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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A lesson from the TinyTribes Kung Fu class....

Today, in my TinyTribes class (3, 4, & 5 year old children), it was "300 Day". Their goal was to stay focused, alert, and participative in 100 punches (from a horse stance), 100 jumping jack, and 100 instep kicks. I told them "If you all participated and did *all* the techniques, you can say you did 300 things in 30 minutes!
Granted, there were a few interruptions, like "Sifu.....last time at the daycare, I got my toenail painted...." (amazing how kicks can bring up memories like that!). But, they did all the techniques! Instead of doing 100 punches straightaway, we did set of 10 on each exercise....always pointing out how close we were getting to 300 techniques.
So far, I've had many comments come in, like "Wow! They did that?" or "300 things for the tots! In 30 minutes?? Wow! Quite the achievement!" Yes, it IS quite the achievement for tots. grownups can do great achievements like that too. As adults, shouldn't we be able to do such things? Let's take a lesson from our little ones....
  • Perception: The kids had actually no clue what the concept of "100" or "300" meant. They knew it was a number, they knew it was a lot of numbers, but they didn't let the numbers interfere with what they knew they could do. They didn't think it was going to be difficult at all. For them, its was "just punching", "just kicking", and "just jumping". As adults, if we think "100 pushups",  we think of the repititions, the tired sore muscles, and the possibility of not meeting the goal. Don't let the numbers nag you, they're just numbers!
  • Initiative: When the tots just stood there watching others, they were reminded that standing there watching others wasn't the same as participating. If they didn't do all ten of say....a set of 10 punches, they would have to choose to take the initiative to"make up" the punches after everyone else was done with their own punches, or sit out and not meet the goal (an award ribbon). I see this sometimes, in group situations where adults must work together for a project. Sometimes, a group might have a few individuals that will allow the rest of the group to do the work, or not submit ideas or feedback for fear of being ridiculed or just being shy....but they're not afraid to take credit for being on the group that made the project a success. Don't be afraid to jump in to those cooperative group projects.....after all, the very worst that could happen is that your idea is not used. That's okay! Try not to be the wallflower that has the rest of the group do your part of the work.
  • Set the goal in your mind so that you can see it, hold it, smell it, taste it, etc.: I displayed the award ribbons during the class so the kids could see what they could take home and show their parents and be proud of. I allowed them to hold them for a few seconds, then stated that if they are successfull, I would "autograph" their ribbons so they knew how special their achievement was. They were sooooo excited.
  • Be realistic: One of the kids said "I can do a a bajillion of the jumping jacks all at once!!"  Remember, the kids had no concept of 100, 1,000, or even a bajillion. So of course, they knew they could do it. However, after class, I said, "How about a one-thousand day? That's like doing what we did today, 10 more times!!". Then, they said "Wow, that's a lot!"    As grownups, its great if we think we can do anything, but be realistic in your goals. Set your goals in steps....that way, you won't be disappointed when your ultimate goal isn't met after only a mere few weeks.
"The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step"!
- Lao Tzu


Rick said...

When I trained in aikido, "to start the year off right" during the first class of the year, we'd do 365 back break falls. Oh the memories!

Frank said...

I hope your back is healing well... Really good blog!

Restita, Seattle Wushu Center said...

Frank, thank you for the well wishes. So far so good, I can actually move my back a little more freely now!