Teaching Martial Arts with the Brain in Mind
“We are always in a perpetual state of being created and creating ourselves.” Dr. Daniel J. Siegel, The Developing Mind
“What did you say? What am I supposed to do first again?!”
Our recent family vacation had come to a bittersweet end and the piles of folded, clean clothes on the dining room table were evidence enough of all the fun had over the past extended weekend! My boys looking up at me with their heavy, post-“fun in the sun” eyes told me that the lights were on upstairs but their tired brains were not functioning at their optimal level to process my directions. To be perfectly honest, neither was this mama’s brain as I tried to recall the order in which I asked my boys to put away their things!
Let’s be honest! We have all been where my boys and I were at one time or another; where an auditory or visual cue was clearly given but we just couldn’t receive and process the information to put our brain and body into necessary action for completing the task. And you know what?! That is a perfectly human response when you consider all the mind, body and spirit are simultaneously trying to sift through in a moment of internal detachment due to exhaustion and more.
Each and every day, our minds take in a tremendous amount of information that needs to be filtered through, addressed, organized and acted upon, all in due course.
But, how does one ensure they do not get lost in “fuzzy brain land” and are able to come back to eyes on, ears on, body ready? Great question Proud Ninja Parent!
Cue the Brain SKILLZ!
The developing mind is a fascinating field of study, one which SKILLZ takes very seriously. While the physically supportive elements of our programming are certainly important and vital to ensuring the overall success of each and every one of our students, support of the changing, growing, learning and evolving mind as children grow are all key to helping intellectual, emotional and social growth and development thrive.
Thus far, we have taken a closer look at:
Now, let us take a closer look at the last two Brain SKILLZ in this series:
“Auditory Processing is how the brain perceives and interprets sound information.”
When this skill is a strength:
• One is able to analyze what was just heard.
• Further, one responds correctly to verbal commands given.
A great example of this is repeating a new chorus of a song you just heard played!
When this skill is weak:
• One has difficulty understanding or remembering verbal information provided.
• Further, one struggles responding to verbal commands.
“Visual Processing is what and how our brain uses information received to make sense of what is seen.”
When this skill is a strength:
• One is able to think in visual images.
• Further, one is able to process visual activities.
A great example of this is catching a ball!
When this skill is weak:
• One experiences difficultly in responding to visual cues.
• Further, it is challenging to recall visual information received
How We Put It Into Action
Through game-based learning and nurturing, we are honing in on supporting Auditory Processing as well as Visual Processing to be able to prevent and aid in the moments when students experience “fuzzy brain land.” By facilitating purposeful intellectual alongside physical exercises throughout the duration of our class time enjoyment together, we are ensuring that neural pathways are being created to effectively help kiddos move from point A to point B with ease.
By stretching our Auditory and Visual Processing centers on the mats, we are giving our students real time examples of how to address, filter and execute missions in the moment within an exciting environment. For example, instead of giving 5-step instructions to a 5 year old learning a new game-based drill for the first time, we are breaking it down to no more than 3 steps at first so they can grow in their confidence and proficiency of the auditory and visual breakdown provided to successfully complete the drill.
Outside of the Mats
Parents, it can be frustrating at times when you are trying to get a task done like getting clean clothes put away and your kiddo just cannot compute what you are saying. But, we do not have to stay in a zone of frustration when we have the opportunity to shift to a posture of creation!
In the recent instance with my own kiddos described above, I certainly could have huffed and puffed and stated my instructions in frustration all over again. That was a choice but one I did not take in the moment. Why? Because my boys were already mentally and emotionally done. Adding a raised voice to the mix would have accomplished nothing. Instead, I took a step back to breakdown how the clothes would be put away in
1. Less auditory steps
2. With an accompanying visual cue of which piles needed to go first to last
3. Funny animal ways to accompany each pile being put away!
When we take the moment to take a breath, reassess and readdress the mission of the moment with a fun, creative solution, everyone wins! Because I was connected and attuned to my kids in the moment, we were still able to be successful in getting the job done as quickly and efficiently as possible!
Does it always work out this way? No, not always. We are human and so are our kids! Sometimes we encounter the “no good, very bad days.” But how we choose to respond accordingly and make the best supportive decisions possible in a given moment is all a part of the learning and growing journey we are on alongside our kids.
You are not alone in the journey! Our Team of purposefully trained Pediatric Ninja Specialists love helping the families we serve with at-home exercises to tackle missions of the moment using the power of Brain SKILLZ and play. Why? Because problem solving, coming alongside families with creative, supportive, detailed strategies is all a part of why we do what we do! We are passionate about supporting our kiddos developing minds at each age and stage of development. So if you have questions or need support beyond the mats, let us know! We are here for you.