Updated on April 7, 2021
Children kung fu
Martial art program improves children’s mental capacity i.e. focus, creativity, self-control, discipline, and working memory functions. Various research studies have confirmed the positive effects on children’s character and physical development. ... Read more
The children’s kung fu program at Bamboo Kung Fu instils habits of good movement patterns in children. This will help set a foundation that can help them to initiate their healthy and active lifestyles towards adulthood. ... Read more
The children’s kung fu classes at Bamboo Kung fu are customized for children from ages 6 years old and up to 12 years old. The in-class activities challenge the children mentally, physically, socially, emotionally, which are very important in the positive development of a child’s strong foundation to adulthood.
The children's kung fu classes are available online or virtually.
Find out more about details and in on setting up for online classes.
Martial art training improves child’s brain function
According to psychology experts, the period of a child’s life between the ages 6 years up to 12 years old, known as middle childhood, is the most sensitive period of development especially in the development of the brain.
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During middle childhood, a child is highly sensitive to challenges of physical capabilities e.g., improving motor skills. Studies have indicated that a child who is exposed to physical activity is more likely to develop physically active habits and indirectly lead a healthy and active lifestyle. Overcoming physical challenges instils a sense of achievement and confidence.
In addition, recreational physical activity also promotes positive social, emotional stability at the same time increases resiliency or determination to achieve an intended goal.
Kung fu movements challenge child’s mental capacity
From our experience, children respond best to mental stimulation. Competencies in focusing and maintaining attention span so that s/he can listen to instructions and perform tasks according to instructions issued can be challenging at the beginning. Physically, learning the kung fu movements and coordinate them will stimulate the brain’s neural connections. So, children will learn and understand the positions of their body in space – proprioception. Consequently, they will learn to be in tune with their body.
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Research studies have indicated physical activity contributes to better memory capacity. In addition, the kung fu curriculum at Bamboo Kung Fu requires students to memorize the multiple combinations of techniques in a form or set.
At the same time, while practicing the forms, the children are exposed to its challenges. The children are presented with the experience so that they can learn to visualize and anticipated success ahead. Therefore, they learn the need to be disciplined, focused and muster the resolve to complete the presented challenging tasks.
Obviously, the training goals are very different across the age groups in our children kung fu program - ages between 6 years old and 12 years old, we expect different training goals across different ages. We adapt the program to the child’s ability and progress. We won’t force program expectations for a 12-year-old student on a 6-year-old student.
Belt and Motivation:
The common question we get from parents is “…how do you motivate the children in the program?”
Contrary to most martial arts program, we don’t use belt ranking as a way to motivate and keep the children’s interest in our kung fu program.
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Of course, issuing belts and certificates is a very lucrative way for martial arts schools to generate revenue. Fortunately, we have not relented to the lure of the revenue device yet!
From the perspective of an individual young student, belt ranking has its benefits namely, it helps to motivate the child to attain a visible achievement.
So, why not have a belt ranking system in our children’s martial art program?
In our view, earning belts as a way to visibly mark individual achievement is known as extrinsic motivation.
Extrinsic Motivation: It is a way to motivate a person to engage in an activity to gain a known external reward. The reward can be in form of trophies, praises, grades, recognitions, gifts, money, etc. The source of motivation arises from outside of the individual.
The person may or may not have an interest or have any enjoyment in the activity but, only want to gain external reinforcements i.e., trophies, recognition, praises or acclaims from people around the child. We believe in creating motivation from within an individual, an intrinsic motivation.
Intrinsic Motivation: The motivation is when an individual gains internal reward from the activity. For example, a child like to engage in the activity because he/she feels happy doing it, or enjoy doing it because it’s interesting, it makes them feel strong and gain a sense of achievement.
We are not discounting the benefits of extrinsic motivations. We use small extrinsic motivations to facilitate the learning process. For example, we lavish the kids with praises when they perform well in their activities – those are the small encouragements that we provide while in class…. and sometimes we can see celebratory fist pumps in the air!
From the point of view of long-term development, we feel that intrinsic motivations are more beneficial for children. This is definitely a more difficult proposition to get children to get motivated from within. Putting their minds and hearts into acquiring skills is most important in a child’s development.
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As a more permanent acknowledgment, our teachers/coach will nominate our children who performed well, to be selected as members of our performance team.
When children overcome small challenges, they feel empowered and realize that their goals are achievable. Consequently, they will be ready and feel confident to face more challenges ahead.
From the point of view of long-term development, we feel that intrinsic motivations are more beneficial for children. This is definitely a more difficult proposition for the teachers/coaches to get children to be motivated from within. We like to have the children understand and gain an appreciation of what and why things are done in a certain way.
Instilling biomechanics and posture
While in class, the children will learn to apply proper biomechanics and posture. This will help children to experience the power and appreciate the value of good technique while instilling in them, the movement pattern or habits for better leverage.
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We will use an example to illustrate the point. Consider the action of lifting a box from the floor and place it on the surface of a table. Most of us will pick up the box by just bending our backs with minimal knee bend. An occupational health and safety expert will advise you to bend your knees low enough and keep your back as upright as you can to lift the box to prevent injury.
However, if we as adults through our years of bad habits have been so conditioned with bending at our waist to pick up the box then, we will need to relearn to bend at our knees to pick up the box.
The point is to build good movement patterns from a young age so that the movement pattern is habitual. When the children reach adulthood, they are less susceptible to injury.
The habits instilled at a young age can help reduce injury risks and indirectly healthy activity.
Combat childhood obesity
In today’s age of mobile devices, tablets, our children’s lifestyle is more sedentary and of decreased attention span. Children who participate in physical activity programs tend to fare better in physical health and mental health. Not to mention the positive experiences in social skills and relationships with their peers.
Educate children about the importance of physical activities
We recommend parents educate their child or children on the benefits of physical training. Martial art is one of the best physical activities for children. It involves a wide repertoire of movement patterns, combinations, angles, planes.
We also recommend having discussions with children about the expectations of participation in a martial arts program. The program will be physically challenging at the same time it will be interesting and fun.
It is an investment which sets up the children to be healthy and confident adults.
- V Kandice Mah, MD, E Lee Ford-Jones, MD, Spotlight on middle childhood: Rejuvenating the ‘forgotten years’, Paediatrics & Child Health, Volume 17, Issue 2, February 2012, Pages 81–83, https://doi.org/10.1093/pch/17.2.81, available at https://academic.oup.com/ .... /17/2/81/2638838
- Patrick Z. Liu and Robin Nusslock, Exercise-Mediated Neurogenesis in the Hippocampus via BDNF, Front. Neurosci., 07 February 2018, https://doi.org/10.3389/fnins.2018.00052, available at https://www.frontiersin.org/... / fnins.2018.00052/full
- Anna Harwood, Michal Lavidor, Yuri Rassovsky, Reducing aggression with martial arts: A meta-analysis of child and youth studies, Aggression and Violent Behavior, Volume 34, May 2017, Pages 96-101, available at https://www.sciencedirect.com/.... /S1359178917300976?.... via_email
- Adele Diamond, Kathleen Lee, Interventions shown to Aid Executive Function Development in Children 4–12 Years Old, Science, 19 Aug 2011:Vol. 333, Issue 6045, pp. 959-964, available at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3159917/
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