I have been studying Martial Arts nearly all my life. Whether it was Judo at an early age or Karate and Taekwondo later on in life. I practice it and teach it. It is part of who I am, and I hope both my children will take it into their lives too. My wife studied Karate with me for two years, and my son took Taekwondo for two years.
It is not only learning the moves, or how to defend yourself, but also about the discipline that it brings into your life that changes you. Attending a class on a weekly basis and committing to a certain way of life so you can physically keep up with the training are essential aspects of this way of life. If you can discipline the mind in this way, hopefully, you can bring this into other aspects of your life that need it.
Our training is not exclusive to learning punches, kicks, blocks, and other moves in a training setting. You also learn how to use these in real life situations. In Taekwondo and Karate, you also have to learn forms, such as Kata and Poomsae. They are sequences of movements put together from the basic moves you learn. I will discuss this more a little later in the blog. Most good clubs will concentrate on fitness, flexibility, strength training, agility, speed, power and could also throw in some yoga and Pilates.
Although gaining new belts are an incentive and show experience, they are not the be all and end all of the martial arts. They should be respected for what they are and the context in which they were gained. I worked hard for my Brown belt in Karate and my Red belt in Taekwondo. I will continue training with Taekwondo and hope to attain my Black belt later in this year, but will take my time and do it correctly. Many clubs rush people through too quickly, proving nothing.
The last karate club I studied at was in Twickenham, England under Sensei Carol David. He was a great sensei and inspirational leader. I studied hard and trained harder. I took this experience to a school that I taught in and developed units of work as described below. In Switzerland, I took up Taekwondo and worked even harder, learning from two very experienced brothers. The way they approached martial arts was the right way, and they brought their practice into the school I taught in as an extra club to theirs and exhibitions during international days. I also used my experience of Taekwondo further to develop the units of work I taught in my school.
In these schools, I have taught martial arts as a mini-unit focussing on core competencies or self-defense moves. I have also taught it within creative movement. In MYP before next chapter, criterion B was centered on assessing Movement Composition. In my previous two schools, we taught a range of units so we could assess Movement Composition such as Dance, Gymnastics, and Martial Arts. In Beijing, I decided to combine Martial arts with Dance to those I taught in the higher grades of MYP. This was our Movement Composition.
I developed this, over the four years I was there, as a unit and eventually brought it into the curriculum in Basel a couple of years ago. There, I taught it to all grade 9 students. Many students looked forward to it, and many were interested in how it would work. Luckily, I had previous videos of my students in Bejing to show examples.
Both examples below were assessed through Criterion B 'Movement Composition' and Criterion C 'Performance Application.’
I brought my ideas to two ECIS PE conferences, one in Belgium and the other in Tunisia in 2012. For these presentations I decided at the time to create a website to share my ideas, which you can access below.
I will now be assessing the unit through Criterion B 'Planning for Performance' and Criterion C 'Applying and Performing'. I currently only teach grade 6, so will not necessarily be looking for them to include dance moves in their final performance. I will see how it goes. My original idea here in Korea was to get the students to try to add gymnastics moves to their martial arts performance. Gymnastics was the first part of our Creative Movement Unit. I am not sure this will work now but will leave this open to the students.
Below are a couple of images from my recent classes.
I will then video their final performance and assess this through criterion C. They then have to explain the effectiveness of their plan after they have watched their video. I am still working on the rubrics/task-specific clarifications/descriptors. I aim to adjust them from what I used before to make them more applicable to the students I am working with and the unit I am now running.
I will do a post-blog on my unit with more pictures and updated videos of my current students as well as how I assessed them and how the group performed.
I have been writing for nearly five years on and off in the world of twitter, facebook groups, blogging and sharing ideas thoughts with the wider physical education world.