Teaching Martial Arts With the Brain in Mind: Attention Control & Response Inhibition

“We are always in a perpetual state of being created and creating ourselves.” Dr. Daniel J. Siegel, The Developing Mind

“Honey… SHOES!!”

Monday morning. The clock is ticking down to the start of summer camp and the excitement throughout the house is real!

Two eager young boys have been waiting all winter for fun in the sun with friends and family… And now it is officially here!!

In the heat of the summer, it is kind of hard to enjoy all the festivities without your shoes! Cue a crazy Monday morning where my sons brains were already set on fun and fun alone vs. the missions of the moment to get ready for the said summer fun.

Just as we adults have our moments of distraction and forgetfulness, so do our kids! The difference is, most adults are aware when a misstep occurs how they can reel it back in quite promptly and efficiently to get back on track. This is not a skill we were born with, it was learned. Now as parents, it is our job to equip our karate kids with tools like the Brain SKILLZ elements: Attention Control and Response Inhibition.

The developing mind is a fascinating field of study, one which SKILLZ takes very seriously. While the physically supportive elements of our programming are certainly important and vital to ensuring the overall success of each and every one of our students, support of the changing, growing, learning and evolving mind as children grow are all key to helping intellectual, emotional and social growth and development thrive.

Let us take a closer look at the next two Brain SKILLZ in this series:

Attention Control

“Attention Control allows you to stay on point for a sustained period of time.”

When this skill is a strength:

• Full attention is given to the mission of the moment.

• One is capable of seeing a task all the way through before moving on to another.

When this skill is weak:

• Missions of the moment go unfinished.

• One jumps from task to task without completion of one before going on to the next.

Response Inhibition

“Response Inhibition allows you to stay on task despite the distractions all around you.”

When this skill is a strength:

• One is able to actively participate in a variety of missions and activities because distractions do not stop or inhibit them from seeing it all the way through.

• One can see missions of the moment through both independently and via group learning.

When this skill is weak:

• One can be easily distracted.

• Or even demotivated.

Through game-based learning and nurturing, we are honing in on supporting Attention Control as well as Response Inhibition to be able to properly help today’s youth be able to intellectually thrive in and beyond the academic setting through our experiences together on the mats. Because children learn best through play, what better time than summer to really be intentional and purposeful in helping our kids increase their Attention Control abilities as well as ability to see a mission through to completion with Response Inhibition!

How are we accomplishing this?

By using accompanying Teaching SKILLZ such as Re-Directing and Parent SKILLZ of Prompting, we are helping our students:

· Thrive in their Attention Control; redirecting and prompting as needed to help them learn and grow in their ability to maintain focus on the missions of the moment.

· Further, in SKILLZ drills practice, we are intentionally nurturing Response Inhibition in the moment by supporting and guiding a maintaining focus, control and discipline of self when friends are working on their SKILLZ in an adjacent line.

For more tips and ideas on how you can nurture these Brain SKILLZ at home and on the go this summer, simply connect with one of our instructors! We love putting our heads together with our dojo parents to help support all of our students in taking their intellectual development to the next level!

About the Author

Meg Klettke is the proud owner alongside her husband, Alex of Family Strong Sussex, a SKILLZ Lifetime Gold studio in Southeastern Wisconsin. With a background in traditional and alternative therapeutics, Meg is an active advocate for today’s youth. Her passion for supporting and nurturing the whole child resonates through all she does as a Proud Ninja Mom of two boys with special needs, Certified Pediatric Ninja Specialist and Content Creator for SKILLZ Worldwide

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