All children’s training is overseen by our co-founder and chief instructor Refael Kashani
(“Rafi”), who completed a specialization in children’s training in 2003 and has successfully
trained children of all ability statuses and backgrounds for the past fifteen years. He is
recognized as a specialist in this regard, working with students of all sizes, shapes, and
personalities. We run a Children’s Instructor Course in order to certify instructors to work
competently and effectively with young students, and all of our instructors who work with
children are hand-picked by Rafi after they have completed this certification. There is rigorous
continuing education for children’s instructors, meaning that the training that your children
experience is of the highest standard.
The children’s training that we offer is built upon a strong foundation of:
- Physical skills - flexibility, strength, speed and reaction time, agility, coordination, balance, cardiovascular endurance, bursting force, and general mobility
- Technical skills - performance of key Krav Maga techniques outlined in Young Practitioner curricula
- Emotional/psychosocial skills - confidence-building, discipline, focus, responsibility, leadership, constructive approaches to dealing with challenges and setbacks, working positively through stress, and healthy competitiveness
For us, being a strong practitioner of Krav Maga is not limited to self-defence; we have a rigorous educational focus that takes students from the studio to success in the world. Excellence is not something to be ashamed of, and we believe that professional behaviour begins with structure and encouragement in childhood.
Our children’s program is comprehensive, systematized by level. As students progress, they demonstrate their grasp of key techniques and their ability to perform them. Importantly, young students have opportunities to participate in enriched certifications, which act as benchmarks in the course of a child’s overall training. An assistant instructor course, instructor course, and mentored teaching program all allow young students to develop expertise in leadership, management, interpersonal relations, physical training design, and quick decision-making. All of our students learn in age-appropriate ways about nutrition, anatomy, physiology, biomechanics, coaching, and applied athletic principles. Once our students have reached their mid-teens, they will have completed the equivalent of a professional development program that prepares them to be safe and to excel in academic and corporate environments. This is, in essence, life-skills education.
What does the physical training itself look like? After all, Krav Maga is known for its emphasis on fast, effective neutralization of threats. How does this translate into children’s classes?
The physical techniques pair sensitive fine-motor patterns with strong, overall gross-motor movement. Both adults’ and children’s Krav Maga requires that defences be based on our natural reflexes, which is what makes the system intuitive and quick to learn. Accordingly, we concentrate on developing these reflexes in young students. Krav Maga benefits from its relative newness in comparison to more traditional arts: all techniques are informed by an understanding of the modern physical sciences, including anatomy, physiology, and biomechanics. There is no such thing as a technique performed for the sake of tradition in Krav Maga.
We take this emphasis on solid, scientifically valid training a step further by requiring all of our instructors to learn these foundations before teaching classes, and all of our instructors undergo continuing education. The system of instructor training in Israel is similarly demanding because there is national regulation of instructors’ academic qualifications. In Israel, the Wingate Institute is recognized as the preeminent provider of academic qualifications related to physical education, spanning sports programming, programming for disabilities, rehabilitation, military education, and more. We are fortunate to be led by Rafi, who is the only Wingate certified Krav Maga instructor to run schools in both North America and Asia.
One of the most important elements of the children’s programming is our unique method of home-studio communication. Parents become an integral part of their children’s Krav Maga progress by collaborating with their children’s instructor. Behaviour at home is an important reflection of the results of training in the studio - in a nutshell, class doesn’t finish when you go home!
What we’re really talking about is real-life applicability. If training is left behind on the mats, there’s no true benefit. The way that children conduct themselves outside of the studio environment is really what the training is meant to address. It happens frequently that children who have trained for years in other martial arts that are limited to rings and point-based competitions come to us after an altercation in the real world for which they were simply unready.
Our classes are dynamic and go beyond the repetition used commonly in traditional arts. This keeps children engaged, interested, and excited to come to class. Because Krav Maga is not meant for refereed situations, it prepares children for genuine problem-solving in environments and situations like school, travelling alone or in small groups, playgrounds, etc. This extends beyond immediate childhood environs, as well; our “kids” develop the skills necessary to be safe and aware when they move on to boarding-schools, student hostels, or overseas study later in life. We consider ourselves a part of a child’s life beyond the studio, a partner with parents, and a vehicle for building happier, healthier, and safer communities.
Some of the most important topics that we address in training include how to deal proactively with bullying, promoting healthy competitiveness and leadership skills, appropriate communication and reactivity, and using stressors in positive, motivating ways. We believe that resilience is one of the most important traits that a child can develop, and we mentor all of our young students to define and develop it in every aspect of training.
We are committed to the education and safety of all children. In fact, outside of our regular children’s classes, we offer separate training exclusively dedicated to students with special needs. These classes welcome children who are often turned away from similar programming - children who have been victimized and children who have developmental and learning delays.