Kids are a bundle of energy! And that is beautiful and wonderful thing! The question is, how are the expressing the energy?
While we believe every kid can benefit from Kung-Fu training, we recognize that some kids thrive better in less structured sports, like soccer or basketball. We’re not saying that there isn’t any structure in those sports, but in general, it is all about playing the game, which is a very free-form activity.
Kung-Fu for kids is a HIGHLY structured activity! Practically every step is commanded. Step 1 - move here! Step 2 - move there! Step 3 - move here! Okay, show us the 3 steps! Good job! You get a stripe on your belt! You have leveled up and are now ready for Step 4.
Some kids really love this structured approach. Some kids may not realize that they love it, but then end up doing very well with it, because they can channel all their energy into the steps.
The structured approach builds a lot of awareness and mindfulness. It is a very visceral way to connect the mind and body.
Some kids absolutely love it. Some kids absolutely need it. But……..some kids really hate it. And we understand, and have accepted the reality that this form of learning and channeling kids’ energy is not for everyone. Some kids need to run around. Some kids require a more fluid-free form environment. And that is OKAY!!
Both develop the brain and body, but in slightly different ways. The more free form approach develops problem-solving skills, and a high level of gross motor strength. The structured approach develops more cognitive ability, and higher levels of finer motor strength (kind of like playing an instrument - except the instrument is your body).
Our focus on the structure has been very helpful to kids who may have challenges with attention, because everything has it’s place, and they feel the reward of putting things in their place.
The interesting thing is, after a level of proficiency and fluency has been developed, it can turn into more of a sport, where movements are done in a randomized, free flowing way. However, in Kung-Fu, it takes awhile to get there, because of the complexity of the coordination. Also, because it is combat, it is important that the kids know how to control their movements, before they engage in randomized drills and exercises with each other.
But generally, if someone has practiced Kung-Fu long enough to get to that stage, they already love the structured approach to the training, and crave it! They want more!