The Secret Behind our teaching philosophy: Fun! | Gentle East Martial Arts
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Erin Elam reviewed Gentle East Martial Arts
5
via Facebook

I can’t explain just how amazing this place is! My daughter was born at just 23 weeks, 1lb. She just turned 3, and is doing well but had a long bumpy road. With said, she has some visual impairments, mild cerebral palsy, and severe anxiety issues. We are four classes in now, and although my daughter cries each time we get to the school, the instructors (every single one) ALWAYS treat her like their own and take their time with her. She comes out of class so happy and oh so proud of herself! They do not treat her differently because of her impairments, they are all patient and kind, and above all understanding. We are BEYOND pleased with GEMA, and the staff to include the wonderful families we have met. Thank you GEMA for creating a better world for my daughter!

Marc Grenier reviewed Gentle East Martial Arts
5
via Facebook

An awesome martial arts school that truly cares.

Hillary Hogan reviewed Gentle East Martial Arts
5
via Facebook

I have had a blast. I look forward to continuing to learn each form.

Sharon Takai reviewed Gentle East Martial Arts
5
via Facebook

We love the instructors and family atmosphere! Thank you!

Kathryn Carson reviewed Gentle East Martial Arts
5
via Facebook

I've tried a bunch of martial arts over the years, but it wasn't until I got to Gentle East that I realized that the art itself doesn't matter so much--it's the attitude of its practitioners. These people aren't learning and teaching how to kill, but how to live. How to live despite trauma and illness, and to keep practicing their art even if it's just in their hearts. The tenets are courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control, and indomitable spirit, and they mean every word. They teach the kids that other dojangs won't. Autistic, physically challenged, special needs, you name it. They're fully engaged with the messy business of life. A whole lot of families are glad that Master Barbara Robinson followed her vision. Ours is one.

Melody D. Choate reviewed Gentle East Martial Arts
5
via Facebook

Love, love, love this place! The staff is incredibly kind and supportive, and the family atmosphere is palpable the moment you walk in the door! I am so impressed with the work being done with autism spectrum kids, as well as other kids with physical challenges. No one is made to feel like they don't belong here! I even joined the mommy class and my toddlers are allowed to run around us while we work out. I've lost a few pounds, and gained some amazing (non-judgemental) mom-friends! An oasis of kindness and support in the middle of what is often a 'keep up with the Jones's " area of town.

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The Secret Behind our teaching philosophy: Fun!

Recently I have had a few conversations with parents about what we are teaching students in class, so I thought it might be a good opportunity to expand the discussion to include everyone.

Watching class from the outside, it sometimes looks like lots of fun for the children, but we are actually developing all sorts of skills which each drill we run, every warm up, and even every game. (please don’t tell the kids that they are supposed to be learning while they are having fun!)

So let me share with you an example:

In Early Skillz when we are working on Kicking, children are being reminded about more technical aspects of kicking, such as having good chambers, keeping their hands up. At the same time, kicking also helps them with balance, proprioception, and spatial awareness, as well as building strength in both the core muscles and hip flexors.

And that is just the physical aspect; training at Gentle East also focuses on Physical, Emotional, Social and Intellectual capabilities of each student.

In the Life Skill portion of class we sometimes work on Focus. Focus helps students with, well, Focus! However, focus, to us, is far more than just standing still and paying attention, and even looks like just the opposite at times as we challenge the kids to maintain it in an exciting environments.

Emotionally: 5 and 6 year old kids are easily excitable, and they will lose focus easily. Our Goal is to help them focus even when it is hard to do so. We are constantly redirecting them and reminding them how Focused students act.

Intellectually: typical 5 and 6 year old kids have a hard time retaining beyond three commands. I say typical, because I am sure that if you are a parent of an intermediate or advanced student, they are likely above their stage of development and can remember three if not more.

Very often, what we see as a lack of focus is actually our adult misunderstanding of a child’s normal development as they may struggle with a series of commands we have given. For example, when you ask a 5 year old to get up, turn off the tv, put on his shoes, and get his jacket…. he will get up, turn off the tv, put on his jacket, and play with his toys.

When we understand that our kids aren’t showing lack of focus, we are simply expecting things beyond their stage of development, it helps us shift the way we interact with them, making it less stressful for all involved.

Learning Focus takes time! This is especially true when you consider that we are not teaching obedience to command, but the ability to self-regulate and make good choices in a crazy world. Your child wasn’t formed in a day; give them time to get acclimated to new things.

Whenever you are not sure of what we could “possibly” be teaching on any particular day, ask us and we will be happy to explain.

I will continue to post tidbits about the skills we are working so you can better understand what our goals are, and so you can start to see and celebrate the successes your kids are achieving.

For further reading on what we do and why, check out our article “Teaching Martial Arts in 4D