I don’t know about you, but one of the most irritating things for me as a karate teacher is having to tie kids’ belts every 2 minutes.
Yes, I know, I hear you saying, “Just make them tie it themselves!”
And for the most part they do, but there are times in my youngest class where 4 and 5 year olds have a hard time especially when they are beginners.
Now I could always go for one of those “Velcro belts” (pre-tied) that just wrap around your karate kids’ waists and never come undone, but that really wouldn’t be karate now would it? Part of the discipline is learning to be responsible and tie your own belt.
I REFUSE to go down that Velcro-belt path and you should too… (To quote my daughter, “If you do that then I won’t be your best friend!” – not sure where she got that from, but that’s 3 year old negotiation skills at their best).
Now I’m sure you ask your karate kids to practice tying their belts at home, and maybe some of them will, but you’ll always be faced with those lazy kids with over compensating parents who always tie their belts for them.
Well, last week I came up with a little incentive for my youngest kids to keep an eye on their belts and make sure they don’t come off.
I told them, “Sensei just made a new rule. If your belt comes off, then it belongs to Sensei for the rest of class!”.
A few of the litte ones laughed, some looked at me with wide eyes, and some probably wondered why I talked about myself in the third person.
The class errupted with laughter and the student who just lost their belt stood there in shock. His precious belt, his most prized possession now was tied securely around Sensei’s waist.
Not 3 minutes later the second belt hit the floor. I pounced on that one like a cat and tied that sucker on top of the other.
This time there was less laughter, some concerned looks and a lot of focus on the state of their own belts.
When the 3rd belt came off just a couple minutes later during an exercise we were doing, I claimed that one too. At that point every child checked the status of their belt. Every student pulled on their belt to make sure it was tight!
The kids without belts had anguished looks on their faces and the others realized that pretty soon Sensei would have more belts than the rest of the class if this trend kept up.
Toward the end of the class I returned their kidnapped belts, and those kids who “didn’t know how to tie their belt” suddenly learned how.
And I’m happy to report since that class, we have less belts coming off, more self awareness and less interruptions.
This little trick worked well for me, and feel free to use it too.
What methods do you use to ensure belts stay tied?