a space hopper

end of year training with Jeffries

its christmas time, and so today I delivered the last training session of the year for Atlantic Taekwondo.   at the end of year, I like to run sessions that concentrate on having fun more than I usually do.   I have yet to obtain the hallowed Santa’s Dobok, so it was plain old black and whites for me again this year…however, the colours were enlivened today by use of my fantastic bright orange space hopper, that the students nicknamed Jeffries, for some reason.   I was delighted today as for the first time ever, I was presented with a box of chocolates by one of my students, and a different student exclaimed a loud “thank you for the training” during the line up.   I was touched.

activities

warm up

usual stuff here, but whilst jogging around the dojang, students take it in turns ride Jeffries up and down the hall, before handing over to the next student.  you can’t help but smile whilst bouncing away on the big orange fella.

twelve kicks of christmas

pretty much self-explanatory. students each pick one technique, and demonstrate it in front of the class. when twelve techniques have been demonstrated, proceed as follows, substituting your techniques:

  • 1 spinning jumping turning kick
  • 1 spinning jumping turning kick, 2 jabs
  • 1 spinning jumping turning kick, 2 jabs, 3 front kicks
  • 1 spinning jumping turning kick, 2 jabs, 3 front kicks, 4 turning kicks
  • 1 spinning jumping turning kick, 2 jabs, 3 front kicks, 4 turning kicks, 5 jumping spinning upper cuts (Street Fighter style)
  • 1 spinning jumping turning kick, 2 jabs, 3 front kicks, 4 turning kicks, 5 jumping spinning upper cuts, 6 side kicks
  • 1 spinning jumping turning kick, 2 jabs, 3 front kicks, 4 turning kicks, 5 jumping spinning upper cuts, 6 side kicks, 7 spinning backfists
  • et cetera et cetera

its a pretty grueling exercise, especially when enthusiastic students pick difficult or spinning techniques.   ideally, all students will count each technique, thus hammering home the foreign vocabulary.

strictly come poomsae

based on a television show, this activity involves four judges selected from the class.  each student performs alone, and the judges get fifteen seconds to confer and get their score cards in order. students perform the pattern they needed for their current belt.   after introducing the idea and arranging the dojang, the instructor elicits ideas on how to judge the student performance.   start by stating that the maximum score is ten per judge, and that the judges must deduct a half point for each mistake spotted.   instructor then asks what sort of things to be judged on – I was pleasantly surprised by the response from my judges today, as they added extras to the list I already had in my mind:

  • footwork
  • technique execution
  • finishing spot
  • pace or rhythm (as opposed to just speed)
  • hesitation
  • extra – correct pattern. if you can’t remember your pattern, you can do the previous pattern for a maximum score of nine instead of ten
  • extra – pattern name
  • extra – finishing techniques instead of rushing them
  • extra – breathing
  • extra – finishing each step with rear foot flat on floor – was particularly pleased with this, as I have been drumming it into the students all year

I was a little nervous about the reception this would get, after all, how many children watch a ballroom dancing show?   turns out, lots of them do.   there was much enthusiasm from each judge, and each judge had the opportunity to explain their scores.  often this was done humour, comments describing technique including crispness, tenderness and even a new word, memoration.   this is a great technique for disguising the training for a serious competition and also for performance at grading.   instead of just rushing their patterns, each student really was thinking about each aspect, which is a great result.   for white belts, judges were instructed not to mark down students for not knowing the pattern, and instead to judge solely on techniques being delivered.   judges are then swapped out and become the performers.   this gives each judge a chance to offer honest critique and to speak in front of the class, good personal skills development

santa’s kyuk-pa

this year’s destruction competition involved each student performing a side kick, a back kick and an elbow strike, allowed two attempts at each. the purpose of destruction is to demonstrate technique, and refine until the board is broken.  again, eliciting a verbal description of each technique demonstrates both learning and teaching and gives each student a chance to thwack something.   almost every student was 100% successful

last year’s destruction competition was slightly different, as we had more senior grades available to hold the breaking boards.  holders stand at each corner of an imaginary triangle, and each student chooses their own path around the three boards, the intention being to deliver side kicks to break the boards, and resorting to elbow strikes upon failure.   this is a timed competition where students have to strike a balance between speed and technique.  this was great fun last year.

where next?

  • jeffries slalom – each student slaloms around a line of students, each holding a pad, which must be struck with a good clean technique before proceeding to the next
  • twelve kicks of christmas – each student must remember their own technique and lead the class when it comes to their count.   this will help to ensure everybody knows what they are doing, as they only to remember their own technique, and how many of them are required.   this also gives each student a chance to the lead the group, without much pressure
  • strictly come poomsae – today i used hand written score sheets, it would improve with nicely printed A4 cards with the scores on. synchronised poomsae performance where students performing in pairs

i would love to receive more ideas for next year’s christmas session.   as always, comments welcome.   have a great christmas and new year, come back fighting next year!

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