Patience 

Take a few extra seconds when responding to poor behavior. These seconds demonstrates compassion, empathy, and self-control on your part. Sometimes all you need to do is think about responding in the most patient manner to help re-direct your child. A few seconds can make a big difference.

Ask, Listen, Explain

Patience helps you to establish better solutions for difficult moments with your child.

If your child has a temper tantrum, for instance, take a few seconds to calm down before reacting. Then, ask questions to help determine what is driving the behavior. Listen to what they say and then explain what they could have done instead.

Patience can lead to understanding and solutions. Be patient and ask the right questions to get your child back on track.

Give a Do-over 

A do-over is precisely what it says – the chance to do something again. Using patience means allowing your child to act in a better way than they did the first time around.

The perfect time to implement a do-over is when your child says something out of anger, such as “You are not my favorite mommy!” A do-over begins by telling your child that this is not the proper way for them to speak to you. You may start with, “Let’s do this over. What is a nicer way to talk to me when you are upset?” This question gives them the chance to explain why they are upset in a different way. It may be as simple as they didn’t want to stop playing to eat dinner. Allow them the chance to re-phrase and then go from there, such as letting them know that they can play more, just after dinner.

When you allow your child a do-over, you use patience with your child and apply patience to the way that you react to their behavior.

Provide Teaching Moments

Many people assume that discipline means “to punish” when it means “to teach.”

When your child makes a mistake, you can either punish or discipline through patient teaching moments. In a soccer game, if a player misses the ball, the coach doesn’t yell and get angry with them. Instead, they explain what went wrong and help the player by letting them know how they can improve the next time.

A parental teaching moment is the same. When your child makes a mistake, use patience to explain what they did wrong and provide them information that will help them improve or not make the same mistake again. A teaching moment offers options and solutions, while punishment does not.

The question to ask yourself today is how patient are you with your child. How many times do you give them do-overs? Try to provide them with as many do-overs as possible so they can learn how to behave and communicate better. In the long run, both of you learn valuable teaching moments through patience.

At-Home Training Program the Sequel

We understand that COVID-19 is still causing many significant events, schools, and other social gatherings to cancel their events. In the wake of this extraordinary situation, many families are ordered by the Governor to self-isolate. Therefore, we will continue our two-week at-home training program for another two weeks.

If you didn’t see our previous post about the At-Home Training Program, that’s okay. You can still start anytime. However, our program runs another two weeks! That’s four weeks of training with our school.

You don’t need to be an enrolled student to participate. Just let us know you’re doing the course and we’ll make sure you get credit for the work. When you do enroll at our school, you’ll get class credit for all four weeks.

These training videos include age-specific lessons that are fun to follow while targeting your child’s stage of development. You can print the planner from the notes section of our Facebook page and follow along with the video for fun training with some of the best martial arts instructors in our industry.

Here’s how you access the planners

In your browser, go to our Facebook page, and select the appropriate age group for your child or children.

Download the planners, take pictures (or videos) of your child training and then email us or post it in our Facebook group, and your child will get class credit.

Don’t worry that these planners are different from a typical class. The goal is to keep your kid’s body and brain learning while we are on break! These planners can be taught by parents, grandparents, siblings, friends, babysitters, or anyone at home.

Links to the Video Lessons

These links bring you to the ‘On The Mat’ YouTube videos for each planner. You can follow along with the instructor and students. Repeat the lessons as much as you like.

Little Ninja Tots (3 and 4-year olds)

Week 3, Lesson 5:  

Week 3, Lesson 6:  

Week 4, Lesson 7:

Week 4, Lesson 8:

Little Ninjas (5 and 6-year olds)

Week 3, Lesson 5:  

Week 3, Lesson 6:  

Week 4, Lesson 7:

Week 4, Lesson 8:

Little Ninjas (7to 9-year olds)

Week 3, Lesson 5:  

Week 3, Lesson 6:  

Week 4, Lesson 7:

Week 4, Lesson 8:

Ninja Warriors (10 to 14-year olds)

Week 3, Lesson 5: 

Week 3, Lesson 6: 

Week 4, Lesson 7:

Week 4, Lesson 8:

Benefits for You and Your Child

The even better news is that your child will get class credit for following each planner! Email our school or make a post in our school Facebook group with a picture or video of your ninja training, and we will add a class credit to your record for each planner.

Wait, there’s more.

Weekly Challenges

Each week, we’ll offer three challenges for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. These challenges touch on the physical, intellectual, and emotional aspects of Kempo training. An additional challenge is to do the lessons Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Then do the daily challenges on the following days. Warning, this is only for the best students at our school. Non-superhero students won’t be able to keep up.

Share this with anyone else you know who practices martial arts. They can win too. Remember to post these videos on our Golden Leopard Kempo Facebook page, or tag them with #goldenleopard #kempochallenge #athometraining

On behalf of our entire team, we thank you in advance for your participation in this program and look forward to seeing all the awesome pictures and videos!

Wash your hands, and stay healthy. Don’t stop training! See you on the other side.

Attunement

Do you ever feel like you can read your child’s mind? You know what they are going to do or say next because they have had the same reaction before? This profiling is attunement. Improving your attunement skills will allow you to create a more patient and understanding relationship with your child. 

Modify Your Child’s Behavior: 

Be attuned to your child’s anxieties and try a creative approach that allows them to focus on positive behaviors and interactions instead of their fears or stresses. 

Your attunement to the fact that your child has anxiety about going to school in the morning, for instance, help them relieve their stress by adding some interactive playtime with them before school. This playtime will boost their endorphins, so they feel good and less stressed. Allowing them to run off some of their energy in the morning creates a positive and consistent change in their behavior. 

Wait for the Right time 

Applying patience is an attunement-builder because when you understand your child’s mood, you can eliminate some of the everyday struggles you have with them.

If your child wakes up happy most mornings, but grumpy after naps on the weekend, you already expect that behavior. It might be better to wait or to be patient until they feel a little less irritable to talk to them or ask them to do something. You will get better results that way, and they will be less grumpy when they respond. 

Understand Your Child’s Stage of Development 

Being attuned to your child’s stages of development will break some of the assumptions that you have about them, which will improve your relationship and understanding with your child. 

When you ask a 3 to 4-year old to sit on the floor, they seem to roll around a lot. Are they not paying attention? The chances are that part of their behavior is due to their physical stage of development. Physically, it is uncomfortable in their core muscles to sit on the floor for long without rolling back. 

Similarly, 10 to 14-year olds seem lazy. They look like they do not have enough energy to take the trash out after watching a movie. What’s going on here? Research shows that they are physically, scientifically exhausted. Their body and brain are changing from kid versions to adult versions, which makes them seem less than smart and overly lazy. 

By being attuned to their stages of development, you can communicate better with them, knowing what to expect and why. 

Anticipate Language Barriers 

Being attuned to your child’s development in language skills will help you understand their responses and reactions, and not get frustrated if they only respond to bits and piece of what you ask. If you learned a foreign language for only a few years and heard a conversation among fluent speakers, would you understand it entirely or only be able to pick out a word, phrase, or topic here and there? 

If several children hear, “Molly, can you come here” it is possible that several of them will come running instead of just Molly. This reaction is because they only heard the instructional phrase and not necessarily the name. Kids apply the only language skills that they have at their age of development, which for a 3 or 4-year-old is only three or four years! 

Practice Response Flexibility 

Probably the best thing you can do to improve your reactions as a parent is to practice response flexibility. Being flexible with your child’s mood and deciding what requires action immediately and what can wait. Or, realizing that it is not necessary to be harsh every time something terrible happens. 

Recently my son decided it was a good idea to do a flip on top of me when I was on the couch and busted my nose. Instead of yelling at him, I used response flexibility and kept my reaction in perspective because I know that he didn’t do it on purpose. He was playing, and I had to keep that in perspective. Explaining what happened to them and using it as a teaching moment is a more responsible way to respond using response flexibility. 

Attunement all comes down to how well you know your child and their moods, and how well you know yourself. Start thinking about how you can help your child use the right behaviors by being more attuned to their development, behaviors, language skills, and mood, and most importantly, try to practice response flexibility when the unexpected happens. Sometimes your child will learn more from how you respond than from what you say. 

Connection

One of the most important things that you can do as a parent is establishing a connection with your child. Children need connection more than anything else. 

Here are a few ways that you can begin to build a great connection with your child: 

Daily Interactions: 

  1. Make one-on-one connections with your child. Instead of asking a question from across the room, take an extra 15 seconds to walk to your child, get down on their level, maybe tap their shoulder or touch their arm, and ask the question. Chances are they will engage right away (instead of ignoring you) and answer you because you have made that personal connection. 
  2. Connect with your child as many times per day as possible. Every positive connection with your child means fewer disconnected or frustrating moments for both of you. 
  3. Begin positive connections when your child is young. The more positive relationships you make early on, the better they will respond and communicate as they get older. Over time they will have a strong enough connection with you that you no longer need to be right in front of them for them to answer your question. 
  4. Reduce stressful interactions. Good connections reduce stress or cortisol, which is the stress hormone. If you get upset with your child, it makes them angry, too. By improving your connections daily, you begin to eliminate some of the obstacles in your communication with them which also reduces stressful interactions

Boost their Neurotransmitters! 

You can “up” your child’s neurotransmitters to build a better parent-child connection, which means improving your relationship with your child by giving them positive reinforcement in a variety of ways that will allow them to thrive, feel happy, and be healthy. 

  1. Tell your child about something that is going to happen that is exciting so that they can look forward to it. This expectation improves the neurotransmitter Dopamine, which is the anticipation chemical. 
  2. Hug your child and let them know they are essential. Oxytocin is the chemical that reacts through touching. 
  3. Give your child praise for good behavior or a job well done. Recognition improves Serotonin, which is about feeling satisfied. 
  4. Finally, give your child the chance to run and play or engage in a fun physical activity, especially when they are stressed or feel anxiety. Active movement involves endorphins. 

The last crucial bit of advice is to self-assess. How connected you think you are with your child right now? On a scale of 1 to 5, what grade would you give yourself? Put these tips into action and make a better connection with your child because the more you connect, the better. 

8 Ninja Teaching Tips For Parents

With schools and other activities closing due to the coronavirus outbreak, many parents are finding themselves filling the roles of teacher, coach, guidance counselor, and hall monitor as the kids try to continue their studies in the home learning environment.

The first few days were likely an exciting new adventure. Still, as we continue to try to balance working from home, maintaining the needs of the household, and serving as the frontline for our kids’ education, we will likely experience new stresses. Kids who sit still for their teachers or listen to their martial arts coaches may not want to exhibit the same studious behaviors for their parents. And if there are siblings involved, you may even find yourself serving as a referee as the battle ensues.

Fear not, we are here to help!

You most likely do not have the training that educators have. Kids will naturally exhibit their worst behaviors around you because they feel the safest expressing their frustrations, fears, and desires to those who love them the most.

Your homeschooling adventure does not have to be a perfect recreation of the classroom or dojo. It only has to encourage kids to love learning. Once you relieve yourself of this burden, things will be much easier.

That said, you must have the tools needed to help kids get the most out of the time spent with you as their new teacher. The instructors at 4GK Martial Arts in Patchogue go through extensive training to be able to keep students engaged and enthusiastic, while also moderating behaviors. Read on to see how you can use some of our favorite teaching tips in your own home.

Here are eight teaching skills our pediatric ninja specialists use in every class to help keep kids engaged in the learning experience:

1. Healthy Competition

Competition no doubt allows students of all levels to step up their game, and if you prompt competition for your lessons in a fun way that splits the class into teams, then it’s not only healthy – it’s FUN too! If you have multiple children, this can be as simple as seeing who can draw the most number of triangles in 30 seconds.

If you have a single child, or your kids have a broad age gap, you may have to step in as the competition. Kids love seeing adults in agony. Just think of the shows your kids watch, and when they laugh the most, usually it’s an adult getting hurt or making a mistake.

Challenge them that if they can write their sentences in five minutes or less, you will do five push-ups, but if they take more than five minutes, THEY will have to do the push-ups. The challenge is not about punishment; it is about FUN (and the extra boost of endorphins will help break the stress).

2. Choices

When your kids get to choose the activity at hand, they become more motivated to put forth more effort. Kids tend to feel as if they have little control over their lives, and this can lead to some major tantrums. As parents, we sometimes don’t trust our kids with authority because they will make less than favorable decisions. Stripes and polka dots!?! No Way!

By providing choices, we let the kids feel a sense of control over their lives. The choice is essential for their development as someday they WILL have to be the one making the decisions. It is even more critical for their mental well-being as they are trapped at home, isolated from their friends because of social distancing practices.

When setting up the lessons for the day, have the flexibility to provide your child with a choice. If you tell them spelling is next, you may get pushback. But if you ask whether they’d like to do spelling first or math first, they will feel empowered; and since both of the choices you provided were acceptable options, your stress levels will go down, as well.

3. Re-directing

We can all agree that many kids will not have the very best discipline all the time. To increase the level of discipline and effort in class, we must continuously be catching and rewarding students that are trying hard and leading by example. The simple act of setting your kids up for success is the key to maximizing good behavior in class.

Focus on what is going right rather than what is going wrong. For example, imagine you have two siblings, and one is on task, but the other is dawdling. Most of us would try to correct the dawdler. Instead, praise what you like about the focused child. “I love how focused you are, Johny! That shows me that you are a person with good discipline.” A natural reaction will be for your other child to seek similar praise by modeling the behavior you said you liked.

You can also use a similar technique for a single child. The goal is to “catch them being good.” When you see the behavior you want, even if it is for a split second, praise it. Positive recognition works even better if they don’t think you are watching. It is a slow process, but you will start rewiring their brains to exhibit those positive behaviors.

4. Trickery

Trickery is a humorous way to help build focus, engagement, and connection. The concept is to try and trick your students into ‘going’ or ‘starting’ by using words that sound like the word ‘go!’

We use this in class mainly for physical movement activities. For example, when starting a martial arts drill that has two or more teams competing against one another, we may count down, “Ready…Set…. GOOSE!” The kids get a laugh, it breaks the tension, and encourages them to be ready to perform, but not to over anticipate.

You might use a similar bit of trickery when encouraging your kids to see who can collect the most amount of different kinds of leaves in 2 minutes.

Side Note – thinking outside the box about conveying lessons is also a subtle form of trickery akin to sneaking onions into the meatloaf. Collecting different leaves can teach about shapes, math, biodiversity, or even cooking if they are edible leaves. Not every lesson needs to be about notes and textbooks.

5. Up the Rep

Most students become tired towards the last few reps of activity, particularly in high rep drills, or activities which include a lot of physical or mental exertion. This tip consists of a strategy for promoting mental toughness throughout each rep. So that the student becomes better at every rep.

If your child has to write a set of spelling words five times each, penmanship will likely decline, and errors will increase as the child goes through the motions. One way to use the Up The Rep concept would be to encourage the child to have the first set of words be the sloppiest and worst spelled, the next set a bit neater, and so on until the last set of words is the neatest and best.

Penmanship provides them an achievable goal beyond merely completing the assignment, and helps them learn to practice mindfully rather than just going through the motions.

6. Neurobics

The concept is to get the left and right hemispheres of the brain working together by challenging the brain to ‘think’ more during lessons. Neurobics improves cognitive performance, which is how well a student can think and remember what they learned in class.

In the martial arts environment, we will perform exercises while counting by colors, or count our repetitions with names of foods. The reason this works is twofold. First, the addition of physical movement to the activity increases blood flow to the brain, which carries additional oxygen and nutrients to improve cognition. Second, by forcing the brain to think in unique ways, neurological activity spikes, which allows the brain to take in more of those nutrients.

By reciting vocabulary words while doing jumping jacks, for example, the increased neurological activity helps make the memory more concrete. As a bonus, the endorphins released during physical activity help reinforce that learning is a positive activity.

7. Intrinsic Motivation

This concept works by giving the kids options for performance, and then they chose the hardest option because they want to. We use this in our martial arts classes with great success. This tool works best if you can tie it to a character trait that the child wants to exhibit naturally.

For example, if a child has to write an essay, you could give them three options about how long that essay will be. This option is similar to the Choices tool mentioned above. It is empowering for the kids to have some control. By then tying each level of choice to a level of awesomeness, the kids will more likely choose to perform at the highest level.

“For your ELA homework, you have to write an essay about how much you love martial arts. Now, if you want to have good writing skills, you’ll write three paragraphs. But if you want to have rockstar writing skills, you’ll write four paragraphs. And if you want to have super ninja black belt writing skills, you’ll write five paragraphs.”

Make sure that all three levels are acceptable for the assignment, and within the stage of development for your child. Don’t prompt the kindergartner to write five paragraphs, because no matter how super ninja they want to be, it is unrealistic.

8. Extrinsic Motivation

This concept is when a person puts forth more significant effort based on external rewards such as prizes, praise, making others happy, etc. It is easy to overuse this concept, so be mindful of how you apply it.

This one is the simplest. “If you do your homework, you can have ice cream.”

We’ve all bribed our kids at least once in our parenting lives. To make this tool even more productive while maintaining a healthy boundary of control, tie it together with one of the other seven ideas. Instead of “If X then Y,” try something like, “If you can get your art homework done in 15 minutes, you can have ice cream, and I’ll do five push-ups.” Or, “If you finish your science packet by 10:30 am, you will get to choose the movie tonight.”

By tying multiple ninja teaching techniques together, you can create a learning environment that is full of fun, but which also encourages kids to love learning. Remember, when all else fails, step away from the kitchen table and find a way to have fun. To a child, play is the path to knowledge, experience, and wisdom. If you can make the lessons fun and interactive, there will be less stress for everyone involved.

Let us know which Ninja Teaching Tool worked best for you!

8 Ways To Support Local Business While Practicing Social Distancing

The world is a crazy place right now. Especially here in California, where coronavirus has us all staying home and being responsible for our social distancing responsibilities. Many people are left wondering what to do as they find themselves thrust into the world of homeschooling, telecommuting, and even unemployment. With the recent mandates by government officials to close all non-essential businesses, many business owners also face uncertainty about what the future might hold.

In the long run, things will return to normal. Many of the adaptations we are making in our lives and businesses will likely become the new norm. Even amid Covid-19 worries, people with an entrepreneurial mindset are already finding ways to thrive.

Looking forward to a time when we can all start getting back to normal, we all must take steps now to support the businesses we love most. Many small businesses operate on extremely tight margins, meaning that even a few days of being closed down can impact them for quite a long time. Closing for a few weeks or months of quarantine means that many businesses will likely close forever.

With this in mind, let’s look at some ways that we can support our local small businesses now so that they will still be there when things settle. Many of these steps require some monetary support from those who have the means; many are also free, effort-based actions. Even when times are tight, your attention can be the most valuable thing you have to share, and it does make a difference.

1 – Buy Gift Certificates

“Cash is oxygen to a business,” says Gary Vee. Without money coming in, it is hard for a business to keep the doors open. While we may not be able to go to our favorite establishments right now, many of them are still open to making deliveries and take calls. Many more have an online presence.

By purchasing gift cards, we can provide those businesses with a bit of cash flow to help hold them over. Essentially, we are helping to flatten the curve of their debt so they can survive a bit longer. Then, when the world returns to normal, we can use those gift cards for a nice treat, or perhaps to celebrate with some friends.

A single gift card may not be much, but when many of us come together, it starts to add up quickly.

2 – Order To-Go

All non-essential businesses are closed in California, restaurants and other food service establishments are open for take-out and delivery. Ordering to-go lets the business keep the doors open, but more importantly, it helps them keep their kitchen staff employed.

Many delivery apps, such as Uber Eats and GrubHub, are also providing free delivery services. Check with your favorite restaurant, many shops waive delivery fees, or if they have alternate delivery options available.

3 – Shop Remotely

Usually, when you think of shopping online, sites like Amazon or eBay come to mind. While many small businesses do work with these major retailers, the closer to home we can keep the money, the better it will be for our local businesses.

Many local businesses have online portals or e-commerce sites, or they can custom-build links for the things you need. Other companies are accepting orders via text and taking payment over the phone.

4 – Maintain Subscriptions

When things get tight, many people look for ways to trim the budget. While this is undoubtedly important, the current situation is temporary. Once we have coronavirus under control, life will resume. Assess which subscription or memberships you want to keep and which to cancel. As you assess, include the value each brings to your life and your community.

Perhaps that magazine subscription could go since you are already three months behind on your reading. The national publishing house will likely be more able to adapt or to leverage credit and government programs to stay afloat.

Your local gym, massage clinic, or newspaper may be more severely affected by short-term losses. Of course, your family’s well-being comes first, but if you have the means, maintaining those memberships for as long as possible, can be an enormous help to those small businesses. They will likely make it up to you later with perks.

5 – Window Shop on Social Media

In the world of marketing, word-of-mouth is some of the most powerful advertising there is. The modern version of this idea is social media interaction. Even with brick-and-mortar locations closing, may businesses are ramping up their online spending as a way to attract more customers. Marketing takes a lot of time and can cost a lot of money…the money they may not have.

One quirk of online marketing is that the more people talk about business, interact with that business’s posts and content (such as liking, commenting, or sharing), the cheaper the marketing becomes, and the more people will see it.

When the businesses you like post content on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, or their blog, be sure to click on it, like it, comment, and even share it. If you are using that business’s services, this is a great time to leave them a positive review on Google. Every little bit helps, and you may even see something you want or need to buy.

6 – Donate to Non-Profits

Non-profit businesses are committed to causes beyond making a profit, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need access to funds to complete their missions. Donating a few dollars to a local charity helps them keep the doors open and allows them to help those most in need. By maintaining the donations local, much of the money will also stay local as those small charities tend to serve members of their immediate community.

Even if your budget is tight, you can donate clothing, services, and food. If you give those gift cards you purchased, the effects of your efforts are magnified as your initial purchase now helps an even higher number of people.

7 – Stock Up On Local Produce

Farm stands and farmers’ markets conjure thoughts of meandering road trips out to Julian or along the coast. Many of these farms are open year-round, and buying the produce, meats, honey, and other products from the local farmer can help them stay afloat while they figure out new ways to get their products out to retailers and restaurants.

As a bonus, by keeping your purchases local, fewer hands will touch the food you are bringing into your house. Minimizing contact as much as possible is key to flattening the coronavirus curve. It’s a win-win!

8 – Talk About Them

Many businesses are using the interruption of their regular operations to provide community service. Pizzerias are providing at-home pizza kits to kids, teachers are reading bedtime stories on Facebook, and martial arts schools like Golden Leopard Kempo are providing free online lessons.

When you see these businesses doing something good for the community, help spread the word. Post about them on Facebook, tell your friends about them or even use them as examples as you teach your kids about community service in the face of adversity.

Small Businesses Are The Lifeblood of the Community

We often look to big businesses, the stock market, or celebrities for direction, and in turn, provide them our support. But, when you go about your daily routine, when you drive through your community, when you hear your friends talking about their dreams, it is a local business that drives the local economy and supports many of the activities and relationships within the community.

Be sure to support your favorite establishments, and you’ll help ensure they are there when it’s time to leave the house again.

Do you have a favorite local business? Shout them out in the comments!

Stuck at home with the kids? Check out our free daily age-specific martial arts challenges on our Facebook page.

At-Home Training Program for Our Young Students

We understand that COVID-19 is causing many significant events, schools, and other social gatherings to cancel their events. In the wake of this extraordinary situation, many families are choosing (or ordered by the Governor) to self-isolate. Therefore, we are taking pro-active measures to help students stay on course.

Our school has partnered up with one of the leading children’s martial arts organizations in the world to participate in an International At-home Training Program! Over 1000 schools all across the globe are participating in this 2-week event!

These training videos include age-specific lessons that are fun to follow while targeting your child’s stage of development. You can print the planner from the notes section of our Facebook page and follow along with the video for fun training with some of the best martial arts instructors in our industry.

Here’s how you access the planners

In your browser, go to our Facebook page, and select the appropriate age group for your child or children.

Download the planners, take pictures (or videos) of your child training and then email us or post it in our Facebook group, and your child will get class credit.

Don’t worry that these planners are different from a typical class. The goal is to keep your kid’s body and brain learning while we are on break! These planners can be taught by parents, grandparents, siblings, friends, babysitters, or anyone at home.

Links to the Video Lessons

These links bring you to the ‘On The Mat’ YouTube videos for each planner. You can follow along with the instructor and students. Repeat the lessons as much as you like.

Little Ninja Tots (3 and 4-year olds)

Week 1 Lesson 1:

Week 1 Lesson 2:

Week 2 Lesson 3:

Week 2 Lesson 4:

Little Ninjas (5 and 6-year olds)

Week 1 Lesson 1:

Week 1 Lesson 2:

Week 2 Lesson 3:

Week 2 Lesson 4:

Little Ninjas (7 to 9-year olds)

Week 1 Lesson 1:

Week 1 Lesson 2:

Week 2 Lesson 3:

Week 2 Lesson 4:

Ninja Warriors (10 to 14-year olds)

Week 1 Lesson 1:

Week 1 Lesson 2:

Week 2 Lesson 3:

Week 2 Lesson 4:

Benefits for You and Your Child

The even better news is that your child will get class credit for following each planner! Email our school or make a post in our school Facebook group with a picture or video of your ninja training, and we will add a class credit to your record for each planner.

Wait, there’s more.

At-Home Training Point Challenge

True champions find ways to succeed while others find ways to make excuses. Our goal for this challenge is to help each child reach an entirely new level in their personal martial arts journey by going the extra mile with their training. Each week has specific training challenges that will help every student to earn points. The more points your child receives, the more entries they get to win!

Week 1 Point Challenge Total:

  • Participate in class (10)
  • Post a video practicing your form (5)
  • Post a video doing the Week 1 Instructor Challenge (5)
  • Post a video practicing kicks and combs (5)
  • Post a video of you practicing your favorite move (5)

Week 2 Point Challenge Total:

  • Participate in class (10)
  • Post a video practicing your form (5)
  • Post a video doing the Week 2 Instructor Challenge (5)
  • Post a video teaching your combos to a family member (5)
  • Post a video of you practicing your kicks ten times (5)

Week 3 Point Challenge Total:

  • Participate in class (10)
  • Post a video practicing your form (5)
  • Post a video doing the Week 3 Instructor Challenge (5)
  • Post a video practicing kicks and combs (5)
  • Post a video of you practicing your favorite move (5)

Week 4 Point Challenge Total:

  • Participate in class (10)
  • Post a video practicing your form (5)
  • Post a video doing the Week 3 Instructor Challenge (5)
  • Post a video practicing kicks and combs (5)
  • Post a video teaching your kicks to a family member (5)

Share this with anyone else you know who practices martial arts. They can win too. Remember to post these videos on our Facebook page, or tag them with #goldenleopard #kempochallenge #athometraining

On behalf of our entire team, we thank you in advance for your participation in this program and look forward to seeing all the awesome pictures and videos!

Wash your hands, and stay healthy. Don’t stop training! See you on the other side.

How Does Rotating Curriculum Work?

As an instructor with a large class, I came across problems teaching so many people of different ranks. The prototypical solution is to divide the class into ranks and have each rank group work on different lessons. This division requires lots of room and very little time correcting the students. Also, I’m teaching four to five different things in the class. There is no consistency or connection to previous courses. Each rank group gets a portion of the period. For a half-hour section and three rank groups, that’s ten minutes for the sub-group. Breaking up the class is inefficient.

Another solution I learned was to get assistants to help teach. Now the rank groups get a full 30 minutes of instruction but not with the lead instructor. The rank group gets a senior student or a junior instructor, often volunteering. When do the assistants get their class? The problem with this method is the assistant instructors may not show up (because they volunteer), or the costs of hiring additional staff are high.

About Phases, Cycles, and Levels

I went to a training seminar for professional martial arts instructors and learned about a better method of teaching classes for large groups. It’s called a rotating curriculum. I teach the same material to the whole class at the same time. There is no need to break up the class by rank. How is this possible?

  • Divide the belt ranks into beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels.
  • Different belts ranks will be at each level. For instance, White, Yellow, and Gold belts are at the beginner level.
  • Divided classes into beginner, intermediate, and advanced level classes at different times or days of the week.
  • The material for each belt rank is a Phase. A Phase ends in a rank test.
  • Colored belt ranks are divorced from particular techniques. For instance, the Yellow Belt material is now Phase 2 material.

What do I review at the test for different ranks? I evaluate the Phase material taught at that cycle. The limited format means the test is shorter, and the class performs together, synchronized as a team, and I can test a larger group of students. Since everyone is doing the same material, it is easier to score the test. The benefits to the instructor (me) are better student quality and retention.

What happens to new students after the first cycle? The new student starts learning the next Phase with the rest of the class. For my students, I have them organized into three groups, A, B, and C. New students are in one of those groups based on when they join the school. Below is the table detailing how it works.

Table 1: Phase Progression Order in a Rotating Curriculum

The student cycle is the cycle number of the student’s career. They generally move from I to IX through their journey to Black Belt. However, they may not start with Phase 1. They could begin with Phase 2 or Phase 3. The table shows which Phase they advance to after the test.

By the end of the beginner level, the student will know all of the material from all three ranks. The same thing occurs at the intermediate and advanced levels. Testing for Black Belt, all the students will have the same content.

The only issue that this method of teaching causes is the change in class times. Once you test out of the beginner level, the intermediate class is at a different time or day. The same thing happens when a student promotes out of intermediate and enters the advanced classes. However, I did do something like this anyway. During my La Mesa dojo days, I had a special White-Yellow belt class and a Brown Belt class in addition to the regular class. So the difference in my school is negligible.

An Example Students Training Life

Using the table above, let’s use a new student’s life as an example. Maria joins Golden Leopard Kempo during the third cycle, so she is in group C. In her beginner class, she learns the old Gold Belt material first. After her first test, her class will learn the old White Belt material. And her next Phase, she learns the old Yellow Belt material. Using the table above, we see she learned Phase 3, then Phase 1, and then Phase 2. Maria has absorbed all the basic curriculum (kata, counters, and drills) and is ready for the next level.

When she promotes to the intermediate class, Maria learns the old Purple belt material first. After her test, the class will learn the old Orange belt material. Finally, in the sixth cycle, she’ll learn the old Red Belt material. To summarize, Maria learned Phase 6, then Phase 4, and then Phase 5 material. Maria has absorbed all the intermediate curriculum (kata, counters, and drills) and is ready for the next level.

At last, Maria enters the advance class and is a model student at her school. The first Phase she learns is 9, which is the old Brown Belt material. After the test, Maria learns the old Blue Belt material. In her last advance cycle, she learns the old Green Belt material and is now ready to test for Black Belt.

What happens is this, Maria is a Blue Belt knowing Brown Belt material. At any level, the difference between the technical content is not that different. There is a difference between content at the beginner and advanced level, which is why I divide these classes. When Maria is a Green Belt, she’ll know Brown and Blue Belt material. And at Brown Belt, Maria will know all the content for all three Phases of advanced level.

Benefits of Rotating Curriculum

Now, this may seem not very easy for you in this explanation, but I promise you it is effortless to understand in implementation. It flows naturally from Phase to Phase, and through cycles. The benefits are immense. Classes are better because I instruct all three ranks in the same class at the same time teaching the same material. The rotating curriculum brings high energy classes, organization, manageability, excitement, teamwork, and unity to the student program and students’ learning.

The rotating curriculum also requires less staff for maximum results. I don’t need a ton of assistants when two or one will do. The class can handle more students to teacher ratios because of the simplified curriculum. Tests are more comfortable to run because I can maintain high energy and unison during the session, and the test can be huge. Also, the examiners are only looking at a smaller set of curriculum.

Our cycles run ten weeks, with five cycles per year. That’s 50 weeks of class per year, including our standard two weeks off for the holidays. 

That’s a quick explanation of the rotating curriculum and how we implement this method in our school. At Golden Leopard Kempo, we are always looking for ways to improve our teaching methods. We practice the Constant and Never-ending Improvement philosophy in our school. The commitment to improvement led me to implement a rotating curriculum, and I am pleased with the results.

‟There are no bad students, just bad teachers.” – Mr. Miyagi, The Karate Kid.

What Rank is My Child When She Promotes or Ages Out of Her Program?

Our Children’s Curriculum runs differently than our Adult Curriculum. First, we divide the curriculum into age group programs: 3-4 years old, 5-6 years old, 8-10 years old, and 11-14 years old. This helps all the students learn because they are with their peers, not younger or older kids.

  • During the enrollment session, each child goes through an evaluation to see if they are mature enough to begin training at our school and at which program she should start.
  • Our programs are organized by maturity level. We use a student’s age range as a starting point for the evaluation.
  • We educate and teach Kempo through skill-based games.
  • There are three levels, beginner, intermediate, and advanced, each with three ranks for a total of nine belts.
  • Students gain a skill stripe on the second or third exposure to the skill after they pass the skill requirement for that stripe.
  • Once a student gets all the stripes, the student can test out of the belt rank.
  • The program teaches martial arts skills, not techniques found in the Adult program. See my article on Kempo Karate for Toddlers about how skills are better than techniques for younger Peewee students.

Each program has nine belt ranks that they learn in order, three beginner ranks, three intermediate ranks, and three advanced ranks. There are two issues with this structure. First, a student completes all nine ranks before being old enough to graduate to the next program. Or, a student gets older because of a birthday or growth spurt and is now ages out of the program.

Let’s tackle the first issue. The student graduates from the final belt rank in their current program. The new belt rank is the first intermediate rank of the new program. In our school, that’s Orange Belt. The first three ranks in the program are the entire curriculum of the previous program. This is how all four programs are set up. The student now learns new material because the student has demonstrated competence during the last course.

The next issue is a bit more complicated. If a student has a birthday or has a maturity growth spurt, she may be ready for another program. In this aging out situation, the Enrollment Advisor re-evaluates the student for the next program, just as if they were new students. Two things will happen. If the student passes the evaluation, she will move to the next program after her next belt rank test.

Current Rank New Program Rank
White, Yellow White
Gold, Orange, Red Yellow
Purple, Blue, Green Gold
Brown Orange

If the student doesn’t pass the evaluation for the new program, she stays in the current program. She will get a further assessment after the next test, as directed by her instructor.

We found this system works the best for all children involved. Remember, the age range is a guideline, not a rule. Children mature at different times. The maturity of the student’s emotional capability, coordination, and following-directions ability can, and often are, at different stages. We want the best fit for all our students. Trust in our system of placement.

No student is behind if they are at a different age program than their age. Our entire breath of children’s programs is our way of developing the best student martial artist. It’s not a race through the ranks. We want excellent martial arts skills, and we want these skills to build carefully and deliberately. There are no short cuts. We find that once the students hit middle school age, their previous training in our programs will catapult their technical skills in the following programs. Patience pays off.

The transition from program to program is consistent and fair for everyone involved. Our age-based classes also have a different teacher to student ratios. The younger children have a smaller ratio, while the older children have a higher ratio. This focus on each student’s ability and instructor’s attention is what makes our dojo school extraordinary.

If you have any questions, please contact your Enrollment Advisor.

What are Kata Segments?

A kata is a traditional floor routine of kicks, punches, and body movements in a pre-defined order. The moves represent martial techniques. In my article, Forms in Practice, I discuss why kata or forms are essential and how to improve your performance. I also talk about the effectiveness of kata practice for the student.

At Golden Leopard Kempo, kata are between 18 to 26 moves. We clump sets of kata together to form a long kata. Learning kata is the most common difficulty in learning Kempo. To make it easier, using ghestalting, we chunk the moves into small segments of the kata. Think of it as chopping up the kata into small sections. I have heard this called Line Drills, but I use the term drills when it involves two or more students.

We practice a chunk, the segment, of the kata in unison as a class so each student can see each other. By doing the exercise in unison, the student can practice the correct movement. Teaching forms in this manner helps the absolute beginner grasp the flavor of a particular kata.

It is easier if every student works on the same material at the same time. There are slight differences between the segment and the kata. The segments may have additional moves to make it practical for class and student management. For example, the segment may have a 180° turn and repeat the step while the kata doesn’t. ‛Turn and repeat’ facilitates class instruction.

This method of teaching kata helps in memorization and muscle memory. The kata segment aids memory retention and taps into group memory—more mental references provided by other students to support memory encoding and recall.

Once the kata segments are sufficiently memorized and practiced, learning the full kata sequence becomes easier. The student now has to remember section A, then section B, then section C, rather than 15 separate moves. We are using ghestalting to chunk our material into rememberable parts. The student recalls three items, not 15 items. Chunking reduces memory overload. We do this to remember our punch defenses, kick defenses, and kempos. Now, we use the same method for recalling kata.

It may seem strange that so a modern Kempo instructor would place so much emphasis on kata practice. Kata are not en vogue in contemporary arts. However, I have found that kata provides better body movement, transitions, and rootedness in my kata-practicing students. It is a fast way to get the nuanced qualities I seek in a student from the student. I implore you to consider keeping kata practice a focus of your training. And use our kata segments as a way to learn the kata efficiently.