Both are boys with blond hair and blue eyes. One of them is 4 years old and named Tyler and the other is 5 and named Dalton. I tell Tyler to watch me as I reiterate the drill using Dalton as my partner. I tell them that they are doing great with the punches but in order to get in closer to grab their partners legs they must first lower their level closer to the ground and keep their head upright as they drive into their opponents body to bring them to the mat. After this demonstration I show the same move to Dalton using Tyler as my partner, that way they can both get the same point of view. After this example I watch as they perform the move again this time with significant improvement. I make sure to stand by and point out any little details I can to make them perform better. After a few minutes I can say that I witnessed significant improvement and that I can move on to the next student. Natasha is having trouble with this move as well. I show her the same movement that I had shown to Tyler and Dalton earlier and she executes the takedown with a lot of power. While she did a great job doing the move her hips fell to the floor a little bit and she lost a lot of the technique side of the move. I tell her to try the same move on me and she once again sags her hips too low to the floor and is unable to move me in the slightest. I show her how to keep her head up while she drives in for the takedown, that way her body will follow the upwards motion required to execute the move with better technique. After a few tries she has it down fantastically. Time 1 PM It’s time for the students too have two 2 minute sparring rounds to wrap up the practice. I watch as Tyler and Dalton circle around each other, waiting for an opening. Around me several kids have already fallen to the floor trying to take their partners down to the mat. It’s quite the funny scene watching each group of kids rolling around trying to get a dominant position. That is what makes MMA so fun in that it’s not just limited to standing up and punching but there are also kicks, and grappling allowed too. Two older particularly athletic kids are really going at it and crash into my leg as I sidestep around them. Neither of them are displaying any loss of temperament, they are just very competitive and drive each other to get better, which makes me happy to see as a teacher. Sensei Dave and Christian walk around to several different groups of children giving each child instruction as they spar. The first round ends and the children all still look fresh. It makes me wonder what about being an adult makes us tire so much easier than children do. The second round starts and I make my way over to Natasha to see how her and her partner are progressing. Natasha actually seems to be getting the short end of the session as she is training with an older girl named Susan who actually has been training even longer than Natasha and comes from a very athletic family. Natasha seems to be getting frustrated as all her punches are being blocked and countered. She looks over to me and our eyes meet for a second.
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- Fall '11