So last night we had a “bring a parent” class…
And no, I’m talking about any of my adults bringing their parents – THAT would be interesting. =)
For one of my junior classes we asked students to bring either their mum or dad along to do karate with them. Of the 12 kids in the class, half completely forgot about it (as would be expected with kids), but for most their parents were at the club so they joined in anyway…
And it was great!
For this type of class to be a success, I knew it had to be interactive. So with that in mind this is what we did…
We started with a general warm-up, loosening up, etc. Immediately after the warm-up I had parents partner up with their kids for some high-5 pushups, followed by some linked-legs sit-ups. These kinds of exercises are great because they get students working together (in this case student and parent), which builds bonds and also helps students push each other further.
Next I had the class run through some basic punches and kicks from yoi dachi (ready stance), with the kids in the front row and parents behind, so they could copy their kids if they became lost. Since some hadn’t played any sport for some time (and none had any martial arts experience), I expected the parents to be more awkward than a new born foal, but surprisingly they did quite well…
Following this we ran through 2 basic combinations as a group. Then with the thought of making the class more interactive I had the kids teach their parents the 2 combinations we just ran through. They had to explain, demonstrate and make sure their folks did it correctly. It was interesting to see how parents took instruction from their kids. Then they switched roles and repeated the exercise.
Right after this I had the kids come up and demonstrate the combos as a group while the parents watched. Then the parents came up and performed the combinations they’d just learned without the kids.
Finally we finished with a team ball game, parents vs kids. And to the surprise of the kids, their folks kicked their butts.
This class was a huge success for the following reasons:
- It was a break from the usual, so kids were excited to perform well.
- It got parents involved with their kids on a whole new level. It created memories that kids and parents will have forever. I can imagine in 20 years time, one of my students saying “Dad, you remember when you took that karate class with me? That was so funny!“
- It gave parents a new appreciation for what their kids do, and how challenging karate can be.
- Kids and parents had a blast. So many parents commented after class, “That was so much fun!“
Whether or not any of the parents decide to join karate themselves or not, the experience really was something “remarkable”. That is, it will be something parents will talk about socially with their friends, family, etc. This is a great way to get the word out about your school.
Now obviously for long term success of students I highly recommend you don’t have adults and kids in the same class as each group has different reasons for doing martial arts, size/weight differences, etc, so it’s not practical most of the time. But hosting a class like this every now and again is a great way to market you school on a social level.
Try it for yourself and see…
Until next time…