Children between the ages of 3 and 4 years old are in a very distinct growing stage, where every day presents new challenges and exciting discoveries. Their emotions, physical capabilities, and social competence are being shaped at such a rapid pace that they often struggle with things such as controlling their bodies, listening to parents, and caring for others.
That is where the Lil’ Ninjas Program comes into play. Our program is based on scientific and psychological studies along with decades of Martial Arts experience to bring out the best in our students: physically, emotionally, and socially with every class.
Physically: The Lil’ Ninjas Program focuses on 8 physical skills including: lower body coordination (kicking), upper body coordination (punching), blocking, crawling, hopping, rolling, running, and catching. Each of the 8 skills has been broken down into age-appropriate drills and games that progressively become more challenging.
Emotionally: Our instructors know how to meet the unique needs of each individual, and are trained to reinforce proper behavior with little or no disciplinary action. We have established a positive learning atmosphere that makes learning and growing fun. Maintaining a positive attitude and high level of self esteem is crucial in developing skill.
Socially: The traditions of the Martial Arts help students bond together and work as a team. Examples include answering the instructor in unison, bowing to others, and understanding the belt and skill bar structure.
We use the Martial Arts approach to building their skills through these drills. The approach includes reinforcing good discipline, displaying confidence, and maintaining a positive attitude. Technical Martial Arts training is very limited when it comes to traditional moves and techniques. We reserve that portion of development for the older children who have set a clear foundation of what we consider the preliminary requirements to martial arts training.
With this in mind, we want to reinforce that Martial Arts training extends way beyond kicking and punching. That’s why it may appear that your child is not learning enough Martial Arts in class, but the fact is they really are. The customary discipline protocol is Martial Arts. This includes standing at attention when commanded, responding with respect by saying “yes sir” and “yes ma’am”, bowing to the mat, to the instructors, and to each other, and maintaining a positive attitude. With professional Martial Artists as the role-model instructors, and the mixture of fun games and activities with basic kicks, strikes, and blocks during class, your child’s first exposure to Martial Arts training will generate results!
Introduction to the Lil’ Ninjas Program
This program was designed to target age-specific skills for children between the ages of 3 and 4 years old. This program was designed to introduce early skills training to the pre-school age group, which has limited physical, intellectual, social, and emotional abilities. Emphasis is placed on building early fundamental skills training with a strategic balance of Martial Arts.
Here’s a brief overview of how the program works:
There are 8 Lil’ Ninja skills that each student must develop continuously as they advance in rank. The skills are as follows:
The 8 skills are taught individually so that a student training two times per week will work on all 8 skills over a course of four weeks.
The testing cycle is a total of 10 weeks, 8 weeks to cover each skill twice with 2 weeks of review to ensure proper development before testing.
The students’ goal is to develop the necessary challenges per skill.
As the student accomplishes each skill requirement, the student will earn a skill bar. It is possible to earn the same colored skill bar multiple times.
The student’s goal is to collect all 8 skill bar colors within the 10 week testing cycle in order to test for the next rank.
As each student earns their new, they will proceed to earn all 8 skills stripes based on the next belt requirements per the testing chart.
After reaching the rank of Ninja Black, the student will begin preparing to graduate from the Lil’ Ninja program and to enter the Tigers’ program.
The goal of the Lil’ Ninjas program is to build the proper foundation for our 3 and 4 year olds to become emotionally stronger, physically fit, and mentally disciplined martial art athletes. Each student that completes the program will have met the appropriate standards and will be qualified to move into our Tigers program designed for 5 and 6 year olds - even if the student is not yet 5 years old.
The Lil’ Ninjas Belt Structure
The Lil’ Ninjas program has a total of 9 belts evenly divided by experience level: Level 1 Beginners, Level 2 Intermediates, and Level 3 Advanced. For each experience level, the curriculum assembles a format that utilizes similar skill application techniques, but varies in the level of difficulty from belt to belt.
Here’s the Lil’ Ninjas Belt Structure:
Level 1 Beginners Belt Ranks:
Ninja White Belt
Ninja Orange Belt
Ninja Yellow Belt
Level 2 Intermediate Belt Ranks:
Ninja Green Belt
Ninja Blue Belt
Ninja Purple Belt
Level 3 Advanced Belt Ranks:
Ninja Red Belt
Ninja Brown Belt
Ninja Black Belt
Your role as a parent
Self-esteem is very important in a child’s everyday life. Self-esteem refers to how a person feels about themselves. To a 3 and 4 year old, self-esteem is something that they personally do not understand, but experience crossroads with everyday.
Self-esteem plays an important role in how well children learn and grow. Studies have shown that children who think very little of themselves may do inadequately socially, emotionally, at school, and in extracurricular activities. At the same token, those children who truly believe in themselves can really excel.
Here are 3 easy steps to help your child “learn” self-esteem:
Avoid using the word “can’t”. When a child uses the word can’t, he or she is expressing that they “don’t know how to” or “they don’t want to”. Once they say the word “I can’t” they usually do not put any effort into the task at hand. Showing the child how to work through challenges, or showing the positive out of doing something will prove to be a very important lesson that they will need throughout their life.
Always have positive expectations for your child. If you express to your child that you believe they can do something, then they will probably think so too. Keep in mind that your positive expectations need to be age-appropriate and attainable. You must also backup your support by working with them to achieve their goals. Avoid giving up on your encouragement and efforts to help them. By showing consistency in your support, you will create consistency in their effort and attitude.
Teach your child how to see the positive side of his or her inadequacy. When your child is unsuccessful, help him or her discover from errors. Ask thought provoking questions such as “what would you do differently next time?” or “what do you think you need to work on to do even better?” Also let them know that you are proud of their efforts by saying things such as “you are already successful because you are showing courage by trying”. Reinforcement like this can make a big difference in how your child perceives challenges.
Congratulations on your decision to enroll your child in the Lil’ Ninjas Program! We are confident that your child will enjoy our classes, and have wonderful experiences. Within weeks of your child’s training, you will notice measurable results!