Be sure to visit the MATA Pre-Age Students section for great information on Little Dragons, Little Ninjas, and all pre-school age students.
Drill 1: Dragon Ball
The instructor will bounce the ball to the Dragon and the Dragon must strike or kick the ball back to the instructor with the technique of choice depending on rank and style.
Goal: This drill develops good aim by using a visual aide as target practice for their martial art techniques.
Step 1: Split the groups into three in a line max with an instructor in front of each line. Three to a line ensures that no one has time to get bored and wander.
Step 2: The Dragon must strike the ball back to the instructor with the technique of the instructor’s choice.
Step 3: Repeat step 2 with each Dragon until everyone has gone at least 3 times.
Instructor Tips: Make sure that each Dragon has good eye contact on the ball and strikes the ball with proper technique. It is in my experience teaching Dragons when I discovered that the more you enforce hitting the ball straight back to the instructor, the better technique and proper execution each Dragon will develop. Constantly explain why good aim, execution, and technique will make for a more developed Dragon.
Drill 2: Dragon in the middle
The instructor will have each Dragon take turns to be blindfolded in the middle while all of the Dragons try to tag him or her.
Goal: This drill will help each Dragon focus on their reflexes concentrating on touch and sound because their eyes are covered.
Step 1: Gather all of the Dragons in a circle.
Step 2: Select one Dragon to be in the middle. Blindfold the Dragon selected to be in the middle.
Step 3: Point to one Dragon at a time on the outside of the circle to sneak up and tag the Dragon in the middle.
Step 4: The Dragon in the middle (who is blindfolded) must react and tag whoever touched them before they run to the outside of the circle. Repeat step three until everyone on the outside of the circle has a chance to tag the Dragon in the middle.
Step 5: Repeat steps 2-4 until every Dragon has a chance to be in the middle.
Instructor Tips: Make sure each Dragon concentrates on what they hear and feel. They should react as fast as they can each time someone tags them. Remember to enforce quick reaction on their tag backs.
Drill 3: Dragon Dodge Ball
The instructors must throw the dodge ball at the Dragons as they try to jump, duck, and move out of the way.
Goal: This drill will help Dragons focus on their surroundings and be able to react fast against moving objects.
Step 1: Put one instructor or parent on each end of the room.
Step 2: Direct all of the Dragons to stay in the middle of the floor and move about like Dragons.
Step 3: Have the instructors or parents throw the dodge ball at the Dragons.
Step 4: When the ball tags a Dragon, the Dragon must sit against the wall until the drill is over.
Step 5: The drill is over when everyone has been tagged.
Instructor Tips: Make sure that the Dragons practice their dodging skills without trying to run around as fast as they can. Enforce that there are many Dragons moving about so they need to be careful not to bump into each other. They will improve their Dragon skills better if they try to duck or jump over the ball instead of running away from whoever is throwing at them.
Drill 4: Dragon Says
The drill is the same as the traditional game “Simon Says” except for “Dragons” make better role models.
Goal: This drill will help Dragons on their listening skills when your instructor gives specific commands.
Step 1: Line up all of the Dragons into one straight line facing the instructor.
Step 2: Explain to the Dragons that they must listen for the command “Dragon Says” before they respond to the order.
Step 3: The Dragons who respond to the order given without the command “Dragon says” is automatically out and must sit against the wall until the drill is over.
Step 4: The Dragon can also be ejected if they do not perform the proper technique after the command and order is given.
Step 5: Repeat various commands until every Dragon is out.
Instructor Tips: Challenge the Dragons by using specifics such as “left punch” or “right kick”. Your Dragons will become sharp after doing this drill if you spend the time to encourage them to know their left from their right.
Drill 5: Dragon target practice
Using small square pads as targets, the Dragons must strike the pad and send it across the floor as far as they can.
Goal: This drill will develop power and follow through on each technique.
Step 1: Split the Dragons into two lines at one end of the room using the rest of the floor space for the targets to land.
Step 2: Have one instructor in front of each line to hold the small square target between both palms with the striking side facing the Dragon.
Step 3: Have the Dragon strike the pad with the technique of your choice (depending on rank and style) as hard as they can.
Step 4: Instruct the Dragons to strike the pad the as far as possible.
Step 5: Have and assistant at the other end of the floor measure the results.
Step 6: Repeat each step until every Dragon gets a turn.
Instructor Tips: Make sure that each strike executed is done with proper technique and good follow through. Also enforce that the direction of the strike must be straight. Aim is important when striking as well. If the pad is struck near the top, the pad will fly downward. If the pad is struck at the bottom, the pad will fly straight up. Striking the pad in the middle will send it much further across the floor.
Remember that these drills should be taught with a strong emphasis on getting the Little Dragon’s to really concentrate what they are doing. One good way to do so is to constantly catch their attention. Avoid any long-term gap between you and each student. The more you focus on them, the more they will focus on you and the task at hand.
At the end of this class, you should reward each Dragon with a red stripe showing that they have passed their focus requirement for that belt. At testing time, you can select one or more of these drills to demonstrate in front of the judges. Each drill is designed to accommodate all ranks and styles. The higher rank the student, the more difficult techniques you should use in each drill; and the higher standards you should set for their performance.