Hello Everyone, just wanted to talk a little about the Green Belt. This marks the first of the intermediate belts. With green belt comes your eligibility for sparring, as well. Sparring is where the students actually get to practice the punches and kicks they learn in a “live” situation. The focus of sparring is on improving during each session, respecting your training partners by not hurting them, and encouraging those that are just starting out. Sparring is HARD, there is no way around it, it was and will be hard for everyone, no one is immune. But, it’s also necessary. There are many schools that promote kids to Junior Black Belt without ever having sparred, this is not one of them. Sparring is the MOST IMPORTANT physical piece in the kid’s program for many reasons.
1) Facing fears..most kids start their sparring journey with a bit of fear. I guarantee this fear goes away if you stick with it. The more you spar the more comfortable you get and the fear starts to fade away.
2) Confidence building….Aside from the live floor grappling the kids do, sparring is as real as it gets when it comes to another person trying to punch and kick you. Consistently training live and feeling that intensity and sensation is phenomenal preparation for your reflexes and ability to pull the trigger if you ever have to. When a child sees themselves actually “scoring” they feel good about themselves, it allows them to realize, “wow I really did that.”
3) The learning and implementing process…this is a huge one. When it comes to the striking curriculum for the kids, they learn a bunch of combos, blocks, counters, etc. But, until they are allowed to spar, all they get to do is practice the kicks and punches in the mirror and by themselves. Often times, they can’t connect that this is specifically for scoring a point in sparring or not getting kicked in the head. Don’t get me wrong, solo practice is necessary to sharpen the technique; but, by green belt they need to connect the pieces of what we’re doing and the only way is sparring.
4) The fact that it’s hard and using physical to teach the mental…
I use sparring to make the kid’s realize that they don’t have to quit every time something is hard in the beginning. The majority of our Junior Black Belts really struggled with sparring. Some of my best teaching moments came from watching students struggle with sparring for YEARS and then one day it clicked because they put in the work and the hours and overcame the frustration. They learn they are more resilient than they thought and are able to persevere when they struggle , two extremely important qualities to have “4life.”
See you all soon!