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So last night in one of my kids classes, I had my sparring session planned out as usual. The focus of the class was to explore some tactical variations of sparring and let the kids explore possibilities and solutions to broaden their understanding of the game of sparring. The class is made up of boys & girls, Yellow to Blue Belt, 8-11 years.The kids in my classes love competing and it’s even a race between the boys and the girls who can put on their sparring gear the fastest. This race then led to one student proposing that to warm up we have a point sparring team match, boys vs girls, which all the kids got excited about. So of course, I go ahead with the idea. I’m all for anything which they are engaged about when it allows them to develop their actual sparring skills in a live environment! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

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So we set up a “ring” space roughly 5 x 5 as the two teams line up on opposite sides of the ring. The rules are simple first point wins or 2 exits outside the ring will lose you the match. The kids begin playing, picking and choosing matchups, tactics, coaching each other, honestly judging the scores even if their team mates happen to be on the losing side! So with all this positive interaction and the young athletes clearly learning tactical and competitive skills and awareness, I abandon my original class plan and let them “lead” the session. It ended up going so well that we spend the whole class doing this. The only input I had was occasionally questioning the kids as to what could we do to make the game better with rule changes etc. It was a great session and they all really enjoyed it. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

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So what is there to take away from this??⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

– Sometimes the kids have fantastic ideas of their own if you allow them some ownership⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

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– Don’t be afraid to let go of a plan if a better opportunity arises⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

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– Empower the kids to be each others coaches, although we try to help, sometimes we over coach and are just flaunting our own knowledge. This dosen’t benefit your students. The goal is for them to have a better understanding of sparring and to develop their skills. Your job is to support this not get in the way!⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

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– Healthy competition in a positive safe environment is a fantastic culture we should all aim to push in our academies, everyone benefits and the excitement goes through the roof.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

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