CMAC Mississauga Curriculum
Our martial arts curriculum is geared not only for each specific age group,
but is also specialized to the student's level of training, whether for beginners, intermediate, or advanced levels.
It is constantly reviewed and improved for proper development of technique, understanding, and effectivity.
Each lesson is organized to achieve a specific objective, whether for physical acuity, spatial awareness,
psychological understanding of conflict, etc.
Teaching Philosophy for Children 4-7 and 8-12 Years
- What is Martial Arts and Karate-do?
Martial Arts is a word that generically encompasses all systems and styles of fighting with, or defending from, another human.
Some popular martial arts systems are TaeKwon-do, Ju-Jutsu, Judo, Kung-Fu, Muay Thai, and Karate-do. Each of these systems is made up of various styles
such as Yoshin Ryu Ju-Jutsu and Kito Ryu Ju-Jutsu, or GoJu Ryu Karate-do, and Shotokan Karate-do, and so on. The reason there are so many styles
of each martial art system is due to many decades, and in some cases centuries, of adjustments made by students from a parent style of each system.
Some adjustments were made to emphasize competition, others to complement a teacher's nature, others to complement practical self-defense, and some students created new styles.
Our school teaches GoJu Ryu – Karate-do (Hard and Soft Style of Empty Hand Way); this martial arts stems from Okinawa and Japan with strong roots from China.
The emphasis of this type of martial art is in strong character and good defenses. GoJu is focused on developing strong self-defense skills versus attack skills,
by focusing on blocking as one of its main complements. GoJu Ryu is the parent style of many other types of karate.
- How will my child begin learning karate-do at this school?
At this school, and in the larger organization of Classical Martial Arts Canada (CMAC), we teach by example and experience.
Children and youth cannot rise to low expectations, overcome difficult obstacles by avoiding them, or learn to manage big problems without first learning to manage little ones.
This is why self-defense begins with good habits like brushing one's teeth, cleaning up after oneself, doing homework, taking the initiative, and helping out at home.
Because most fights begin as arguments or misunderstandings, we also enforce good etiquette before and during class. Children must address each other with respect,
listen to their seniors, enter and exit the training area with courtesy, and assist where they can without needing to be asked or noticed. Courtesy and respect
are the foundation of karate-do and is a strong theme in every class at this school. Good manners and attitude are a thousand times more effective than a good punch.
All higher karate skills will stem from good manners inside and outside the school. Compassion, not aggression, is the hallmark of a well-trained karate-do student.
- Where new students begin
- Most often, people look past the simple skills in martial arts, with their attention focused on the fancy kicks, strikes, and takedowns.
Children under the age of nine struggle with simple skills at the beginning--stepping behind and turning, bending both knees,
extending their arms straight out while placing their hands at their side, stepping backwards while extending an arm forwards,
or even kicking above their waist without losing their balance. Kihon is a word for 'basic' or 'foundation' in karate-do.
Kihon teaches a student to become aware of what their body is doing, to understand the basic differences between the movements of a block, strike, grab, or kick,
and to gradually link them together. Learning basics (kihon) in karate teaches students to recognize and manage these actions in others,
and to accept responsibility for them in themselves. As students improve upon their balance, self control, and coordination, emphasis slowly shifts to better technique and comprehension.
- Children who begin between 4-7 years old
- Children in this age group are taught independently in order to provide instruction specific to their age and stage of development.
The first belt level or grade after white belt is 5 1/2 Kyu (yellow-white belt). Once they can demonstrate a good understanding of a few initial skills,
i.e. following instruction, beginning to correct themselves independently, stepping forward and backward, stepping behind themselves, recognizing patterns,
following basic etiquette, and a few other remedial skills, they are ready to attempt their first grading (test). The usual length to achieve the first grade (belt) is three months,
as long as they have been attending twice per week, and meet the criteria to progress.
- Children who begin between 8-12 years old
- Children older than nine progress to the grade of 5th Kyu (solid yellow) after white belt. They must achieve and demonstrate the above (requirements for 4-7 years)
and be able to follow a senior student through a form called a 'kata' (pattern of pre-organized self defense techniques). A basic understanding of several strikes, blocks,
stances and kicks is also required, along with a few training safety skills, i.e., how to fall safely on a mat, and rolling and quickly adjusting to their feet.
The first grade usually requires three months of regular training twice a week. As students progress, grades gradually become further apart and require more effort, more patience, and more discipline.
- Why martial arts grades do not work the same way as school grades
- Parents should know that martial arts grades are not like regular school grades that children progress through year to year. Where a 'school's' curriculum is primarily focused
on establishing intellectual skills that lead to earning a living and contributing to society through a job, our martial arts school curriculum is primarily focused
on equipping a student emotional and mentally to better manage the inherent conflicts that arise throughout life.
Grades or ranks, called kyu in karate, may take longer for some students to progress to than others. The reason is that where in 'school,'
the goal is for all students to be marked against a general academic standard at each grade, at our school, the goal is for each student to improve their standards
before progressing to a new grade. Some begin being shy, some unfocused, and others unmotivated. Though there is a required set of skills that must be attained before progression is warranted,
it is the independent improvement of a student's nature and behavior that is most important.
- Are all martial arts schools the same?
- There are many schools that associate martial arts primarily with sports (competition), and there are some that focus on the discipline (classical).
The difference between sports schools and classical schools is the underlining influence of what is being taught, and to whom.
• Sport and Competitive Martial Arts - For some children athletic competition is important and feels right. These children are naturally motivated and demonstrate skills that come easier than most.
These children blossom in a competitive environment where others do not. They are motivated to win, to challenge their skills against others, and to perform. They work well independently or in a team setting
as long as there is a goal to be scored, a competition to win, or an audience to impress.
• Classical Martial Arts - For most children the classical approach to martial arts works best. These children learn and progress better in an environment where they can grow at their own pace
without the pressure of athletic competition. They are motivated to train by other interests, and often require more time to discover their talents and strengths. Their training emphasizes progress without competition,
and is often not as appealing to competitive-minded children. Quite often, it is from these children that the great leaders of tomorrow spring. These children are taught to 'not lose.'
To win is a short-term goal that everyone can see, and requires skill and strength--someone must lose. Good competitors handle loss well and are taught to beat their opponent.
To 'not lose' is a long-term goal that is hard to see, and skill is not as important as inner strength--no one loses. This method to success requires discipline and depth from children,
and these students learn to outlast their opponent.
Something is learned from both, and both have their values.
- How fast will my child progress?
- Where some children score goals early on, others achieve them later; however, no child, no matter what their nature, can succeed under a weight of expectations they cannot stand up to.
All children grow at different rates; all children require time to grow. Karate-do is for every child; however, know your child's nature and guide them accordingly.
Be patient, supportive, and understanding, because if you are not, they 'can-not'.
- The ultimate goal
- Training in martial arts at this school is a path far beyond a good punch or an amazing kick. As students progress along the path of karate-do at our school,
many challenges will face them: ability, work, diligence, patience, purpose, and so on. The ultimate goal of the training is not the short term successes that motivate them,
such as a new belt or a competition, rather, it is the development of something in each of them that will serve them long-term throughout their lives.
Long after the difficult steps of being a child is forgotten, the actions of the adult they have become are felt.
- Belts and trophies
- Achieving a belt or a trophy feels great, though receiving one without feeling like you earned it is worse than having failed or lost.
If competition is the only way to determine a child's success, most of them will never be good enough.
If you want your child to learn something, to blossom and grow, to get substance out of each belt and out of the training, parents must be patient and help them by focusing on the bigger picture.
So much more is gained from correcting errors, falling and getting up; so much more is learned from failing with a feeling of honesty than progressing with a feeling of dishonesty.
Belts and other honors are earned at this school and are not awarded otherwise.
- Will my child get a Black Belt?
- Not all students will make it to black belt at this school, and this is OK. Each school and organization that offers a black belt places their own value on it.
Some award a black belt to children, and others only to those eighteen years and older--to adults. Each child who trains at this school will leave or continue with exactly what they came to find,
but they will not be eligible for black belt until their seventeenth year.
Though Black Belt is a great goal, it is not the only reason to train, nor is it the only benefit. A well-earned green belt holds far more value than a premature black belt.
After all, a black belt is just a strip of cotton. Each student who graduates to black belt will have demonstrated a solid physical, mental, and spiritual depth unique to the obstacles
inherent to their disposition, and will have met the standards set forth in the curriculum of this school and that of Classical Martial Arts Canada, and its senior black belt directors (senseis).
- When to get started?
- For those between the ages of 4-12, martial arts is a wonderful foundation for any child fortunate enough to receive it. All that is required is a first step.
- Director's Biography
- Please click here to read about the school director and head instructor, Sensei J Bassels.