by Sibok Lloyd Fridenburg
Younger WKFA students experience many changes during their Kung Fu career and parents need to help them transition. Moving to a more advanced class, or from the Youth to Junior Program, can be a very exciting time for kids but sometimes it can be extremely intimidating or even overwhelming. At WKFA we all want to see kids reach their full potential so if your child that couldn’t wait to get to class is suddenly less anxious after a significant change be sure to find the root cause and don’t be afraid to respectfully speak with Sigung or their regular instructor to help find a solution that will bring back that old motivation.
Remember that a Green Sash Junior student may be at the top of the class in terms of rank or seniority, then suddenly they move up and are low person on pole. The same thing happens when kids move to a more senior program and go from being the oldest kids in the class to the youngest kids in the class. For some it may not be a big deal, but others really struggle with these transitions.
The first introduction to the Adult program for Advanced Junior students are the Advanced Adult classes. I’ve had the privilege of teaching the Advanced Adult program for 16 years and it is not unusual to see both students and parents struggle with the transition. Greater demands are placed on younger adult students than they were used to in the Junior program. Some make the transition with no issues, but many struggle with the fact that their techniques, forms, and even sparring need to be brought up to a higher standard.
When a student moves to the Adult program there are many expectations that you need to be aware of:
Class attendance – kids only have 2 regular classes per week to attend. We offer many more classes to adult students. It is now essential that students over the rank of Orange sash attend at least 3 classes per week. In fact, if your child is getting ready to test for an advanced adult rank (Brown or Black) they must average 3 classes per week for six months prior to the grading cutoff as a minimum requirement. In addition, they must also attend a minimum number of advanced classes. So as parents you can expect to spend a lot more time in the car than when they were Juniors, but don’t worry, they’ll have their driver’s license soon 😉.
Pickup Times – most parents drop their kids off for the Adult program and then pick them up at the end of class. It is essential that they are picked up promptly at the end of class. If the class ends at 9:30, you need to be there at 9:30 to pick them up. We will never leave students outside on their own after class because their ride has not arrived, but I can tell you firsthand how irritating it is to come down from the changeroom to find younger students still waiting for parents to pick them up. Please be there on time!
Arrival Times – lateness is not tolerated in the Adult program and anyone of any age arriving late for class, for any reason, will have to stand at the entrance to the Kwoon until invited to join the class. They will also be assigned a minimum of 50 pushups that must be completed before joining the class.
Communication – We treat all students in the Adult program as adults and, unless absolutely necessary, we do not communicate with them through their parents. We communicate with them directly. Dates, times, requirements, obligations, strategies, etc. are now an added responsibility of kids in the Adult program. Parents are always welcome to interact with Sigung or instructors, but we feel that it is now appropriate to place the added responsibility of knowing and understanding things listed above directly on the shoulders of the student. We recommend they provide their email address to receive updates and this newsletter.
All instructors at WKFA want to see every student succeed and as parents you play a huge role towards ensuring a positive experience for your kids.