This picture gallery will give you a little taste of what Daventry Tigers is all about. We are primarily here to teach the Korean Martial Art of Tae Kwon-do, but there is more to Tigers than just kicking and punching:
TIGER CUBS - 4 & 5.
Just like the older children, Cubs always warm up and stretch before starting class. Our fantastic junior assistant instructors often lead this element of the class (under adult supervision at all times). Tiger Cubs is about having fun and introducing younger children to all aspects of Tae Kwon-do. We don't put the sparring gear on very often, but the children always love it when we do.
Everything is tightly controlled to make sure no one gets hurt and the children learn the value of and respect for others.
The key element of Cubs is fun. But this does not mean a lack of discipline. The children learn quickly to stand still in rows like soldiers and we look to begin developing listening skills and focus week one.
Kicking properly and with control is a huge element of Tae Kwon-do.
Building confidence is key to developing a child's progress at a martial art. This begins with shouting! Some children have no problem with this - others struggle with it. Ask them to roar like Tigers, though...
Mega dodgeball has become a 'must play' game in Tigers. We play most weeks as a reward for concentrating well at the regular drills. Some of the children take it seriously, but most just have fun running around.
We do play other games, too: bridges and logs, silent ninjas, steal the samuri and several other favourites. All of the games are designed to increase agility, focus, teamwork and coordination of movement.
The games break up the main teaching blocks, where we teach the children basic defence and offence techniques that are examined to progress them through their belts.
But even this can be fun!
Even at 4 & 5 years old, I'm amazed at how focused some of the children can become. It is a super discipline and there is no doubt that this helps children develop many areas of their character.
These guys and girls are our role models for the younger ones. All have come through Tigers and now train with the adults in Master White's classes. They have each now undergone 6 months of training on how to teach. All have gained at least A grades in many of their own belt gradings, and several have gained exceptional A* grades. You could not wish to meet a nicer group of young people!
TIGERS - 6 to 10
The emphasis shifts slightly towards the teaching blocks in Tigers. We still play the games, but they are not quite such a big part of the class.
Discipline is stepped up a little.
Techniques are sharpened as the children begin to have more command over their bodies.
Focus and posture are gradually improved and expectations are increased when it comes to practice and results in gradings.
Daventry Tigers has an enviable record of grading results - one of the best in the country.
Making good use of our role models to help demonstrate techniques to the more junior students has proved very effective. What's more, the leadership programme has given yet another goal for students to strive towards.
Rewards and positive reinforcement of good behaviour, focus and effort are a large part of our classes. We have a Tiger of the Week every week, who gets a medal to take home for the week and a Tiger of the Month, who gets to wear a purple belt and take a trophy home for the month. Regardless of actual grade, the Tiger of the Month becomes head of the class for that month and all the other students bow to them at the end of each class.
Throughout the Tigers experience, our aim is to make it fun. But more than this, we try to instill qualities in the children that will stand them in good stead for the future. Tae Kwon-do is built on the 5 pillars: courtesy, integrity, self control, perseverance and indomitable spirit. We feel that these are great qualities with which to equip young people.
Tigers Advanced Class
Since September 2015, we have been running Tigers Advanced Classes for students ranked green tag and above. Here we teach more advanced techniques with an emphasis on the higher level patterns, set sparring and more free sparring.
Some children get quite nervous about sparring. The way we teach it is as a game of Tig - the only differences are that you score more points if you Tig someone with your foot rather than your hand and there are only certain areas on the body that you can Tig to score. Contact is kept very light and this aspect of training is very closely supervised.
Flexibility and speed of movement are key to being good at sparring, which is why many of the games we play involve agility and speed.
We often use focus pads at all grade levels to increase accuracy and develop the technical aspects of techniques.
At Daventry Tigers, we strive for excellence. Excellent performances in class, excellent behaviour and excellent results in grading through excellent teaching.
The TAGB belt syllabus has been well thought out and we do our best to follow that syllabus to the letter. By the time they grade, the children can all do exactly what the adults do for their belts.
With that in mind, there is no rush to get to black belt - we are not here simply to push children through gradings. We want to help them to learn and to teach them what it takes to persevere at something. We want to show them what it means to be courteous and respectful. We give an outlet for excess energy and hopefully turn out strong young people of integrity, fostering an indomitable spirit and strength of character that will help them stand out and achieve to their full potential for the rest of their lives. With the help of our generous sponsors, we also encourage the children to compete in Regional, National and International competitions. A growing number of children are becoming successful, bringing home medals and trophies at all levels. And when they get too old for Tigers, we encourage them to continue their training with the older children and adults in Master Jackson White's classes.