6 Secrets to Success with ATA Tiny Tigers: Part 2

Written by on June 13, 2011

Secret #2: TIGER class is not about punching and kicking

“But we are teaching Taekwondo!”   You shout!  Yes, indeed we are.   Our Taekwondo program, however, is a vehicle through which we teach discipline and character.  In fact, I believe that the development of physical skill in Taekwondo parallels a child’s physical growth pattern.  In other words, give their little bodies a chance to grow into Taekwondo.  

 Let’s get real!

 I’m not denying that there does exist the exceptional 8, 7, or even 6 year old who might be a good black belt.   You must realize, however, that as an entrepreneur you are not going to pay your bills teaching prodigies and you certainly are not going to retire from teaching prodigies.   Stories of these exceptional children always come up in seminars.   I always here, “I’ve got several TIGERS who memorize their forms and they’ll be black belts by age 7.”

 That may be true, but let’s keep our VISION in mind here.   We want to change the world one black belt at a time.   And we want to make a living doing that.  And we want to RETIRE at some point.  To do those things you need numbers, so let’s stick with what MOST preschoolers need, not what some of them can accomplish in rare circumstances.

 Skills to teach in TIGER class:

 Learn to answer when called

Listen with eyes and ears—make eye contact

Stand still and follow simple commands

Learn spatial orientation (front, back, left, right, up, down)

Learn basic counting, shapes, and letters

Develop concentration skills

Develop basic social skills, self-control, and manners

Begin to develop independence in daily tasks like getting dressed

 Yes, the TIGERS in your class punch and kick, but nothing is really learned in any class until the students get still and focus.   So that is your first objective.   And at any time, you can stop the class and wait till they get back on track.   We do this by using the simple structures you already know:  stand like a black belt, sit like a master, listening position.  I give one of these commands in-between every “karate” exercise in the class.  Although the kids love the punching and kicking, the parents know that the most important drill in class occurs when I say “listening position.”    Parents are regularly surprised when we get TIGERS to stand still and listen.  I’m sure the same is true when you teach!

 Discipline and focus must come first!

 Another wonderful fact is that when you focus on listening and concentration, their physical skills also improve.   If you try to teach too much physical skill without the foundation of “focus,” nothing of any quality is every accomplished.    Discipline and focus must come first!!

   And have clear expectations about behavior in class and clear procedures and consequences for inappropriate behavior.  




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