurous attitude and youthful nature while at the same time building skills that set them up for confidence.
Here's an overview for the stages of development of children ages 7 to 9:
Physically - they may have weak fine motor skills and so proficient technique is not quite there yet. Also, they still tend toward stumbling when their body is in motion so therefore advanced movement is still a little sloppy.
- We expect them to initially struggle with perfect technique in their blocks, strikes, kicks, and stances. We also expect them to initially look sloppy when jumping, spinning, switching feet, etc.
- The goal for our program is to get them to perform technical blocks, strikes, kicks, and stances while applying power. Also, our goal is to get them to apply speed to motion without looking sloppy.
Intellectually- they are extremely bright but typically have a hard time concentrating during distractions.
- We expect them to initially lose focus if there are other, more "interesting" things going on around them.
- The goal for our program is to get them to concentrate on the task at hand despite distractions.
Emotionally- they may love a challenge but may shut down if don't initially succeed. They may also avoid challenge for fear of "failure".
- We expect them to either be excited or afraid to try something new.
- The goal for our program is to help them persevere through challenges, especially if they initially feel like giving up. We will also help them challenge their fears.
Socially- they love to interact with others, especially adults. However, they typically don't like when something is unfair and will be determined to point it out and be heard.
- We expect them to initially interrupt you when they think something is wrong. We also expect them to show great determination when trying to get their point across.
- The goals for our program are to help them learn how to address problems and challenges properly without interfering with the overall flow of the class.
By understanding the stages of development of 7 to 9-year olds, we are able to select 8 age-appropriate skills that make up the Core Skills Program. We cover one skill per class (in order). During each class we run a warm up, deliver a mat chat about the skill, run two or three skill building drills, and then we have them demonstrate the skill to earn their skill stripe. They must earn all eight skill stripes in order to graduate to the next belt level. Once they earn their next belt they will continue to run through all 8 skills earning their skill stripes with more challenging curriculum as they advance to each rank. They graduate to the Extreme Skills Program after the have successfully completed all 9 belt ranks of the Core Skills Program.
Here is an example of what a white belt must demonstrate for each of the 8 skills in order to earn their next belt:
- AGILITY - Switching feet and kicking the pad with their front leg. They must be able to switch feet and kick a pad with their front leg ten times in a row, without making a mistake or looking sloppy, in order to pass.
- TECHNIQUE - Demonstrating the three stage 1 blocks and three stage 1 strikes from memory. They must show the proper chambers and ending position for all of the moves in order to pass.
- COURAGE - Dodging targets that are thrown at them from five steps away. They must be able to dodge five targets in a row in order to pass.
- FLEXIBILITY - Holding middle splits. They must be able to hold the middle splits for 30 seconds without falling in order to pass.
- INTENSITY - Palm strike board break. They must break a board with a palm strike in three tries or less in order to pass.
- PERSEVERANCE - Holding each static leg, arm, abdominal, and core exercise. If they lose technique, they must start over. They must hold each exercise for no less than ten seconds in order to pass.
- SPEED - Demonstrating the 8-move kickboxing combination. They must perform the kickboxing combination with proper technique three times in a row in fifteen seconds or less in order to pass.
- 8. CONCENTRATION - Performing combinations 1 - 5 of the stage 1 form. They must perform each move with proper chambers and execution in order to pass.
As you can see we take Martial Arts training to a whole new level! We use core elements of traditional Martial Arts curriculums to build skills that are appropriate for 7 to 9-year olds. This means that your child will learn and grow at a pace that is not too easy, nor too challenging. The best part is the Core Skills Program will equip your child with skills that they will utilize in every area of their life!