Wednesday, February 15, 2017

How do YOU Teach Discipline and Respect?

Like many martial arts schools here in the United States, we have a kid's program, and it's usually much bigger than our adult classes.

I wish.

Martial arts study only appeals to a tiny fraction of adults, and the reason kids - and really, their parents - want to take martial arts is very different than what adults want out of taking classes.

Adult students are concerned about health benefits, personal safety, and personal growth. If they can have fun doing it, that'd be great.

For a kid's program, though, it's different.  Sure, physical fitness is always top of mind, and learning self defense is important, and we always try to have something fun going on. But we have to take a lot of other things into account, including:

  • Morals and Values
  • Personal discipline
  • Respecting others, adults, themselves
When you run a kid's program, you can't skip any of those elements.  And you have to keep in mind that the parents are as much a part of what you are doing as the kids are.

Thus, by necessity, kids classes lend themselves to a certain level of formality and structure that isn't usually necessary in an adult class.  Our classes at Mid-Cities Arnis are a little less authoritarian and hierarchical than other programs, but we still have these elements in place.

One thing parents want from us is that reinforcement of discipline and respect, and we must deliver on those in our classes.

I'll admit, I find that difficult on a personal level.  I'm really not much of an authoritarian by nature.  It takes a lot of energy on my part to keep on top of the issues around respect and discipline necessary for our classes.

I find it exhausting.

So help me out here.

I'm interested in the tools and techniques you use, if you teach kids, to teach discipline, morals and values, and respect as a part of your martial arts classes.

What do you emphasize?

What habits and rules do you have in your school - a process of bowing, how people are directed to speak to one another, and the like - to reinforce discipline and respect?

How are students expected to "live" the values you teach in your school? 

What are the positive and negative reinforcement techniques you use in your school to teach discipline and respect?

Let me know in the comments!