Learning to Focus
Freja has passed her belt test and earned her Little Champions orange with gold stripe ranking. She's been working hard at learning how to control herself this past rotation. Trying to keep calm, to focus on what is being taught, and learning the moves were the main goals she'd set for herself. Naturally, both we and the instructors encouraged her to set and achieve those goals, but at the end of it all it had to be her choice to follow through. I keep telling her, she earns rank on her own. We can't earn belt advancements for her.
One of the nicest changes we're seeing is how she's trying to model self-discipline, and set a good example for others. Sure, she sometimes becomes overly excited and acts goofy, or tries to do crazy stunts with the equipment, as any 6yo should, but those occurrences are becoming less frequent. When I watch her grapple and spar, I often see she's now keeping eye contact with her partner, becoming more focused on what she's doing.
The Black Stripe
Parents are encouraged to reward each kid at least once, if not more, during each rotation by presenting the kid with a "black stripe" for their belt. To earn the stripe the child must display some sort of positive behavior at home, such as cleaning up after themselves without being asked, etc.. This rotation she earned her stripe from an incident I witnessed at a playground. It was just before school began, our summer activities were all over so I thought a playground trip was in order. As we pulled up I witnessed a boy about 9 or 10yo picking on a little girl. They were all part of a group of five children of various ages that were all together. "This should be interesting," I thought as I settled in to read my book while she played. I didn't know what was going to happen, but I knew there was going to be an inevitable incident.
Basically, they began to pick on her, challenging her to do stunts. As she did them, she'd challenge them to even crazier ones. Finally, a couple of the kids just began to be mean, trying to get her to leave. Instead of fighting, or leaving she did something that really surprised me. All this was happening on one of those modern "jungle gyms" where there's one of those "ladder" things that are parallel to the ground, and kids swing hand over hand across. Instead of leaving, or getting upset, she climbed UP on top of it, sat in lotus position, placed her hands on her knees palms up, closed her eyes, and "meditated." This perplexed the other kids so much they all left. Yeah, that earned her a stripe in my book.
Link to Her School