Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Adventures in Teaching Karate

Last night I taught the children's karate class. For those of you playing along at home, I teach children's karate on average once a week. On the days that I don't teach it, my instructor teaches it. It meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and what happens is that I teach on Thursday and then on the next Tuesday, and he teaches the next Thursday and then Tuesday, etc.

Last night I had ten students. That can get pretty overwhelming. What I have discovered is helpful is to give them a summary of the evening's activities. So last night we did our warmups, worked on kata, and then played games for the last five minutes of class.

Sometimes I have a hard time because I get frustrated with students who don't try. For example, there is one student who likes just to wave his arms around instead of actually doing the jumping jacks. For some reason, that behavior kind of hooks me. But I stay calm externally and try to discourage him by not giving him the attention I think he is seeking by engaging in this behavior.

But last night I was pretty calm and managed not to get ruffled at all. I did tell one kid that his behavior was unacceptable when he pretended to kick his sister in the behind. But other than that, I think things went pretty well.

I have a set of three siblings in the class, ages 8, 10, and 12. The two older ones are over-achievers. The youngest just likes to goof off. That's okay by me; I know that kids will be kids. I worry about the oldest one in some ways, because he is such a perfectionist that he often apologizes to me for not doing things perfectly. For example, after sparring for the first time, he apologized to me because he messed up. I told him that he did fine, and not to worry about it. Really I'm very impressed with how well he does. He is outstanding for his level. I think he and his 10-year-old sister probably belong in the adult class.

Last night we finished out the evening with a game that I introduced when I started teaching. It involves taking two of my old karate belts and holding them horizontally, one at knee level and one at shoulder level, and having the children jump through the gap. For some reason this game is a huge hit every time it is played. After a few rounds of jumping through, I just take both the belts and place them together at one level, and have them jump over the belts.

I was really impressed by the over-achieving siblings' ability to jump. They could jump a belt that was at the height of my waist. The girl would walk up to the belt and do a straight jump over it, which I found amazing. The boy could do it too, and I was quite impressed, although he is nearly my height. Still, I am fairly certain that I could not jump that high.

I think I'm going to try another game I've been meaning to implement for quite a while. I think that a limbo game would be a hit too. I could use my bo (a 6-foot stick) as the level. I think I will try that next time.


Laura said...

Maybe you could use the stick, and the belts, to make a maypole... Just a thought :-)


Anonymous said...

I'm commenting! I'm commenting!

Now if only I had something to SAY... I like Laura's maypole idea.