Sifu Och Afterschool Programs, Building Character
Instead of sitting around the house lazily watching cartoons or playing video games, children ages 4+ are expanding their talents and developing character at the Wing Chun Sifu Och Afterschool Programs in downtown Lakeland. Each weekday, children are exposed to a different skill—but only after they’ve finished their homework and received help from certified staff tutors.
Mondays are dedicated to culinary arts, and this school year, students have learned about different spices and their uses, kitchen safety, the functions of certain cookware, and how to read a recipe. One of the children’s favorite culinary lessons so far was concocting their own no-bake cookies by following a detailed recipe.
On Tuesdays, students practice several dance routines led by professional dance instructor Kevin Rios of Lakeland’s Just Dance Academy of Dance and Etiquette, an after school programs partner. Children are currently performing hip-hop line dances such as the Kung Fu Electric Slide (a combination of the popular 70s anthem “Kung Fu Fighting” with the movements from the “Electric Slide” line dance) and “The Wobble.” When the children are finished moving to the high energy beats, Sifu Och takes control of the class and teaches several martial arts techniques from the kung fu, Chinese ju-jitsu, karate, taekwondo, and boxing styles to build flexibility, agility, and strength.
Martial arts instruction is also the main focus of Thursday’s program, while Wednesdays are solely dedicated to dance. Finally, Friday’s lessons rotate between arts-and-crafts and theater. Children are currently enjoying an improvisation unit, but they will soon be preparing for a unique, full-scale performance based on the Christmas story.
Although the children learn a little from all sorts of practices, the most important thing Sifu Och and his volunteers have instilled in the students are basic life principles such as discipline, teamwork, responsibility, respect, and restraint. In fact, before children can engage in martial arts and receive their Wing Chun Kung Fu uniforms, they must demonstrate the above characteristics.
“You have to teach them the basics before they can make it in martial arts—and life,” said after school program volunteer and Wing Chun student Liz DeVries.
Sifu Och After School Program staff members require much out of their students, requiring them to clean up after themselves, help others in need, and control their behavior. If certain students are unable to act with discipline, their privilege to participate in activities is revoked. Minor infractions, on the other hand, result extra exercises like the despised sprawls, also known as squat thrusts or burpees.
Sifu Och also challenges his students to demonstrate character at home and in school. For example, if a student successfully performs 40 chores in 2 weeks, he/she will receive a yellow uniform belt stripe. In addition, if a student scores an “A” on three quizzes or tests or obtains a report card with all A’s and B’s, he/she will earn a blue stripe. Other stripes—green, black, and red—are collected by mastering martial arts techniques with power and displaying leadership qualities.
This is the first year Sifu Och Wing Chun has partnered with Just Dance for this unique sifu och afterschool programs. So far, it has been a huge success as approximately 42 children from seven different area schools attend each day, and the program is still accepting new students.
If you are interested in seeing your child grow, achieve, and discover new passions, enroll him/her in the Sifu Och After School Program today for just $75/week. Register online or call (863) 800-0171
Building Character at the Sifu Och After School Programs
By Amanda Furmage-Deck
For more info watch this videos