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Friday, July 4, 2014

Little Ninjas

Jack started expressing an interest in taking karate lessons last year. Figuring it was a phase, I didn't give it much credence until he didn't stop mentioning it.

So, I found a great karate studio and Jack has been a Little Ninja now for the past six months. The classes are a blend of light martial arts moves and fun physical gamesThe kids run around and do situps/pushups as a warm-up then "meditate" for a minute to transition into more focused activities.

One Martial Arts has it down: caring staff who took my initially hesitant but enthusiastic son onto the floor and encouraged him throughout the class making him feel integrated and comfortable, a rotating weekly focus (e.g. focus, coordination, fitness, manners, family, confidence) where they provide a small patch/badge for the kids to earn (either in that class or at home) and a worksheet of how to talk to your kids about that week's topic. Lots of positive reinforcement and promotion of life skills like leadership, role playing to stave off bullies and strangers, etc. Respect (for yourself, others, etc.), Focus, and Family are big themes throughout each class. Parents get on the floor for the last 5-10 minutes of each class with their kids. The teachers and junior teachers (older kids who are apprenticing as leaders and who help out during class) are amazing with the kids.

We love the karate studio so much, that Jack had his 5th birthday party there, participated in his first tournament (second place in his group!) and went to their camp for a few weeks this summer.

Jack started with a white belt, then graduated to his Yellow belt, and is now on his Orange belt. At the Little Ninja stage, kids aren't taking tests to earn belts and instead graduate to the next belt every twelve weeks.

CLICK HERE for more pictures of Jack earning his Orange belt. The teacher ceremoniously removes the old belt and asks a few questions about what he has learned ("what is respect?" "what does focus mean?", etc.) and then ties on the next belt.

Click below for karate action Jackson:

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