I was asked by a parent last week about what a Little Dragons tab test was, and when I explained to her it was the awarding of the coloured tabs to denote progress she responded by saying ‘I wondered what they were for’.
That got me thinking about how much do our parents actually understand about what we do? Our Little Dragons programme is specifically for 4, 5 and 6 year olds and they get their own special uniform.
Each class begins and ends with our Little Dragons song as the children sit ‘like a black belt’ and focus on the actions that go with the words. Fun is the essential ingredient, as associating an emotion with an activity helps children remember.
We focus on age appropriate activities with a view to developing things like coordination, balance, discipline, respect and confidence. Uniquely, this is done through the medium of martial arts. Stances, strikes & blocks are combined to help cement the skills they need for when they move into the self defence classes at age 7.
As this is a Japanese martial art, we introduce our Little Dragons to some cultural aspects, by introducing Japanese words such as counting, naming of stances and strikes and even by asking them to copy the Japanese ‘kanji’ or symbols for numbers too.
We reward progress every other month by the award of coloured tabs on the belts, which replicate our Ju Jitsu belt structure.
Little Dragons are encouraged to use ‘magic words’ such please, thank you, may I, and excuse me both in class and at home. As they progress, we focus on other social skills such as caring, sharing, helping and respecting each other through the awarding of stars for their gi (uniform). Badges can be earned, such as the friendship badge for being a great friend. We make the sessions varied and fast paced to keep the children’s attention, with activities, games and drills. The Little Dragons programme develops our youngest children and prepares them not just for the step up into our self defence classes, but for the challenges they may face at such a young age. We’ve had some great examples of Little Dragons who have persevered and become great black belts in their teens. We love that we are helping them develop into fantastic young adults. Keigu (Kind Regards) Sensei