Why do kids love Kung Fu?
Kids like to be challenged and fully engaged in learning. And of course, they love the kicking and punching! Kung Fu is not easy, so I break it down for beginners to ensure they get a solid foundation. From there they can advance pretty quickly if they are disciplined and practice at home. Some kids love learning the forms (choreographed movements), others love the self defense (real life defense as well as traditional kung fu), and some really love the fighting. Parents love how their children’s concentration, self-discipline, and respect improve, at home and at school. And everyone loves being part of the kung fu family.
Why do did you decide to become a Kung Fu teacher?
I love kung fu and self defense, and continue to train in new forms and fighting and bring that learning of different styles into my teaching of Pai Lum kung fu. I have also trained for 10+ years in yoga, meditation, and dance and have additional training in women’s self defense. I believe everyone has the right to defend themselves and should be able to do it whatever their age or fitness level. My krav maga class is mostly ages 60+!
What is the most important piece of advice you have for parents?
Find an activity that your children enjoys and then support them in sticking with it. It’s fine to try new things here and there, but find that one thing your kid loves to do and then encourage them to do their very best and keep going so they develop their skill to a level of proficiency. This is a lifelong skill that will benefit them in whatever they pursue.
What is the most important piece of advice you have for kids?
Be open to trying new things and know that it will take a while to get good at it. If you only do stuff you are already good at, you won’t learn new things and life will be boring. Anything worth doing is worth doing badly – at first! And then you work hard to learn it, practice a lot, and then you get good at it, and that is the best feeling!
How would you advise parents to teach your subject matter at home.
Ask your child to show you what they learned. Ask them what they are going to practice this week. And then support them in that, like setting an amount of time, say 10 minutes/day, to practice, and make sure they do their practice before the after-dinner screen time or whatever.
What are the key ingredients to teaching what you teach?
Love, discipline, respect, and fun. We work hard in class, and I always make sure to throw in something fun, like a game or opportunity to perform for each other.
What makes your school unique?
I teach traditional kung fu but I incorporate many disciplines into how I teach it, from krav maga (street defense) to meditation, yoga and dance. My students work hard and learn to be very disciplined, but they also have a lot of fun. It’s the real fun that comes from being part of a community of dedicated martial artists. One of the special things we do is twice a month my students and I go teach kung fu at Friendship Circle Washington to special needs kids. My students love it!
- Sifu Kimberly Bowen, Owner and Lead Instructor of Macabee Martial Arts Seattle, www.macabeeseattle.com