Taekwondo Class Topics

What is your goal at GMTKD?

Posted by on May 19, 2011 in Taekwondo Class Topics | Comments Off on What is your goal at GMTKD?

GMTKD members have various goals: earn a black belt learn self defense win competitions increase strength and other physical fitness components have fun If you clearly define your goal, it can really help you achieve it.  This goes for other goals in your life besides GMTKD related goals, too.  An athlete, in any sport, would do better if they set a specific goal or two for exactly what they want to improve on at each practice session and at each competition. These goals should be things you can control.  You can’t control if you win or not.  What you can control is your body and your mind.  Examples:   I’ll kick hard every time I kick. I won’t slow down when I get tired. I’ll use strategy to avoid wasting any kicks. I’ll warm up even if I don’t feel like it. I’ll try to win but not get upset if I lose. I’ll imagine a board break on each strike in my form. I’ll make my sparring opponent play my game instead of playing theirs. Please share below what your goals are in classes at GMTKD. Bookmark on Delicious Digg this post Recommend on Facebook share via Reddit Share with Stumblers Tweet about it Subscribe to the comments on this...

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Multi-School Sparring Practices ROCK!

Posted by on May 11, 2011 in Taekwondo Class Topics | 1 comment

Multi-School Sparring Practices ROCK!

a moment from this practice on YouTube We recently hosted a multi school sparring practice with Edge Taekwondo from Horizon City, TX.  This one was pleasantly small, unlike our usual times when four schools attend. This post will explain to my students the great confidence, sport, fun, physical fitness, and self defense benefits from attending one of these practices, which we have about once a month. At the end is a section for instructors about my “secret” to hosting great multi school sparring practices.   For my students:   Please never miss these great opportunities to attend multi-school sparring practices.  If you want to be a tournament competitor, it’s a great chance to get used to sparring people you don’t know.  Many tournament competitors say that the “unknown factor” is what gets them nervous and throws them off of their game plan. If you don’t get a chance to travel to tournaments, either because of the expense or time required, this is your opportunity to experience some of the benefits of tournaments without the hassels.  You get to make new friends with Taekwondo students from other places and you get to test your ability and give meaning to your training. It will be much more meaningful when you practice sparring strategies in class if you have experience trying the strategy before or expect to have a chance to use the strategy in the future. Even if you train primarily for other reasons than sport, you need to attend these practices.  If you train for physical fitness, these practices are a great workout and, by giving meaning to your sparring strategy practice, make you train harder even in regular classes.  If you train for self defense, although the sport and self defense techniques and rules are different, the adrenaline and the putting aside fear of getting hit are valuable components that are the same in sparring practices and self defense. If you train for confidence, there is no confidence booster like having a great time doing something scary like sparring people you don’t know! For my instructor friends: Here’s my secret to hosting great multi-school sparring practices.  It might require a pretty big dojang.  1) For a particular Friday evening or Saturday morning, invite one or more schools, who you meet at tournaments and consider nice people to spend time with.    2) The host school leads a 30 minute warm up with everyone together.  Try to do something fun that you think other schools might not do. This warm up time lets all of the guests get over the fear of being in a strange place. It also lets the students start to get more familiar with each other. 3) Give everyone a break to drink water and put on their equipment.  4) Divide into two groups, little kids in one room, big kids + teens + adults in another and let every instructor have a chance to teach a drill to each group.  The drills could be as simple as letting each other kick you, or as complex as setting up an opportunity for a certain defensive strategy. This portion of the class lets the students meet other instructors, lose their fear of them, and get a little feel for the upcoming part where they hit each other. 5) After another 5 minute water break, divide roughly into tournament age categories like 7 and younger, 8 and 9, 10 and 11, 12 and 13, 14 and older.  At my place, we divide the bigger classroom into 4 “rings” with the four younger categories and use the smaller classroom for 14 and older.       6) Each coach or experienced referee available will be in charge of a group. ...

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Why Preschoolers Should Study at GMTKD

Posted by on May 7, 2011 in Self Defense for Kids, Taekwondo Class Topics | Comments Off on Why Preschoolers Should Study at GMTKD

Why Preschoolers Should Study at GMTKD

This post may actually cover why pre-schoolers should study martial art in general.  But, since I don’t know exactly what any particular teacher would teach their preschoolers, I’m only sure it applies to myself and my martial arts school. When I began teaching Taekwondo, I specialized in the youngest kids (5 & 6, at that time), maybe because the other instructors didn’t want to teach them. I remember what a big deal it was when I first let a 3-year-old join class (Caitlyn gave up diapers after I used that as an excuse to not let her go to class with her brother).  Now, I even teach 2-year-olds, if their parents will stay on the mat with them.  I think, in the old days, we all assumed that we were supposed to teach the preschoolers the same things we taught the older kids and adults, with the same goal of creating martial artists.  I now realize that, even if we are teaching them the same moves we are teaching kids and adults, we aren’t teaching them the same things. With my old thinking, I was surprised by how many parents want to enroll their pre-schooler in martial arts.  I think most of these parents feel like “my kid is finally old enough to take a class, I’d better hurry and sign them up for something.” I don’t really remember why this used to bother me, but now I embrace it. I think most of the parents want their kid to have the experience of learning a skill, rather than want their child to begin a life long study of martial arts.  I also think this “experience” is the  most important benefit a pre-schooler gains from taking a martial ats class.  For them to know that they know how to do something that most people in the world don’t know how to do has got to build their self esteem.  If we can start kids off with high self esteem, we can make a real difference in thier lives.  High self esteem may prevent them from being bullied.  It will certainly prevent them from being permanently emotionally damaged by any bullying they experience. Although I’m not a child psychologist, it seems to me that age 2 to 6 might be when a child becomes self aware and starts forms opinions about who they are that can last a lifetime. Based on what I teach this age group, I expect the kids in my class to begin to think of themselves as a person who  is physically active stands up for themselves with words and body language has the confidence to let others see them make mistakes can learn to do many things with their bodies Developing an awareness of how to control multiple parts of your body at the same time is another great benefit of martial arts for preschoolers.  As they try to learn where to put their arms while they kick and what to do with their legs while they practice punches and blocks, they are probably creating connections in their brain that will help them become “coordinated” kids, teens, and adults.  The importance of being coordinated in sports is obvious; but, let’s not underestimate the importance of coordination in safety and social life: it can prevent falls, car accidents, bad dancing and lots of other things. To summarize what I’ve learned over the last 25 years of teaching martial arts to kids younger than most instructors would try to teach: We may start some of them on a path of life long study of martial arts, we may teach some of them things that they someday use in self...

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