It has been a short week with no school this past Monday. The students have lots of energy and want to do everything fast and quickly: punching, kicking, and our warm-ups. Thus, I made a point to focus a little more on stretching and slowing down the body during martial arts today to help students have calm bodies and refocus their minds.
Warmed up and ready to go after lots of high energy movements, we spent floor time stretching and breathing. We breathed and counted to ten while we stretched. Students and I discussed the importance of stretching: building strength, flexibility, and coordination in our bodies. It helps with our kicks, punches, running, and overall fitness. This is a good time for students to develop awareness of their bodies, their strengths and where and how they need to improve. They are proud when they can reach a little further than last month or balance better than last year. Through stretching, they work on core muscles that help lift them up, which translates to sitting in the classroom, or climbing on the playground.
Many of them look forward to specific stretches we do and sometimes I add in new ones to keep them challenged. Today, a few students showed us new stretches and what they can do with their body; they are flexible from doing gymnastic, ballet, and other martial arts classes! A few students dread the ones that are hard for them and after working on them over time, they can do it a little better each time. It is my third year teaching martial arts at Parish and I see the growth in flexibility, strength, and coordination from the students’ combined work of therapies, Parish, outside hobbies, and the bit of martial arts they receive. After all our stretching, we are ready to meditate to work on inner peace.