Picture 4, 5 & 6 year old children, lined up in straight rows, listening intently, learning about personal safety and how to follow directions. This isn’t a fantasy, it’s part of the nationwide program called Lil’ Dragons which South Central Taekwondo offers in Hastings and Grand Island.
Masters Vicki & Mike Neiman, who have been teaching martial arts for over 25 years, felt the current classes were too advanced for the younger students. Neiman’s visited with instructors from across the country and decided the Lil’ Dragons program would be ideal for children.
The Lil’ Dragons program is a special introduction to the martial arts for children ages 4-6, incorporating fun, games, and achievement awards. This program is designed to encourage balance, co-ordination, focus, listening, following instructions, and cooperation. This is a fun, safe way to ensure your children are keeping fit and learning at the same time. They will also touch on how to react to bullies and to strangers, and how NOT to be a bully.
In this age of television and play stations, children in this age group are often anxious to learn the martial arts, but don’t understand that hitting and kicking really hurts people. Neiman’s emphasize that punching and kicking can hurt and should never be practiced on other people, shown off to friends, or used outside of the class.
Lil’ Dragons receive monthly awards as well as special striped belts for each Achievement Level. When kids earn their belts it gives them a great sense of accomplishment that really improves the way they feel about themselves.
A psychological study found that children in martial arts have an increased sense of responsibility, a decrease in the willingness to take foolish risks and a higher sense of self esteem. This is why millions of parents are using martial arts to supplement their children’s education.