If you want ideas, all your kids have been to different sporting training. Just ask each one to lead his or her favourite. Get them to bring a new one next week. You can always finish off with a few of your own if the kids haven't covered everything. Take a look at our Stretching Exercises page for a few ideas to start with.
Partner Drills - Fun Ideas for Kids & Adults
I might have eight stations with one child in charge of each station and the rest of the class going through the circuit. I would tell them how many of each cut they had to do. Then we would swap and let the finishers be the station watchers and the other half of the class do the circuit.
It's unlimited in potential fun ideas for kids. You can go around again left handed, make one of the stations a section of the form, make one a partner exercise with the station guard, make one a strength exercise, etc. Let the kids make a few choices if you have time. they always love that.
What if? More Fun Ideas for Kids & AdultsThis is a game where one of the more advanced kids or an instructor invents a scene. For example What if I swing my sword horizontally at your head and then drop low to swing it at your lower legs?
Each child has a turn responding to the situation and tries to invent a different set of defenses. It's a bit like lots of ways to play out a drama and there is always laughter, while some serious training is happening. Of course, we always use padded kids swords when we are doing this. Kids can choose the "What ifs?" too. It's fun for them if the instructor has a go at one of their scenes.
Mini TournamentScott Rodell brought this to our kids training years ago and it has lasted the time since as one of the favourites. Half the ideas on this page are his. Pair kids up for short bouts while the others watch and give comments at the end for what worked or could be improved. Then pair the winners against each other - the losers against losers too, if there is time. Bring it down to a final pair and see who is the champion for the day. The champion's prize can be a bout with the instructor. This helps keep their head in the right place.
Catch the RingThis is a great game for training precision with thrusts. Someone stands to one side and tosses rings (large rolls of tape will do). The person with the sword tries to thrust at it and catch it on the end of their sword. The padded kids swords require larger rings than the wooden training swords. With a small group this can be done with a single line of kids. A larger group can make teams. I usually let a child have one attempt and go to the back of the line so the game moves quickly. It can be scored in various ways. For example, when a child has caught a ring five times. they can sit down and watch or do another activity. Or, it might be the first team to twenty catches.
There can be an individual winner or a team winner. It can be a tournament with each pair having to do the best out of five tosses and the winner continuing to the next round. There are lots of fun ideas for kids precision training, as unlimited as your imagination. Remember to listen to the kids "Hey, Miss, we could do this...." and suddenly you have a whole new seed for new fun ideas for kids.
Answers to a....I sometimes line the kids up and have them find ideas for how to deal with a certain cut. They might have a go and then go to the back of the line, giving them time to think up a new answer for their next turn. Even a beginner can find four answers to a thrust. Kids who have been around a bit longer might find ten different answers.
A variation is to put them in pairs and try out answers to a Zhao for example. Then move them to the next partner to take their best ideas and share them around. The answers can be discussed at the end when the group comes back together. The kids can be set to slow freeplay to try and use some of the answers. This helps them think on their feet. This is one of the most useful fun ideas for kids because they all learn from each other.
You be the Teacher
Matrix SpeedKids love to go fast in freeplay but this means the more advanced can't train well with the newer students. Paul Wagner coined the phrase "Matrix Speed" from the movies where one person appears to have a lot more time because he is operating at extreme speed. To us, it means everyone plays very slowly. This helps students train together no matter what their ability. It gives each one time to think about what is coming and respond to it with better principles and more varied applications. You can tell them to speed it up by 25% if they are both capable. It's also a good way to train a new application - slow until it is trained into the body, then with more speed or more resistance from the training partner, until both can do it full speed and with variations.
Kids, and probably adult students as well, pick up new applications faster and more accurately with these small increases in speed, than they do starting off at full speed.
Multiple partnersAnother fun idea for kids swordsmanship training is to set sveral of them onto one of the older students and see how long she can survive. You can make your own rules and variations. It's a lot of fun. Give the attackers different weapons to make it even more interesting. One might have a spear, another a jian, another a dao and tengpai, and another a miaodao. It's a good idea to have the victim in armour.
ChoicesThis is one of the things our kids like most of all. I break the training time into blocks and give each kid a sign up sheet when they arrive. They know what is going to happen in that block and who the group instructor will be. I might make up to eight blocks in an afternoon of training.
Here's an example of one of our training sessions. Yes it's colourful, but this page is about fun ideas for kids.
I will add more fun ideas for kids swordsmanship training as they come to mind. Please feel free to contribute to this page by clicking here. Write your idea and send a picture if you have one. I will test out any untried ideas on my own Sword Club kids before adding them to the page.
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