Character Development wasn’t really talked about when we were kids. The world we live in now is very different to what we grew up with and the information that children are exposed to can be downright scary. Everything seems to be accesible online and the standards of what’s acceptable on TV and Radio has dropped considerably in just a couple of decades. The influence of advertising, pop culture and peer pressure has increased with easy access to social media… Hence Character Development has become an important issue when raising children.
KICKS Martial Arts has introduced Character Development and Leadership Programs into our training schedule. We believe it’s important to nuture the Body, Mind and Spirit in everyone so it’s our duty to help instill good character traits into our students.
Throughout the year our program covers many different character traits and explores them in detail to show the positives when they are present and the negatives when they are missing. We will be covering the following list on and off the training mats:
KICKS Character Development Lesson Plans
Each week we will focus on one of these character traits and explore it’s meaning. We will look at examples and discuss how it affects others when it is present or missing in various situations. We’ll look at real situations that your children raise as examples to get them to fully understand and relate the meaning with the actions.
Over each week we will look at examples of good and bad situations. Sometimes seeing the opposite can help reinforce why it is so important. Children seem to love acting and playing pretend so we do role playing to further test their understanding.
Our Youth Need Good Character Development
As I mentioned earlier children are exposed to a lot more information than we were and it’s difficult for busy parents to monitor all of the different media that influences children’s behaviour. This is why we find it so important to do our part and help teach children positive character development so they understand why they should be polite and respectful, why knowledge and growth are important, why humility, self-control and perseverence will reward them in their future.
We want to make sure that young children have the confidence and strength of character to do the right things and ignore peer pressure to do the bad things. Strong character development flows though into our Leadership Program where we teach them how to be leaders and not blind followers. We want them to think for themselves and to do what they know is right in their heart with high moral values.
Character Development Is A Foundation Of Martial Arts Training
There is a lot more to Martial Arts for Kids than kicking and punching. Yes, that’s the fun stuff and all the children love hitting the focus pads and kick sheilds. Their eyes light up when they get to perform their self defence techniques on our Adult Instructors. However the physical side is just that, it’s only one side of the system. Proper Martial Arts training also strengthens the Mind and the Spirit.
It is not always easy learning new techniques. trying to get your body to do things it hasn’t done before takes patience and perservernce. Failing but never giving up takes humility and courage. Working with others at different skill levels takes self-control and respect. Listening to the Instructor requires courtesy and obedience. The long journey to gain a Black Belt requires loyalty and integrity. All of this character development occurs naturally in their minds as they train on the mats, but they also stay locked in their mind and guide their actions when they are off the mats.
This is why many employers will hire people that have gained a Martial Arts Black Belt over another candidate. They know the dedication and work ethic required to get that belt level and they know that person has the right character traits to succeed at any task given to them.
Developing Good Habits
They say it takes doing a task 20x to form a new habit. By attending KICKS after school the children are setting good habits that continue outside of KICKS and will stay with them for life.
When we pick them up from school they know to meet at a certain location of the school and to wait patiently until eveyone arrives and they can be loaded onto our KICKS Coutesy Bus. Then when they arrive at KICKS they know to either get changed into their training gear or to enter their designated study space to do their homework. They know that they have to spend time studying and training before they get to play with their friends.
The routines at KICKS set them up with good study habits that help in the early stages of school. The habit of studying straight after school before taking time to relax and play with friends is something that will raise them above average in their later academic life. While other children procrastinate and kill time after school watching TV, listening to music or playing video games, the children in KICKS are staying focussed on improving their knowledge to succeed in any area they set their mind to.
Positive Reinforcement Removes Fear Of Failure
We encourage children to get involved and do their best. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses but we teach them that it is OK to make a mistake as long as you learn from it and continue to try again and keep improving. The motto “Never Give Up” relates to every aspect of life.
Sadly, in our modern World many children learn to give up quickly to avoid embarassment or ridicule from their peers and to never try again. The negative reactions from peers slows or stops their growth and sets false limits in their mind. We aim to reverse this by encouraging them to always try, to do new things outside of their comfort zone, to learn from any failure.
“A Black Belt Is Just A White Belt That Never Gave Up”
It is great seeing shy children blossum as they progress through our program after school program of martial arts, character development and leadership studies. Children that would normally hide in the background and avoid any public attention transform and confidently perform martial arts techniques and forms in front of a room full of parents at our gradings.
Instead of giving up on difficult school subjects saying “I’m no good at maths” they change their attitude to say “This is something that I can learn to do if I keep working at it”. Their mindset becomes becomes their key to success.