21 April 2018

FMA Informative's picture
Posted by FMA Informative on February 03, 2017

FMA for Kids?

FMA Informative

Issue Number: 


The Goal
Is Filipino Martial Arts on the Decline?
Atienza Curriculum
Asked & Answered by Student Shawn Bournique

The FMA Informative in talking to Dean Franco was impressed with his commitment to teaching children the Filipino martial arts. His goals in this issue are to share his experience with teaching kids the Filipino martial arts. Dean chose this subject for a few reasons. First he has seen the success it has had on children ranging from 5 years of age to teens. Secondly Dean felt these arts need to be spread as much as possible due to the success he has seen in children who participate. Lastly if exposed at an early age children are the ones who can potentially carry the arts on.

Dean has proven success with increased enrollment and retention of students since he implemented Filipino martial arts in his school from 2002-2012.

If anyone reading this issues wishes to incorporate the Filipino martial arts with respects to their current kids classes and have questions please Email Dean Franco at: marmax40@aol.com.

About Dean Franco

Dean Franco was the first instructor in Connecticut to offer Filipino martial arts to kids back in 2002. It started as a pilot program to see if this would be successful for kid students. A range of ages were chosen from 5 years old to mid teen years. Since at the time he was training Atienza Kalis he utilized their curriculum for the kids in that year. The use of action flex sticks were the gear of choice to reduce chance of injury. The focus then was a sword interpretation for adherence to range. Long range was the principle focus and "defanging the snake" was stressed. More importantly foot work was the key component. The kids were taught angular footwork forward and rear. Once that baseline was achieved the practice of the hour glass shape was implemented as the main framework. After the hourglass pattern was memorized by the students then the variations from the hour glass pattern. 

Once the program was up and running and the students became more fluent additional concepts were introduced. As some of the beginning kids that started in the pilot got older they were exposed to knife defense. The defense trained consisted of static knife defense and against moving knife. This transition was somewhat easy due to the existing background they had. At this point a lot of sparring was implemented, again with action flex gear. The ones from the initial pilot program really excelled. One student in particular, Bethany Carpenter has continued on with Sayoc Kali where she is doing very well.

In 2015 Dean shifted gears and sought out Burton Richardson, Founder of Battlefield Kali. He currently teaches stick and the knife modules from this system. Currently there are 3 kids who are training in Battlefield Kali since Dean implemented this in 2016. In addition Dean is the only instructor teaching kids in Battlefield Kali. Guro Burton has been nothing but positive and encouraging in this regard. He also has made several positive comments about Shawn Bournique, the student highlighted in this issue.

Visit www.fmainformative.info and download a copy.