This month we will be focused on helping our students to understand the important life skill of setting and achieving goals. Our instructors will be using the mat chats to discuss various topics around setting and achieving goals so that our students can apply this skill in Martial Arts and throughout their life. We firmly believe in the importance of goal-setting because as Yogi Berra said, “If you don’t know where you are going, you will probably end up someplace else.”
Goal setting with kids can follow a very similar framework as with adults and the internet is full of tools like SMART. SMART goals are: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely so that progress is very easy to understand. Setting and pursuing goals needs to be done at an age-appropriate level. For a Little Rhino, for example, learning how to focus for an entire class is a critical building block to accomplishing a goal they have and are going to pursue. Martial Arts focuses on learning and repetition until a skill is mastered which is a consistent theme of any research related to achieving goals.
Regardless of method or age, we believe that kids need:
- to be interested and inspired towards the goal so that they are self-motivated to achieve it
- to have a clear understanding of what it means to achieve it
- continuous feedback on their progress so they know how they are doing
- support and knowledge when they encounter challenges
We also happen to believe that the foundation of Martial Arts supports these principles well.
When you walk into our Martial Arts studio (aka dojo) you will see a very clear indication of a goal that we hope all students adopt. Hidden in this picture behind Master Thasneem, you will see our bold proclamation that the goal is Black Belt.
Earning a black belt is the way that students demonstrate their mastery of a specific Martial Art. Having this as the overriding (aka stretch goal) is important so that the student has a vision of what they can accomplish through multiple years of discipline and hard work. This can serve as motivation to students because it gives them something to aspire towards, but if we left it at that, it would be very easy for our students to get discouraged and give up.
Within Martial Arts, the goal of earning a black belt is broken down into many smaller steps with progress along the way easily determined. Before you can get a black belt, you need to progress through all of the belts. Before you can test for a belt, you need to earn stripes by demonstrating the necessary proficiency for that belt. Stripes are awarded as a part of our classes to help the students understand when they have demonstrated a capability. Once they have earned all of their stripes, they are invited to test for their next belt.
After successfully testing for a belt, the next belt is awarded and celebrated so that the student is acknowledged for their hard work that enabled them to earn the belt. They then show up to their next class without any stripes and a hunger to start working towards their next belt. Through this progression of learning, earning stripes and earning belts a student can eventually reach the point of earning their black belt.
Come in and get started- your trial classes are your first step towards your Black Belt!