Teaching Martial Arts With the Brain in Mind: Long Term & Working Memory

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

“Think, think, think!”

Do you remember the classic Winnie the Pooh cartoon? Do you remember watching Pooh Bear wander to his thinking spot to try and recall his most important thoughts? He would sit and ponder what it was he forgot so that maybe, just maybe he would be able to get back on track to finish whatever it is he set out to do.

But, more often than not, a butterfly would pass by catching Pooh Bear’s eye or a buzzing bee flying to the hive full of honey, only to distract him from his mission to remember whatever it was he forgot.

Summer fun and carefree, sunny days can have the same Pooh Bear affect on our kiddos! Distractions of play, engagement in special activities, shifts out of a usual routine while all well intentioned can at times contribute to a spirit of forgetfulness in our children.

Just as we cannot fault Pooh from wanting the honey more than finishing his mission of the moment, so too can we not fault our kiddos for wanting to enjoy days away from school with as little stress, anxiety or worry as possible!

But, how does one ensure their child does not fall prey to the “Brain Drain?” Great question!

Cue the Brain SKILLZ!


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.

Thus far, we have taken a closer look at:

  • Speed of Processing
  • Divided Attention
  • Attention Control
  • Response Inhibition

Now, let us take a closer look at the next two Brain SKILLZ in this series:

Long Term Memory

“Long Term Memory is storage of information acquired over a long period of time.”

When this skill is a strength:

• One can readily recall information stored in the past. (Semantic)

• One can excel in things learned previously because of the fluent recall from doing them in the past. (Episodic)

A great example of this is riding a bike!

When this skill is weak:

• Forgetting things one used to know is common.

• Further, performing poorly on physical and/or intellectual tests is common.

Working Memory

“Working Memory is the ability to hang onto information while performing tasks.”

When this skill is a strength:

• One is able to focus and maintain attention.

• Accomplishing tasks independently comes easier.

A great example of this is repeating a kicking combination that was just learned!

When this skill is weak:

• One tends to forget was what was just said or learned.

• Further, it is challenging following directions.

Through game-based learning and nurturing, we are honing in on supporting Long Term Memory as well as Working Memory to be able to prevent “Brain Drain” from happening to our students. By facilitating purposeful intellectual alongside physical exercises throughout the duration of our class time enjoyment together, we are ensuring that the summer slide does not affect our kiddos. Rather, we are preparing them for even greater success in their return to school this Fall because their minds will be primed physically, intellectually, emotionally and socially for the upload of more great knowledge across the board!

How exciting is it to know that we are actively supporting the Long Term and Working Memory of every SKILLZ Strong Ninja we serve through the power of play and game-based learning!

Our Team of purposefully trained Pediatric Ninja Specialists are all well versed in the knowledge of the developing mind at each age and stage of development. Why? Because each phase of the developing child’s journey presents its own incredibly unique set of challenges as well as milestones! We love being able to support both parents and students in the journey of physical as well as neurodevelopment. So if you have questions or need support beyond the mats, let us know! We are here for you all every step of the way to help support, nurture and guide.

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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