A self-defence programme teaches more than just taekwon-do to
A NEW form of martial arts, introduced in September last year, is
fast gaining popularity.
The Little Dragons Programme, an alternative form of taekwon-do
designed especially for kids, has found enthusiastic takers.
The School of Taekwon-do is the only centre in Singapore that
offers the programme through its four training centres.
At last count, there were at least 50 who have signed up.
Put together by Scott Downey, a Canadian child psychologist and
an International Taekwon-do Federation fifth-degree Black Belt, the
programme is meant for kids between the ages of 4 and 7.
Consisting of moral education, meditation and a fair share of
kicks and punches, the programme strives to teach kids the essence
of self-defence in an environment filled with fun and laughter.
''The kids really enjoy themselves,'' says KC Tan, chairman for
the School of Taekwon-do.
''They have fun while learning some important values in life, and
that's what really sets this programme apart from the usual way
taekwon-do is taught in Singapore.''
As if reinforcing the view that practitioners of martial arts
must be serious and solemn, the children pretend to put up serious
faces when asked to share with Project Eyeball exactly how much they
''I very much like it,'' whispers Jingjie Joseph, a six-year-old
boy who joined the programme when it first started in September last
''It is very good and it is a lot of fun.''
Orhun Timurcam Ozcelik, a part-Turkish five-year-old, agrees with
a solemn nod.
Before long, he and the rest are lined up in neat rows eagerly
waiting to hear what the instructor has to say.
Timurcam's mother, Loh, says: ''You think they are just having
fun, but they are actually concentrating on what is being
''Discipline comes in also.''
Hasinah, whose five-year-old son, Daniel Nurhakim, is also in the
programme, thinks it is ''very good'' and ''healthy'' for children.
''Sir (the instructor) teaches the theory lessons in Korean and
English, and they enjoy that very much.''
Loh's elder son, who turned eight this year, used to attend the
taekwon-do lessons held at a nearby community centre.
But ever since Timurcam started the Little Dragons Programme,
she's convinced that this system of taekwon-do is a better one.
Her elder son is also enrolled in a similar programme for older
Their instructor, Tan, 42, who has been practising this style of
taekwon-do for over 30 years, is anxious to emphasise the difference
between the two styles.
''There is an emphasis on moral character here.
''We also make sure the kids remember what was taught in the
previous lessons before we move on to the next.
''We want the values and movements we taught them in class to
stay with them their entire lives.''
The lessons, 1 1/2 hours each, are held once a week at Punggol
Primary School; PCF Punggol East Blk 124A Education Centre; PCF
Punggol East Blk 452 Education Centre; and Springleaf Educare,