Early SKILLZ for 3-4 Year Olds

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Three to four year olds love physical activity and anything involving play. They have a rich imagination and strong desire to be less dependent on their usual caregivers. The problem we discovered is that many children this age have a hard time with structure in a group environment like what is commonly found in most Martial Arts schools. The solution we found is to provide them with their own program that targets their stage of development in a manner that keeps them entertained while at the same time building skills that set them up for success. With that said, a structured program introducing early skill-based training in Martial Arts has proven to be very successful.

 

Here’s an overview for the stages of development of children ages 3 and 4:

  • Physically– they typically have low tone and poor hand-eye-coordination.
    • We expect them initially to drop their arms when punching and fall when kicking or jumping. We also expect them to have no concept of spatial awareness, therefore they will drop things that are thrown to them and bump into people and obstacles often.
    • The goal for our program is to get them to punch without dropping their arms; kick without falling; jump without falling; and catch objects thrown from various directions and distances.
  • Intellectually– they typically have a limited vocabulary therefore learning is normally limited to visual and kinesthetic activities.
    • We expect them to initially lose focus when activities are over-complicated. We also expect them to struggle with commands that have more than two instructions.
    • The goal for our program is to get them to follow verbal commands with no visual demonstration. Also, our goal is for them to remember rules and commands without being reminded.
  • Emotionally– they typically have strong preferences and fears therefore they will normally act out of bounds when their emotions get out of control.
    • We expect them to run off the mat when they have anxiety. We also expect them to shut down when something either scares them or doesn’t go their way.
    • The goal for our program is to help them follow directions and persevere through an activity even if they are initially emotional.
  • Socially– they are typically very self-centered. Also, due to their limited vocabulary their common form of communication is mainly physical.
    • We expect them to mock each other, such as falling when their classmate falls. We also expect them to crash into things when they are excited.
    • The goals for our program are to help them build good social skills such as spatial awareness; not interrupting when others are talking; and taking turns properly.

 

By understanding the stages of development of 3 and 4-year olds, we were able to select 8 age-appropriate skills that make up the Early SKILLZ Program:

  1. KICKING
  2. PUNCHING
  3. BLOCKING
  4. CRAWLING
  5. HOPPING
  6. ROLLING
  7. RUNNING
  8. CATCHING

 

We cover one of the above skills 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 8 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 Basic SKILLZ program after they have successfully completed all 9 belt ranks of the Early SKILLZ program.

Here is an example of what a white belt must demonstrate for each of the 8 skills above in order to earn their next belt:

  1. KICKING – Front kicking in the air, alternating legs. They must be able to execute ten kicks in a row alternating legs in order to pass.
  2. PUNCHING – Straight punching in the air, alternating arms. They must be able to execute ten punches in a row alternating arms in order to pass.
  3. BLOCKING – High blocking in the air, alternating arms. They must be able to execute ten high blocks in a row alternating arms in order to pass.
  4. CRAWLING – Bear crawling across the mat. They must be able to bear crawl up and down the floor without their knees or elbows touching the mat in order to pass.
  5. HOPPING – Hopping down the floor with both feet. They must be able to hop down the mat with both feet together, and without falling, five times in a row in order to pass.
  6. ROLLING – Rolling a ball down the floor. They must be able to roll a ball down the floor while alternating hands, and keeping at least one hand on the ball at all times, in order to pass.
  7. RUNNING – Running down the floor. They must be able to run down the floor as fast as possible without falling in order to pass.
  8. CATCHING – Catching a ball thrown underhand from one step away. They must be able to catch a ball five times in a row in order to pass.

As you can see we take Martial Arts training to a whole new level!  We use early elements of traditional Martial Arts curriculum to build skills that are appropriate for 3 and 4-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 Early SKILLZ program will equip your child with skills that they will utilize in every area of their life!

 

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Bullying Tips for Back to School

Bullying Tips

 

One of the biggest concerns from parents during the back-to-school season is bullying. Some 160,000 kids skip school every day because they fear of being attacked or ridiculed by bullies. The good news is that these disturbing statistics can be limited with the proper education.

As an educator that has worked with hundreds of children on anti-bullying strategies, I have found that the most important skill a child should have when dealing with bullies is confidence.  No matter what you teach a child, it will not be effective without the confidence to put the lessons into action. Children that fall victim to bullies usually are targets because they lack the confidence to stand up for themselves. Therefore, it is very important that you begin instilling confidence within your child if you want him or her to effectively handle bullying.

Here are a few tips on how you can build confidence within your child:

Make sure that you are a good listener when talking with your child. Try not to ignore your child’s feelings. Children are more confident when they feel like they are being heard. If you, as a parent, take the time to listen to your child then he or she will have more confidence to speak their mind when dealing with bullies.

Pay attention to your child’s moods. If your child is grumpy or agitated, then most-likely he or she can act the same way around other children. That can increase the chance of your child falling victim to unnecessary arguments and fights with others. Factors that can affect your child’s mood include:

  • Lack of proper sleep each night. Children need at least 8 hours of total sleep per night. If they are not getting the proper amount of rest, then it can affect their mood the next day.
  • Insufficient diet. Certain foods affect children’s moods including foods that are high in sugar, caffeine or fat. Keep your child’s diet balanced with plenty of fruits and vegetables.
  • Lack of exercise. Children that do not exercise regularly tend to have a lower level of energy which will affect his or her mood. This can also lead to obesity which makes your child more prone to bullying.

Keep your child active in extra-curricular sports and activities, such as Martial Arts. Your child will make plenty of new friends and learn skills which can build confidence.  Make sure the activities are healthy and are focused on character development. Also make sure that the teachers and coaches are experts at working with children and building confidence. If you pick the right activity, then you will notice a change in your child’s confidence almost immediately.

Is your child a confident individual? If so, then the next step is to speak with your child about anti-bullying strategies.

Here are five strategies that you should review with your child:

  1. Assert yourself. Have your child practice standing tall and using a strong voice saying: “That’s teasing. Stop it.” or “Stop making fun of me. It’s mean.”
  2. Use “I want.” Role-play with your child by having him or her address you (the bully) by saying: “I want you to leave me alone,” or “I want you to stop teasing me.”
  3. Question it. Have your child practice responding to an insult with a non-defensive question: “Why would you say that?” or “Why would you want to tell me I am dumb and hurt my feelings?”
  4. Ignore it. Bullies love it when their teasing upsets their victims, so help your child find a way to not let his or her tormentor get to him/ her. Pretend they’re invisible, walk away without looking at them, quickly look at something else and laugh, or look completely uninterested.
  5. Make Fun of the Teasing. Teach your child how to reply to bullies by saying something like: “Wow, you are so smart because you pick on other kids.” Or, “Did you think of that all on your own?”

Remember, the key to dealing with bullies is all about how confident your child feels. The strategies above only work if your child is confident enough to say them. Role-playing is only half of the lesson. You child must be exposed to enough role-models and equipped with the proper amount of stimulants that increase confidence.20799149_1516032361786678_5075932752371371051_n

Teaching with the Brain in Mind

At Bossier Martial Arts and Fitness we do things a bit differently than many traditional schools.

Our focus is teaching with the brain in mind!

All of our classes focus on generating what we call D.O.S.E.: Dopamine, Oxytocin, Serotonin, and Endorphins via our age specific Martial Arts classes, not simply teaching kicks, punches, and character.

Each of these chemicals will play a major role in your child’s development, so if you’re looking for great role models, a rewarding environment, a gratifying experience, and amazing physical activity, our classes are perfect for creating a positive socially stimulating environment.

Our understanding of how to trigger the release of these “feel good” chemicals helps us overcome many of the challenges we see with children these days, and with that education, we can coach them to be the best version of themselves!

 

 

SKILLZ Worldwide, Inc.

HOW DOES MARTIAL ARTS DEVELOP LEADERSHIP SKILLS?

Leadership is something that we talk about with our kids, a lot. But what does leadership mean? And, how does martial arts training help develop those skills?

First, let’s define leadership. A leader is someone that does some, many or even all of the following:

  1. Inspires and motivates others
  2. Displays high integrity and honesty
  3. Solves problems and analyzes issues
  4. Drives for results
  5. Communicates powerfully and prolifically
  6. Builds relationships
  7. Displays technical or professional expertise
  8. Develops others
  9. Innovates
  10. Champions Change

You can see how martial arts training can develop and influence all of the areas in the list above.   But, let’s focus on the first and how that fits into the martial arts paradigm.

The martial arts are known for “The Black Belt”. Depending on the style of martial arts, there are different color belt systems that mark the pathway from white belt (a beginner) to a black belt (someone who is more advanced).

In our Children’s Martial Arts System, we’ve divided the journey to black belt into 4 age-specific groups.   Each of those groups is divided into 9 Belts. And each Belt is divided into 8 stripes.

When a child starts martial arts, Black Belt is the goal, but it is far away and often difficult for a student to conceptualize.   The nice thing about our martial arts progression system that the journey is broken down into the small steps mentioned above.

The students start to understand that in order to reach a goal, any goal,  they need to break it down into smaller chunks or steps and climb those steps one at a time.   Each step isn’t just progress, it is also an attainment, an attainment that had specific requirements and defined work to attain.

Over time, the student starts to learn a few things. First how to create a framework for goal setting for themselves. Second, that a series of small successes leads to greater success and that instills confidence in them as well. And finally, as they rise through the ranks that they can inspire, motivate and teach others to do the same.

This process inspires and motivates them as well as everyone around them.

Demonstrating Leadership

Many activities like sports, school clubs and martial arts teach leadership skills and develop the aforementioned qualities in children.  However, as parents, it is also important for us to identify those activities that will also give our children the opportunity to demonstrate leadership in additional to learning the skills of leadership.

The SKILLZ martial arts program at Bossier Martial Arts does provide this opportunity through our S.T.O.R.M. Team (Special Team of Role Models) Development Program.  Because of the belt system / rank system that is inherent to martial arts, mentoring and modeling is an integral part of each students learning and progression through the system.

As a beginner, a student not only learns from his/her teachers, but also learns from “higher” belts, student with more knowledge and experience.  The high belt students also know that the junior students are learning from their example.

Additionally, once the students reach a requisite level of proficiency we also teach them “how to teach”: How to start and stop a class, how to run warm ups, how to verbalize and explain physical techniques.

Ultimately, they need to learn how to prepare and plan for a class as well as get in front a group of students (sometimes even their peers) and LEAD.

Homework for Parents

Looking at the list of 10 leadership traits above, what are some activities that you can do with you kids so that they can learn and demonstrate leadership?

source-Dragon Gym, SKILLZ Age-Specific Martial Arts Training for Kids and Teens

BOSSIER MARTIAL ARTS AND FITNESS

Developing Life and Leadership Skills One Kick at a Time

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Developing Life and Leadership Skills One Kick at a Time!

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5 TIPS TO GET KIDS MOVING

It’s never too early for kids to learn the benefits of getting fit and eating a healthy diet. For many kids, eating junk food and playing video games is a norm. However, paying attention and getting your kids involved in a fitness program can result in a lot of fun.

Here are five fun fitness ideas that kids will be excited to do after school:

1. Chasing Bubbles

Chasing bubbles are not necessarily just for the younger kids. There are so many ways children of all ages can use them to have fun! Whatever creative activity you come up with using bubbles you know that it will surely encourage them to run, jump, and twist for hours at a time.

There are many types of commercial bubble mixes and plastic wands that could help with your activities. Just make sure you are in an open space, like the park, for maximum enjoyment.

2. Crazy Dancing

Children love to dance! Sometimes the wilder, the better. Use any kind of music playing device you can stop and start and even select some upbeat tunes. When the music plays, ask the children to dance around the room. When the music stops, they must freeze. Change the tempo of the music for different results, and encourage children to stretch, bend, twist and shimmy.

3. Old-fashioned Activities

Previous generations grew up with some basic toys and outdoor equipment that lead to hours of activity and play. Consider introducing your children to some of the classics like jump rope, hula hoops, roller skates, and hop scotch, just to name a few. They will not only get plenty of exercise, but they will improve their coordination and balance as well.

4. Martial arts

The best martial arts schools offer a variety of classes designed especially for youth. Kids will get the same benefits that adults do in stretching, bending, and strengthening the body and the mind. The martial arts is a wonderful exercise for all ages and best of all, the whole family can do it together.

5. Walk the Dog

When kids need to get moving, there’s no better companion than the family dog. Set out a walking route for kids and dogs that will encourage them to go just a little farther each day. Not only with the children benefit from walking the dog, but your four-legged friend will love the extra attention and the chance to get out and about the neighborhood.

There’s no need for special equipment or clever plans to get your children to embrace fitness. When they develop a positive, active lifestyle as part of their after school routine, children and teens are more likely to continue putting fitness as a priority in their lives. What more could parents want than to see their children get excited about being healthy and happy.

~KickNFit Kids

COMING SOON TO BOSSIER MARTIAL ARTS AND FITNESSpablo-2-725x325

http://kicknfitkids.com/

Early SKILLZ (for 3 and 4 year olds) will equip your child with skills that they will utilize in every area of their life!

Three to four year olds love physical activity and anything involving play. They have a rich imagination and strong desire to be less dependent on their usual caregivers. The problem we discovered is that many children this age have a hard time with structure in a group environment like what is commonly found in most Martial Arts schools. The solution we found is to provide them with their own program that targets their stage of development in a manner that keeps them entertained while at the same time building skills that set them up for success. With that said, a structured program introducing early skill-based training in Martial Arts has proven to be very successful.

Here’s an overview for the stages of development of children ages 3 and 4:

  • Physically– they typically have low tone and poor hand-eye-coordination.
    • We expect them initially to drop their arms when punching and fall when kicking or jumping. We also expect them to have no concept of spatial awareness, therefore they will drop things that are thrown to them and bump into people and obstacles often.
    • The goal for our program is to get them to punch without dropping their arms; kick without falling; jump without falling; and catch objects thrown from various directions and distances.
  • Intellectually– they typically have a limited vocabulary therefore learning is normally limited to visual and kinesthetic activities.
    • We expect them to initially lose focus when activities are over-complicated. We also expect them to struggle with commands that have more than two instructions.
    • The goal for our program is to get them to follow verbal commands with no visual demonstration. Also, our goal is for them to remember rules and commands without being reminded.
  • Emotionally– they typically have strong preferences and fears therefore they will normally act out of bounds when their emotions get out of control.
    • We expect them to run off the mat when they have anxiety. We also expect them to shut down when something either scares them or doesn’t go their way.
    • The goal for our program is to help them follow directions and persevere through an activity even if they are initially emotional.
  • Socially– they are typically very self-centered. Also, due to their limited vocabulary their common form of communication is mainly physical.
    • We expect them to mock each other, such as falling when their classmate falls. We also expect them to crash into things when they are excited.
    • The goals for our program are to help them build good social skills such as spatial awareness; not interrupting when others are talking; and taking turns properly.

By understanding the stages of development of 3 and 4-year olds, we were able to select 8 age-appropriate skills that make up the Early SKILLZ Program:

  1. KICKING
  2. PUNCHING
  3. BLOCKING
  4. CRAWLING
  5. HOPPING
  6. ROLLING
  7. RUNNING
  8. CATCHING

We cover one of the above skills 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 8 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 Basic SKILLZ program after they have successfully completed all 9 belt ranks of the Early SKILLZ program.

Here is an example of what a white belt must demonstrate for each of the 8 skills above in order to earn their next belt:

  1. KICKING – Front kicking in the air, alternating legs. They must be able to execute ten kicks in a row alternating legs in order to pass.
  2. PUNCHING – Straight punching in the air, alternating arms. They must be able to execute ten punches in a row alternating arms in order to pass.
  3. BLOCKING – High blocking in the air, alternating arms. They must be able to execute ten high blocks in a row alternating arms in order to pass.
  4. CRAWLING – Bear crawling across the mat. They must be able to bear crawl up and down the floor without their knees or elbows touching the mat in order to pass.
  5. HOPPING – Hopping down the floor with both feet. They must be able to hop down the mat with both feet together, and without falling, five times in a row in order to pass.
  6. ROLLING – Rolling a ball down the floor. They must be able to roll a ball down the floor while alternating hands, and keeping at least one hand on the ball at all times, in order to pass.
  7. RUNNING – Running down the floor. They must be able to run down the floor as fast as possible without falling in order to pass.
  8. CATCHING – Catching a ball thrown underhand from one step away. They must be able to catch a ball five times in a row in order to pass.

As you can see we take Martial Arts training to a whole new level!  We use early elements of traditional Martial Arts curriculum to build skills that are appropriate for 3 and 4-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 Early SKILLZ program will equip your child with skills that they will utilize in every area of their life!

-SKILLZ Worldwide, Inc

The Benefits That Martial Arts Can Provide for 5 and 6 year olds

The Benefits That Martial Arts Can Provide for 5 and 6 year olds

Children between the ages of 5 and 6 are in the “dynamo” stage of development. They are now at a point where basic skills become the foundation for their continued growth. With the right mindset and curriculum, martial arts can help them build a more solid foundation for basic fundamental skills, which are essential for continued development.

Below are milestones that martial arts can help accomplish:

Top PHYSICAL development milestones:

  • Demonstrating BALANCE by performing high repetitions of kicks without putting the foot down.
  • Showing good CONTROL with the body while keeping it in motion.
  • Demonstrating good FITNESS by applying technique in exercises beyond ten reps.

Top INTELLECTUAL development milestones:

  • Demonstrating good FOCUS to the task at hand, with little or no distractions.
  • Demonstrating good MEMORY by retaining three or more commands at once, and beyond, while staying in order.
  • Demonstrating COORDINATION by performing various left and right commands with a variety of different strikes and kicking combinations.

Top EMOTIONAL development milestones:

  • Maintaining DISCIPLINE by following directions after only being told once.
  • Demonstrating DISCIPLINE by not acting silly when performing activities that require leadership.
  • Showing CONTROL of the mind to work through during difficult tasks.

Top SOCIAL development milestones:

  • Demonstrating good TEAMWORK in competitive situations.
  • Showing CONTROL by not interrupting, such as raising your hand when someone else is speaking.
  • Having the FOCUS to sit still when appropriate.

For example:

Skill: BALANCE

Drill: Alphabet

Benefits: The students will practice their balance by kicking while saying the letters of the alphabet as they kick, and also keeping their leg in the air in between each kick.

This is a fun way to teach the students how to PHYSICALLY develop balance while they kick.

This is a great way to improve INTELLECTUAL development because they need to focus on the sequential order of the alphabet while multi-tasking by focusing on balance and kicking.

This is great for their EMOTIONAL development as they gain the motivation to challenge themselves to kick at higher reps each turn.

This is great for their SOCIAL development to show good sportsmanship on the third round when it turns into a healthy competition.

As you can see, we know how to take a simple drill and turn it into a drill that has VALUE.

It’s all in your mindset about drills and how you target age-specific benefits.

Call 318-746-5425 for more information on how you can get your child started in the best martial arts program for kids in Bossier City!