Typically, parents or guardians come to us seeking discipline, focus, respect for authority, self-confidence, and a physical outlet for their little ones. The dojo also helps children learn to socialize with a diverse group of peers. Our Little Ninjas program is a fantastic precursor to kindergarten as they learn to raise their hands prior to speaking, follow precise instructions, keep their hands to themselves, and cope with potential bullying (perhaps more importantly, they are trained not to participate in bullying—indeed, our kids are among the most well behaved). The main objective for the little ninjas is to learn the basic dojo etiquette and exercises, as well as how to follow basic instructions. Once these fundamental requirements have been met, the little ninja becomes ready for our “Kids” program.
As in the Little Ninjas program, our Kids program spends a lot of time reinforcing the basic rules of the dojo. At this point, however, the kids have learned to navigate the dojo in a more efficient manner. In contrast to the Ninjas program, where children are learning basic etiquette, exercises and names the various pieces of equipment, the “Kids” take pride in demonstrating just how efficiently they can respond to instructions and to what extent they understand the etiquette. For a “Kid”, raising one’s hand to annunciate some of the etiquette rules or to demonstrate an exercise, is the equivalent of an adult demonstrating an advanced martial arts technique. While most dojos will lump the Ninjas in with the Kids, it is our opinion that the separation of these groups cultivates a more highly substantive atmosphere. At these tender ages, it is imperative to lay the foundation down properly and with care.
While we continue to reinforce the prominent principles of our Ninja and Kid programs, juniors are granted a bit of leeway and are treated as fledgling adults for two reasons. First, while children in our Kids program are strictly prohibited from speaking to one another during class, juniors operate at a higher cognitive level. They can understand the principles of Kempo as a martial art at a basic level. Some discussion amongst the group is permitted as it encourages them to flesh out their own ideas, an activity that any teacher will agree is imperative to the knowledge process. Secondly, juniors are engaged in a transition phase where they are beginning to see themselves as young adults. Thus, it is important to lead them along this path by granting them certain freedoms along with the expectation that they value these freedoms and use them properly. Juniors come to see themselves as leaders in the kids’ community and are expected to lead by example. Just as our Kids program serves as an ideal precursor to kindergarten, our Juniors program prepares young ones for their transition into young adulthood.
One of the best ways for children to progress in any activity is for their parents to participate. Urban Kempo is unique among most dojos due to the large number of adult clientele. In addition, the large number of families enrolled in our program is also rare in our field. As a parent of young students, you will find yourself holding conversations with other parents that know the curriculum well and understand the techniques, exercises, and etiquette. We often have parents ask us how they can help their children practice at home. The best answer is also the most obvious!
In our ADULT classes, you will find an environment characterized by camaraderie and charisma among both students and instructors. This is an interactive, highly intense yet lighthearted environment. You will sweat, learn, laugh, and build lasting relationships with your peers. Based on our own experiences as both students and instructors, it is our belief that this recipe increases motivation, progression, success, and most importantly, personal satisfaction.
In contrast to the monotony of gyms and many martial arts facilities, our head instructor operates with a philosophy of improvisation. Class themes and formats are neither planned nor premeditated. Rather, they are based on the number, age, physical make up, and mood of the group, as well as the preference of the instructor. At times you will work alone during the course of the class, while other times you will work with one or more partners. Some classes will emphasize technique, while others might focus on street defenses. In every class, however, you will receive a rigorous total body calisthenic workout, improve your understanding and performance of the art, and lift your spirit.
We understand that many of our adult students are seeking a refuge from the daily stresses and anxieties of their contemporary urban work environment and professional hierarchies. Urban Kempo strives to minimize such hierarchical structures—we figure you’ve had enough of it already. Unlike martial arts schools with strong superior/subordinate statuses, we want you to feel comfortable in your own skin. We encourage you to feel free to be yourself. Your own personal imprint on our dojo will shape its character!
In our classes, you will learn how to use your body to defend against opponents of all shapes and sizes. Strength, agility, explosiveness, balance, and focus are key. While all students will learn the same curriculum, we will provide different areas of emphasis for students based on the most efficient and effective techniques for someone of their stature. Students often get so wrapped up in the excitement of their experience that they forget they are developing skills that will remain with them all their lives. Whatever your goals for attending our classes, the skill of self defense is surely a good side benefit for your body and mind!
Paramount in martial arts is technique. Without proper technique, the student will not only develop difficult habits, but can become physically at risk. The movements are demanding and the strikes are enduring. The private lesson gives instructors the opportunity to ensure that each student attains the necessary understanding to execute their movements in a way that is safe.
The private lesson offers the premier setting for the instructors to get to know their students. It’s unfortunate, but many dojos areincredibly impersonal. In some cases, instructors place Korean, Japanese, or Chinese letters on their students’ uniforms simply to remember their names. Our instructors will not only know your name, but they’ll know where you work, how long you’ve been married, if you have an injury or disability, how to best work with or around your injury or disability, how long it takes you to get to the dojo, how many kids you have, what you’re children’s favorite toys are, if they’re being bullied at school, what sports team you enjoy, etc. Remembering that every student maintains a unique set of goals, our instructors have the ability to tailor their teaching approaches to suit you. The private lesson is the foundation on which our family is built!