I had an “aha!” moment in class last night.

Teaching my class of 5 to 7 year olds provides constant reminders that precise language and making the connections makes all the difference in whether a child understands how to execute a technique.

For example, tonight I was working on the basic block, check, counter drill with one of the kids. His footwork was not quite right. I demonstrated the correct footwork and instructed him to step to the right against angle 1 and to the left against angle 2.

For some reason, my footwork instruction wasn’t getting through. Then I recalled that he and I had been working on the “one step” footwork pattern.

“Hmmm” I thought to myself.

I instructed the kid “Do the one step footwork when I attack you.”

Bingo, the kid got it.  

That provided a lesson for me: whenever possible, connect the curriculum material to each other.

As Homer Simpson would say “Doh!”  I’m always learning when teaching kids! I’m sure that I will have many more “aha!” moments while teaching these great kids. 🙂

Have you had frustrations with teaching children and find that changing instructions or the wording can lead to an “aha!” moment for the child? Let’s hear about it!


If you or your child are interested in enrolling in Filipino martial arts classes in the Durham Region (Ajax, Whitby, Oshawa), Bamboo Spirit Martial Arts is the place!

For information on adult classes, click here.

For information on children classes, click here.

Feel free to contact me at or text me at 905-924-3764.

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3 thoughts on “An “Aha!” Moment

  • July 6, 2015 at 10:48 pm

    Hi Brian,

    I know this is an older post, but I just found it under your new one.

    You are absolutely on the right track: In teacher training we were constantly taught to, if somehow possible, always connect the new material to the previous knowledge pupils already have (whether that be knowledge from previous classes or from their everyday lives doesn’t matter).


    • July 7, 2015 at 10:56 am

      Hi Fabian,

      Thanks for stopping by again! When you refer to “teacher training” are you referring to your role as a martial arts teacher or are you a school teacher? Just curious.


  • July 9, 2015 at 2:26 am

    Hi Brian,

    I was indeed refering to school teacher training. I did not become a school teacher in the end, but I went through all the basic training 😉

    Connecting new material to previous knowledge is a didactic method that has become immensely popular over the past decade and a half or so – I assume the idea has probably been around as long as teaching itself has, though. It does work wonders in getting new material across sometimes, like you have described in the blog post above.

    The little “aha”-moments we have when teaching are super-important in my opinion. Sometimes they just make things clearer for a student, other times they help us gain a much deeper understanding of what we’re doing than we previously had ourselves 🙂



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