5 THINGS TO KNOW: Taekwondo kids camp teaches art of ninjutsu

KELCI MCKENDRICK | Staff photoMaster Ray Harp, center, head instructor of McAlester Tae Kwon Do, teaches kids anti-bullying methods at McAlester Public Library on June 19. Harp will be one of five instructors teaching the Summer Ninja Camp on June 21.

Betsy Dew, fourth Dan owner and instructor at McAlester Tae Kwon Do, provides details about Friday’s Summer Ninja Camp at McAlester Tae Kwon Do.

1 What skills will the camp teach kids?

They will be learning the art of ninjutsu, which is stealth, concealment, ways of throwing, ways of stealth, which is movement. They will also learn anti-bullying skills and self management skills.

2 How is learning self defense at a young age helpful?

The very young children, let’s say pre-K age — gross motor skill development is a major developmental goal for that age group, and martial arts is gross motor skills. So blocking, kicking, the movements are all gross motor skills. We don’t use fine motor skills, a so it’s very suitable for pre-K and K. Then grade school kids, it gives them that sense of confidence to deal with children that are still hitting and pushing as a way of dealing with anger — getting out of the way, blocking, using your voice. Self confidence, self defense and self control.

3 What can be expected to happen throughout the day?

They will learn some hiding methods. They will learn to use nunchucks. They will learn how to use throwing stars. They will learn anti-bullying skills. They will learn patience skills through some exercises, through the chopstick and beans exercise. (We keep the kids focused) by changing what we do fairly often.

4 Are snacks provided at the camp?

Yes. We’re trying to provide healthy snacks, so we have bottled water, and we have granola bars and fresh fruit, and maybe graham crackers. We will also be reading a book from the Magic Treehouse series, Night of the Ninjas.

5 What does taekwondo teach/mean for kids?

Taekwondo means feet, hands, way of life — do is way of life, and it’s designed to teach self confidence, self control and self defense. Those are the kind of the hallmarks — to learn about fighting to avoid fighting.