Systema for Kids: to learn something, teach it

wpid-fb_img_1423637180342.jpgThe Teacher learns far more than the student. (Zig Ziglar)

I started a new journey teaching kids the fundamentals of Systema: breathing, relaxation, structure and movement. Strength, courage and humility are qualities found in Systema’s principles going back for centuries, so I will also be focusing on character building and discipline to educate the children to become better people. It can be challenging to teach children; they never stand still and their attention span is short, so I have set the class to last 20-30 minutes. We start with the children falling in a formation rank like in the military; to develop good character and the right attitude, we repeat the code of honor or Scout’s promise and Scout’s law. I chose this because I was a Boy Scout myself, making it all the way to Eagle Scout. It created the foundation of who I am today and I believe in its principles. Scouting even opened the doors to the military which its discipline and values shaped my character and helped me grow as a person of integrity in leadership and responsibility. I believe that if taught to the children early and on regularly, it will be rooted deep into their sub-conscious becoming part of them and their values for life.
We spent time on breathing and movement drills, emphasizing relaxation which I quickly learned that children don’t know how to relax without being calm. They are already “relax” in their own terms without worries, being playful and happy. I have to adjust the drills based on each child reaction and skill level. Overtime I will have everyone going at the same pace once they are familiar with the drills. In general it is all fun and play, rolling on the floor, running around, jumping up and down, and just being kids. To me teaching is also learning because I am involved in the process and I get the best feedback from the children’s position. Learning is finding out what we already know. Doing is demonstrating that you know it. Teaching is reminding others that they know just as well as you. You are all learners, doers and teachers. (Richard Bach, Illusions: Reflections of a Reluctant Messiah.)