kids in FMA
What do you guys think of kids in FMA? What would you teach them? I started this post due to the thread where a guy was asking about a MA class for his 7 year old son. I wanted to suggest FMA because I always offer it as a suggestion to guys interested in MA but might not have heard of FMA. However, I wasn't sure I should suggest just anyone try it out with their kid especially given the thread i'm referring to the guys kid had a history of "bonking" other kids on the head.
Personally, my daughter has dabbled with it but she's not incredibly interested. Not to mention I know my daughter and her temperment. I my case she did some stick and knife work with another instructors daughter in an adult class off to the side. I've also paired off with kids (12-14 year olds) in class on occasion and they seem to learn quickly and I don't mind teaching them.
However, I'm not sure how I feel about a weapons based art for all kids. On one hand if you focus on stick work with a kid you can teach them the movements. In day to day and school life when the kid doesn't have a stick they won't be thinking about all the other items that can be used in the sticks place. Later as they mature you can teach them knife applications and the more combative applications.
At the end of they day of course parents will have to use their judgement but I think weapons training takes special consideration. What do you guys think? How young should they start?
I used to teach out of my home, so my kids took in weapons work with mother's milk. The rules they were given were:
1) no touching the metal weapons
2) no attacking someone who is not armed
This second rule led to students having a toddler walk up to them with two sticks. As soon as that adult took the stick, he or she immediately started blocking, because the kids were merciless.
If I were to teach kids FMA, there would be almost no aliveness when it comes to weapons. Can they be talented athletes? Absolutely. Do they have a firm grasp on consequences of their actions? Hell no, and neither do a lot of adults.
It could be done, but the teacher better be the kind who runs a tight ship - no messing around.
My teacher has taught a few kids. One is an adult training partner's son. Very mature, and they do other martial arts together too. Another partner's younger sister (who's in highschool) trained for a while but it didn't really take. And his grandson, who he sometime teaches in a more playlike fashion using martial arts training devices.
I teach my kids. One is 9 and the other is 7. I let them swing sticks occasionally but only against air. I don't let them spar with each other, but I let them swing them against me. They mostly focus on footwork. And I do some focus mits with them. They are getting pretty good at movement. This seems like a good idea to me, because it helps them to be better with coordination and distancing against another person.
Funny thing though is that they both have nerf swords. For some reason every friend or family I have seems to think my kids need new swords for every holiday! So every time they grab them and start running around the house fighting each other, I stop them and make them use proper footwork, roofblocks, and distancing. Sometimes I join in. This usually only lasts about 5 minutes until they ditch the swords and start building a fort or fighting "Halo" guys.
If I were going to do a kids class, it would focus mostly on footwork and distancing.
Combatives training log.
Gezere: paraphrase from Bas Rutten, Never escalate the level of violence in fight you are losing. :D
kettlebell workouts give you “cardio
without the dishonour of aerobics”.
I think the distancing and footwork are great aspects of FMA you can teach a kid to focus on. So far seems like everyone agrees there's nothing wrong with teaching kids FMA, i think in small numbers it would be fine. I can't imagine a large class of 20 it more kidsl like we see in tkd going well. Of course if you left out the sticks and did footwork drills a large group might go just like any other kids class.
When I taught kung fu, I did a kids class once a week. The last 10 minutes we'd usually do some kind of game that used some martial arts concepts. For young kids just learning the names of stuff and doing reps, there was a game called "Sifu says", just like Simon Says but with kung fu movements. There was one where I'd take a blocker bat, and swing it at their head or feet, and they'd have to jump or duck to avoid it, or if I swung it straight down they'd have to "get off the X", and each kid would get to see how many swings they could avoid before I got them (if a kid was too good I'd use feints and other trickery). Or, we'd stand in horse stances and play hot potato with a medicine ball. One game that I had kids do with each other as a drill is you place a kicking shield between 2 kids, and one has to circle around it (with proper footwork) and try to touch the partner's closest shoulder, and the other guy circles the other way to avoid them, like circular tag. They quickly learn to rapidly switch directions and to feint with studder steps etc. This teaches how to circle without crossing the feet or turning away, and how to be mobile to quickly switch from one direction to the other.
I think that a sense of play should be a part of martial arts with very few exceptions, perhaps even more so as an adult. A while back I said that I train eskrima to smuggle childhood's imaginary swordfighting into adulthood.
I have been running a kids kali class since October, I taught kids as a kenpo instructor for years, so this isn't my first rodeo with regard to youth instruction. I only have two kids in the class right now, both 10, for both this is their first martial art.
Classes start with a basic warmup of the body and particularly the arms and wrists, using combinations of footwork and basic striking patterns as part of the warmup. The actual class is divided into rough 15 minute blocks, there are only three of us, so I am pretty flexible, but the 15 minutes is more about their attention span. The pattern is usually 15 minute warmup, 15 minute block 1, 15 minute sparring, 15 minute block 2. Right now my blocks are basically single stick and double stick.
We do alot of "play," a focus section on footwork often ends with me running around the room with a padded stick forcing them to zone out or duck, the last time I think I was more winded than they were. :D
I have been impressed with the speed with which they pick up material, the little sponges just suck up the material. Both of their fathers are in my adult class, and both will comment on how easily the kids picked up material that they struggled with. One of the kids started with very awkward footwork, he had some sort of previous injury that impacted his walking and running habits, and it has been nice to see how the focus on footwork has already cleaned up many of those awkward habits. I don't think I would go below 10, even though my 7 year old is absolutely itching to join, he has been "playing" with me since he could pick up a stick and really really wants to have a go with the "big kids."
Good call on the padded stick ;-)
Originally Posted by blindside
I used to teach kids classes, and one game we had was called Stick of Death (said with as much faux drama as possible) where yeah, they had to dodge the stick. A note: sometimes a kid will be in dream-land and is not looking at the stick, but past it. Also, please note head-wounds bleed a lot.
Master Apollo Ladra had a program called Kai 4 Kids. It is a good program and offers safe and fun instruction. Cert programs are available. I haven't done it but it sounded great when we interviewed Master Ladra
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