Our Aims and Teaching Methods
In our Kids Classes we deliver a unique mix of fun, games and martial arts. The principle aim at Cambridge Kung Fu is to teach all of our students to be able to co-ordinate and control their bodies and minds, to have good balance and core strength, to believe in themselves and their ability to learn, solve problems and be able to adapt to change in a successful way. We do this through the medium of martial arts and movement practice.
Our aim for the children who attend our classes, is that what they learn will transcend our classes; we hope that our students will be able to transfer the skills they learn and apply them appropriately in all aspects of their lives. We believe this is much more likely to happen if the values we are aiming to instill are supported in all aspects of their lives and not just in Kung Fu class. The aim is that Kung Fu practise becomes a way of life, not simply an after school or weekend activity.
Our children's classes are structured in what you will probably see as a 'non-traditional' martial arts way. However the entire 'belt' ranking system that people associate with martial arts is in fact a very modern invention, for the vast majority of the history of martial arts there was no such distinction, you simply trained. The belt system was introduced by the Japanese and Koreans as a way of motivating students to continue training, as they realised, quite correctly, that by dividing up big goals into smaller more manageable chunks more people would make progress. This is the principle reason for Karate, Judo and Tae Kwon Do being the most popular martial arts in the world, because the masters of these systems were the most educationally inclusive and progressive.
However this system was developed initially for adults not for children, it was retro-fitted for children. From our experience, and ongoing research into children's education, we feel that a rotational syllabus that engages all of the class all of the time, serves to keep the children motivated (the principle reason for the belt system) whilst optimising the potential for entire class focus. We aim to provide personal and structural role models for essential life skills like focus and so currently this is the best system we have found for achieving this goal.
As a parent it is also important for you to understand that the reality is that children progress at different rates, at different times. We have students, who are now taking their GCSE's, that started as young children. Some of these teenagers were not the most talented initially and for some it took many years for their mind and body to form an intelligent relationship but now they are, without exception, talented. This is because they possessed perseverance. The scientifically validated reason for this is that intelligent hard work will always over take 'natural talent' in the long run (in fact this is the definition of Kung Fu). If you would like to understand this more, we recommend you read Malcolm Gladwell's amazing book; 'Outliers'.
All of the Cambridge Kung Fu children's programmes have been uniquely designed by the instructor team in Cambridge and all of our syllabus and games have been created or adapted by us, using our knowledge of martial arts and education. We feel that this has enabled us to do something different from what is generally available and thought of as children's martial arts, or indeed children's activities in general.
We believe that if the children are enjoying an activity they will want to work hard at it and their progress in that activity becomes inevitable. Our classes have a clear progression from Micro Monkeys through to Junior Warriors and on into the Youth and Adults programmes. As the children progress through our classes from the Micro Monkeys to the Junior Warriors we gradually alter the mix of games and more formalised martial arts practice in order to prepare them for Youth Kung Fu where they will be studying Wing Chun Kung Fu.
In our younger classes we put more emphasis on play and fun whilst challenging the kids in ways that help them learn unconsciously. While our older classes carry this forward, we also put more emphasis on working hard to achieve specific goals. For example an awareness of themselves and their surroundings; one of the most important Self Defence lessons of all.
As the kids get older we teach them longer martial arts forms that are more technically difficult in order to challenge them and help them to see how working hard at something over time brings rewards. We have found that children who have attended our Kids Classes develop excellent focus and discipline and challenge themselves to work hard, these children are then more than prepared to begin Youth Kung Fu with us when they reach the age of 11. It is at this point where explicit self defence training becomes one of the core principles.