8 Ninja Teaching Tips For Parents | 4GK Martial Arts
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Danna Davis

My 6 year old son has been attending Ninja class at 4GK since August 2018. He loves it and I do too! He loves the skills and games and I love the discipline he is learning. I’ve spoken with a child-behavior doc about what he gets to do in class and the doc was *thrilled*. It’s clear that he believes in the philosophies Sifu and Miss Heidi teach about the importance of play and physical activity for children for all aspects of their development.

Jen Robinson

I took a kickboxing class and it was amazing. I was so pumped and ready to take on the day. Everyone was super nice and the routine was so much fun I would definitely recommend and be back for more!!!

Laura Miller - Owner, Little People's Center reviewed 4GK Martial Arts
5
via Facebook

Had the pleasure of visiting Heidi at 4GK Martial Arts and observing both her EARLY SKILLZ for children ages 3-4 and MOMMY AND ME class for children 18 months and up. The children are guided through the basics of martial arts with hands on gross motor activities set at their own individual pace. It was a pleasure to see.

Di Trudden reviewed 4GK Martial Arts
5
via Facebook

My daughter completed her first group class tonight and I could not be a prouder or happier mama right now! Heidi Burmann and Raquel made Lily feel welcome and were so patient with her as she was learning the kicks and routines. I am so happy that we discovered a healthy and fun new hobby for Lily! If you are looking for an affordable place where your little one can learn and grow then 4GK is for you!

Everyone knows I have been on my own little health journey creating Our Mommy Movement and finding new ways to exercise. I signed up for kick boxing classes through 4GK and am really excited to try them out! Seeing how patient and kind the staff was with Lily I don’t have to worry about being surrounded by people who will judge me while I try to keep up with the moves.

Tina Dos Reis reviewed 4GK Martial Arts
5
via Facebook

Great school and awesome team! Everyone is extremely friendly. My nephew Sebastian just loves his Extreme Skill class and after watching the team work together, I decided to try the kickboxing class. Frank put the entire class through a great workout! I can't wait to lose weight and build muscle. It's just the change I was looking for! Thank you 4GK!

Jennie D'Ambroise reviewed 4GK Martial Arts
5
via Facebook

Great school! Adult kung fu classes are approachable for all levels. You will learn a lot and you will work hard. Sifu and your fellow students will help you to improve and you will make great friends. Kickboxing classes will also kick your butt. Women, train here, you are welcome at all classes and the atmosphere is friendly and supportive.

Tommy Aliberti reviewed 4GK Martial Arts
5
via Facebook

This has always been a home away from home! Very much a family, and I have been part of this system for 18 years! Great values, hard work, and many lessons to be learned every time, which I have taken with me in the ring, and in everyday life! 5 Star recommendation!

Donnie Keegan reviewed 4GK Martial Arts
5
via Facebook

My daughter has been studying here for, two months shy of, three years. She still loves it! I my self have decided to join. Love the staff. they are constantly innovating and improving,both the structure of the school and its teachings. I can only hope to improve myself to the degree in which my daughter has been improved herself! Absolutely top notch school!

Rachel Ramsey Weir reviewed 4GK Martial Arts
5
via Facebook

We have had a great experience in the last year that our son has been attending 4GK. He has become more disciplined in his actions, his body has been strengthened and he knows the rewards of hard work. The dedication of the staff is evident in each class. It is clearly a labor of love!

Cheryl Anne reviewed 4GK Martial Arts
5
via Facebook

Fantastic staff !!!!!!!!!! Fantastic fun classes, they know you're name, they know how to make you work while you happily sweat toward a better you !

Katie Bacigalupo reviewed 4GK Martial Arts
5
via Facebook

LOVE the kick boxing class! It is such a great work out and fun at the same time! I always feel great afterwards and can't wait to get back to the next class!

Michelle McCann reviewed 4GK Martial Arts
5
via Facebook

Great atmosphere, awesome staff and incredible workout! Love it!!

Victoria Ingoglia reviewed 4GK Martial Arts
5
via Facebook

I absolutely love the atmosphere. It's clean, friendly n very challenging. I've given some awful dirty looks while stressed n I get high fives later. High intensity fire burning workouts keeps me motivated!!

Rebecca Manzella reviewed 4GK Martial Arts
5
via Facebook

4GK is excellent! I signed up my son for Basic Skillz just a few weeks after his 4th birthday. He loves coming to class to see his fellow ninjas and I really enjoy watching him learn new skills. In a short time, I had already noticed a behavior improvement while in a group setting and the two half hour classes a week are perfect for his attention span. Thank you Miss Heidi and the rest of the staff for your patience and influence on Neil.

Dawn-Marie Francois reviewed 4GK Martial Arts
5
via Facebook

The school is great!!! Classes are manageable and they push you to do your best. Staff is friendly and patient.

Frank Gil reviewed 4GK Martial Arts
5
via Facebook

I wanted to make a change in my life. I was stagnant, not active and unhappy honestly. One day my brother and friend convinced me to take a class at 4gk. That was years ago and thousands of punches and kicks ago and I love it every bit now as I did that first class. The instructors are amazing, knowledgeable, and were always willing to work with me at my level. I've spent a lot of time here and find no matter how my day has been I can't help but smile when I walk through the 4gk doors. It's a great environment for people who want to challange themselves and grow and there is no place else I'd rather be

Roseann Wander Walsh reviewed 4GK Martial Arts
5
via Facebook

I absolutely love it there. Everyone is very welcoming and make you feel very comfortable. I've done kickboxing at several other place and all the people there were very clicky I am very comfortable here and would recommend it to everyone.

Kimberly Lago reviewed 4GK Martial Arts
5
via Facebook

My oldest daughter has been coming here for a year. We fell in love immediately after seeing how wonderful the staff is with working with children of all ages. My second daughter was dying to be in a class also. As soon as she turned 3 we gave it a try and she has blossomed. Seemingly shy I was curious to see how her first class type activity would be. She loved it. Just waiting for daughter number three to be old enough because she is only two, but already feels like she belongs. We absolutely love it.

Shannon Marr reviewed 4GK Martial Arts
5
via Facebook

I love this place. Everyone is super friendly and makes you feel like a part of the family. I get constant encouragement to keep going. And when I had sprained my ankle and couldn't come for awhile, they worked with me financially and kept sending me encouraging messages to take it easy and get better. I get the best work outs and never any judgements.

Leianne Marques reviewed 4GK Martial Arts
5
via Facebook

4GK is an awesome school. The entire staff treats you like family. I take the kickboxing and skillz fit classes. The encouragement and motivation you get from the instructors makes you feel like you can achieve your goals, do anything you want, even if your first instinct is to say no when they all you to do something. I accomplish something in every class and have learned to think yes I can instead of there is no way I can.... the instructors break things down so you can easily understand each move. Everyone is made to feel important and special in each class, no one is left out. I can't imagine going anywhere else.

Linda Cummings reviewed 4GK Martial Arts
5
via Facebook

We just started the mini skillz program a couple of months ago. I admit, after being in the free play, no rules music program for the entire spring, my 2 yr old granddaughter was starting to rebel against listening. The first day of class I was almost in tears after five minutes when I realized how bad her behavior had gotten without structure. I'm so glad I stuck it out though. The second class was a joy, with her listening intently and using her brain. Miss Heidi has the patience of a saint. She is also on top of age appropriate skills and stresses them at each class. We've learned taking turns, following direction, jumping, kicking and punching, and many, many other useful things. She loves going to her class twice a week and I truly love taking her. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend these wonderful people and this fantastic school to anyone.

Danielle Hulse Maloney reviewed 4GK Martial Arts
5
via Facebook

My two sons have been coming here since December 2016. They absolutely love it & have THRIVED since coming! The older one suffers from anxiety & general fear, he has since built up tremendous confidence & has learned to verbalize any issues he may be having. The younger one is a ball of energy that needed direction & a release, he has achieved focus & better listening skills. The staff is AMAZING! They are welcoming, accommodating & listen to any issues you have whether it be with them, the class or your children. I could go to any of them & speak with them about ANYTHING & feel very comfortable doing so. Si Fu teaches the class in a low-key, fun manner that has the children engaged AND having fun at the same time, it's not the typical militant style. We received a military discount since my husband is a former marine AND ... They run a monthly themed Parents Night Out that gives parents a break without their kids from 7:30-10:00! I am thrilled that we found them & highly suggest to anybody looking for a martial arts school to check them out!

Yaoska Fleming reviewed 4GK Martial Arts
5
via Facebook

Great team! My daughter loves the school. She has learned so much since she started a year ago. I am so happy I found this place. I am so grateful for Ms. Heidi, Sifu Mike and all the team. Their love and dedication is shown in every class. Good job!!

Neil Manzella reviewed 4GK Martial Arts
5
via Facebook

I highly recommend 4GK to anyone considering Martial Arts for their children or themselves. The staff has been doing an amazing job with my 4 year old son. He has a safe and fun outlet for some of his endless energy supply and the staff do a great job keeping all of the students involved, active, and engaged in the classes activities. My son loves it and looks forward to it every week!

Christina Annessa reviewed 4GK Martial Arts
5
via Facebook

We just started a month ago and my kids are in love & can't get enough of it. Everyday they ask do they have class. Its great for all ages and I really like that they split them up. My daughter is 5 and is learning age appropriate skills while in the next class my 8 year is learning different things. The staff is super friendly and always accommodates our needs. I absolutely love the fun nights they do as well, the kids get to hang out & have fun while I get to relax a bit a home. Overall very satisfied with this program.

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8 Ninja Teaching Tips For Parents

With schools and other activities closing due to the coronavirus outbreak, many parents are finding themselves filling the roles of teacher, coach, guidance counselor, and hall monitor as the kids try to continue their studies in the home learning environment.

The first few days were likely an exciting new adventure, but as we continue to try to balance working from home, maintaining the needs of the household, and serving as the frontline for our kids’ education, it is likely that we will experience new stresses.  Kids who sit still for their teachers or listen to their martial arts coaches may not want to exhibit the same studious behaviors for their parents.And if there are siblings involved, you may even find yourself serving as a referee as battle ensues.

Fear not, we are here to help!

It is important to remember that you most likely do not have the training that educators have and that kids will naturally exhibit their worst behaviors around you because they feel safest expressing their frustrations, fears, and desires to those who love them the most.

Your homeschooling adventure does not have to be a perfect recreation of the classroom or dojo, it only has to encourage kids to love learning.  Once you relieve yourself of this burden, things will be much easier.

That said, it is important that you have the tools needed to help kids get the most out of the time spent with you as their new teacher.  The instructors at 4GK Martial Arts in Patchogue go through extensive training to be able to keep students engaged and enthusiastic, while also moderating behaviors. Read on to see how you can use some of our favorite teaching tips in your own home.

Here are 8 Teaching SKILLZ our Pediatric Ninja Specialists use in every class to help keep kids engaged in the learning experience:

1. Healthy Competition
Competition no doubt helps students of all levels step up their game, and if you prompt competition for your lessons in a fun way that splits the class into teams then it’s not only healthy – it’s FUN too!  If you have multiple children, this can be as simple as seeing who can draw the most number of triangles in 30 seconds.

If you have a single child, or your kids have a broad age gap, you may have to step in as the competition.  Kids love seeing adults in agony.  Just think of the shows your kids watch, and when they laugh the most; usually it’s an adult getting hurt or making a mistake.

Challenge them that if they can write their sentences in 5 minutes or less, you will do 5 push-ups, but if they take more than 5 minutes THEY will have to do the push-ups.  This is not about punishment, it is about FUN (and the extra boost of endorphins will help break the stress).

2. Choices
When your kids get to choose the activity at hand, they become more motivated to put forth greater effort.  Kids tend to feel as if they have little control over their lives, and this can lead to some major tantrums.  As parents, we sometimes don’t trust our kids with control because they will make less than favorable decisions.  Stripes and polka dots!?! No Way!

By providing choices, we let the kids feel a sense of control over their lives.  This is important for their development as someday they WILL have to be the one making the decisions.  It is even more important for their mental well-being as they are trapped at home, isolated from their friends because of social distancing practices.

When setting up the lessons for the day, have the flexibility to provide your child with a choice.  If you tell them spelling is next, you may get pushback.  But if you ask whether they’d like to do spelling first or math first, they will feel empowered; and since both of the choices you provided were acceptable options, your own stress levels will go down, as well.

3. Re-directing
We can all agree that many kids will not have the very best discipline all the time. To increase the level of discipline and effort in class, it is important that we are constantly catching and rewarding students that are trying hard and leading by example. The simple act of setting your kids up for success is the key to maximizing good behavior in class.

A great way to do this is to focus on what is going right rather than what is going wrong.  For example, imagine you have two siblings, and one is on task but the other is dawdling.  Most of us would try to correct the dawdler.  Instead, praise what you like about the focused child.  “I love how focused you are, Johny!  That shows me that you are a person with good discipline.”  A natural reaction will be for your other child to seek similar praise by modeling the behavior you said you liked.

You can also use a similar technique for a single child.  The goal is to “catch them being good.”  When you see the behavior you want, even if it is for a split second, praise it.  This works even better if they don’t think you are watching.  It is a slow process, but you will actually start rewiring their brains to exhibit those positive behaviors.

4. Trickery
Trickery is a humorous way to help build focus, engagement, and connection. The concept is to try and trick your students into ‘going’ or ‘starting’ by using words that sound like the word ‘go!’

We use this in class mainly for physical movement activities.  For example, when starting a martial arts drill that has two or more teams competing against one another, we may count down, “Ready…Set…. GOOSE!” The kids get a laugh, it breaks the tension, and encourages them to be ready to perform, but not to over anticipate.

You might use a similar bit of trickery when encouraging your kids to see who can collect the most amount of different kinds of leaves in 2 minutes.

Side Note – thinking outside the box about conveying lessons is also a subtle form of trickery akin to sneaking onions into the meatloaf.  Collecting different leaves can teach about shapes, math, biodiversity, or even cooking if they are edible leaves.  Not every lesson needs to be about notes and textbooks.

5. Up the Rep
Most students become tired towards the last few reps of an activity, particularly in high rep drills, or activities which include a lot of physical or mental exertion. With that said, this tip includes a strategy for prompting mental toughness throughout each rep, so that the student becomes better at every rep.

If your child has to write a set of spelling words 5 times each, it is likely that penmanship will decline and errors will increase as the child goes through the motions.  One way to use the Up The Rep concept would be to encourage the child to have the first set of words be the sloppiest and worst spelled, the next set a bit neater, and so on until the last set of words is the neatest and best.

This provides them an achievable goal beyond simply completing the assignment, and helps them learn to practice mindfully rather than just going through the motions.

6. Neurobics
Basically, the concept is to get the left and right hemispheres of the brain working together by challenging the brain to ‘think’ more during lessons. This improves cognitive performance, which is how well a student can think and remember what they learned in class.

In the martial arts environment, we will perform exercises while counting by colors, or count our repetitions with names of foods.  The reason this works is twofold.  First, the addition of physical movement to the activity increases blood flow to the brain, which carries additional oxygen and nutrients to improve cognition.  Second, by forcing the brain to think in unique ways, neurological activity spikes, which allows the brain to take in more of those nutrients.

By reciting vocabulary words while doing jumping jacks, for example, the increased neurological activity helps make the memory more concrete. As a bonus, the endorphins that are released during physical activity help reinforce that learning is a positive activity.

7. Intrinsic Motivation
This concept works by giving the kids options for performance, and then they chose the hardest option because they want to.  We use this in our martial arts classes with great success.  This tool works best if you can tie it to a character trait that the child wants to exhibit naturally.

For example, if a child has to write an essay, you could give them three options about how long that essay will be.  This is similar to the Choices tool mentioned above, and it is empowering for the kids to have some control.  By then tying each level of choice to a level of awesomeness, the kids will more likely choose to perform at the highest level.

“For your ELA homework, you have to write an essay about how much you love martial arts.  Now, if you want to have good writing skills, you’ll write three paragraphs.  But if you want to have rockstar writing skills, you’ll write four paragraphs.  And if you want to have super ninja black belt writing skills, you’ll write five paragraphs.”

Make sure that all three levels are acceptable for the assignment, and within the stage of development for your child.  Don’t prompt the kindergartner to write 5 paragraphs, because no matter how super ninja they want to be, it is unrealistic.

8. Extrinsic Motivation
This concept is when a person puts forth greater effort based on external rewards such as prizes, praise, making others happy, etc.  It is easy to overuse this concept, so be mindful of how you apply it.

This one is the simplest.  “If you do your homework, you can have ice cream.”

We’ve all bribed our kids at least once in our parenting lives.  To make this tool even more effective while maintaining a healthy boundary of control, tie it together with one of the other 7 ideas.  Instead of, “If X then Y,” try something like, “If you can get your art homework done in 15 minutes, you can have ice cream and I’ll do 5 push-ups.”  Or, “If you finish your science packet by 10:30am, you will get to choose the movie tonight.”

By tying multiple ninja teaching techniques together, you can create a learning environment that is full of fun, but which also encourages kids to love learning.  Remember, when all else fails, step away from the kitchen table and find a way to have fun.  To a child, play is the path to knowledge, experience, and wisdom.  If you can make the lessons fun and interactive, there will be less stress for everyone involved.

Let us know which Ninja Teaching Tool worked best for you!

 

Author: Michael A Evans

Michael is a 6th-degree black sash under his teacher, Moises Arocho, and has been training in martial arts since 1985. Michael has a degree in Massage Therapy from NY College of Health Professions. He is the co-owner of 4GK Martial Arts in Patchogue, NY, which is a childhood development facility using martial arts as a vehicle for kids’ growth and success.  Michael is also the Lead Consultant for Skillz Worldwide