Mixed Martial Arts Aids Transition Into Adulthood
Many parents often search for martial arts programs with the prospect of teaching young children improved discipline and focus, self defense against bullying, and improved physical fitness. Much of the Tiger Schulmann’s mixed martial arts (TSMMA) curriculum encompasses the basic tools for molding children into self-disciplined, confident and healthy individuals into adulthood.
Kristina Brody and Jason Samuel have been training under the instruction of Sensei Montes for over 7 years and have transitioned through the kids martial arts classes into the adult kickboxing class. The experience they have had in the kids classes has provided them with the basic tools required to maintain discipline, learn self defense techniques and gain confidence. All of these qualities are standard expectations of the TSMMA program, but each of them has gained so much more with continued training.
Sensei Montes credits both young adults with advancing their responsibilities on the mat by assisting in the kids classes to enhance the training of young children as they once were. After a long afternoon of two to three kids classes in a row, both Kristina and Jason stay to train in the adult class directly after. Their dedication and leadership skills are admirable traits that Sensei Montes hopes many of his younger students will emulate someday also.
Jason Samuel is a thirteen year old middle school student who has recently transitioned into the kickboxing class. Although his age, size and responsibilities may be overshadowed by many adult students with careers and families, Jason outranks many of them and is able to effectively train with many peers twice his age. His father, Terry has expressed how impressed he is with Jason’s recent spurt of strength and his overwhelming sense of self-confidence. “We had a flat tire, and with guidance Jason was able to manage the situation and loosened and lifted the tire on his own!”
Terry and his wife, Marilyn feel that his transition into the adult classes has been a positive change that adds not only the challenge of more physically demanding training, but being able to manage the difference between his role as a child in a structured, intensely guided class into an environment that expects more self-discipline. Enrolled in 2008, Terry and Marilyn wanted to improve Jason’s strength, confidence and teach him independence. Their other two children also currently train under Sensei Montes, as both parents have been extremely happy with the results of the TSMMA program. Described as quiet and naive, Terry and Marilyn felt that martial arts would help Jason become more outgoing and self-reliant. His evolution through the years has been observed by many parents and students who have watched him grow into an assertive, confident and responsible young man.
The importance of a more experienced martial arts student is not only learning more advanced skills, but how to pass on their knowledge and demonstrate patience and understanding to their peers.
Fifteen year old Kristina Brody has been training since 2007 and trains up to 4 times a week. Her father, Ken enrolled Kristina and her three siblings into TSMMA after trying martial arts instruction through Tae Kwon Do. The Tae Kwon Do format did not appeal to Ken, as his intent was to find a more structured environment through formal karate training to help his kids improve their self confidence. “We decided that karate might be better for them, and looked at several local schools. Except for Tiger Schulmann’s mixed martial arts, they all had the stereotypical “gym” look to them, so we decided to give it a try.” Ken felt that his children benefited from the methods used to teach the kids new techniques. An active parent in Scouts, the familiarity of Sensei Montes’ instruction reminded him of the “EDGE method” – Explain, Demonstrate, Guide, Enable- an approach often used by the Boy Scouts of America. Kristina is also a member of the local Girl Scouts FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC).
In addition to martial arts techniques, students are also taught the responsibility of guiding one another as they progress to a higher level. “I like how students are often paired off in what others might consider an ‘unfair advantage.'” Ken feels that the importance of a more experienced student is not only learning more advanced skills, but how to pass on their knowledge and demonstrate patience and understanding to their peers. Kristina continues to receive that same martial arts instruction from Sensei Montes and her adult peers, but continues to give back when assisting in the kids classes as well.
Kristina was the first to move up into the adult class and feels that the challenge has helped improve her skills. “I like that the adult classes are more intense and that I am able to keep up with a lot of the adults now. I learn more every time I come here and I like that I can pass on my knowledge to the younger students during kids classes.” Jason is a newer face in the adult classes, but has quickly accommodated to faster pace and high energy each night. “It’s been a great change for me. I feel stronger and faster. I like that have my own time to train after I help out in the kids classes.” Kristina and Jason have both continued to mature and grow not only as martial artists, but as young adults who give back to a younger generation of kids that will someday follow in their footsteps.
By Lauren Rose