Many of you who aren’t Kung Fu students may feel that you can’t help your child with their Kung Fu training- but you can! There are many things that you can do that don’t require any Kung Fu experience at all.
The fitness requirements that are part of the WKFA curriculum are often seen as just a number that needs to be met in order to be eligible to grade. But I think it’s important to help our children focus on improving in this area. Don’t do this because they are ‘grading requirements’ but because they are necessary to help build the muscle strength, endurance and body awareness required to excel at Kung Fu. Below are the fundamentals of our fitness requirements and questions you can ask yourself or your child.
Abs: Our abdominal requirements develop core strength, endurance and body awareness. Without a strong core, it’s difficult to do most of what we do in Kung Fu.
Questions to ask: Is their elbow hitting their knee? Is the other elbow touching the matts? Are they fully extending their legs straight and not off to the sides? When their legs are extended, are they close to the ground (6”-12”) or are they high in the air? Are they not pulling/straining their neck? Focusing on these details will strengthen your child’s abdominals and help them avoid injury and get the most out of this activity.
Squats: When watching any Kung Fu class it becomes obvious that leg strength is important and squats definitely help leg strength, endurance and range of motion. The way we do squats also help build shoulder strength by keeping our guard up – a very beneficial habit to get into when they start sparring.
Questions to ask: Is your child going down as far as they can? Is their back straight? Are their hands in “guard” position?
Push Ups: They help build upper body and core strength, teach your child how to breath properly and develop proper body awareness. Being able to do pushups properly will also help them learn how to punch with strength, explosive power and proper fist position.
Questions to ask: Is their back straight and head up? Are they following the full range of motion? Are their hands aligned with their shoulders?
These requirements are hard—they’re supposed to be. Your child won’t improve without working at them regularly. Start small and build on successes. Remember, being able to meet their fitness requirements will also make gradings much less stressful for your child if they know they’re physically prepared for the challenges ahead.
So, if you want to help your child improve their Kung Fu, ask them “Can you do your full fitness requirements and if not, what are you doing to work on that?”.
And if you really want to make an impact, do them together 🙂