martial arts training tips from danny ives


Yes, as a matter of fact we do offer classes for this age group.

Most people think we’re nuts for teaching this age group. I’ll be straight up, not only do we teach classes for 3-4 year old children, but we also very much enjoy it too. I guess we’re just crazy.

Karate For 3-4 Year Old’s. Okay well wait, not Karate, let’s be clear. At my school here in Arnold, we teach Mixed Martial Arts, even to the little kids.

Finding the right martial arts academy with the right teachers. It’s harder then you think.

It’s hard to find places these days that are willing to work with really young kids. Good martial arts schools are rare in general but for this age group, even more rare.

There’s good reason for this I assure you. Not for nothing but it’s very hard work teaching super young children. Feel free to ask anyone who’s tried it.

Not many instructors are cut out for this age group. And even if you find one that does, are they good at it? Most aren’t, sad to say.

Here at Ivey League MMA, we’re very lucky to not only have good instructors but also instructors who truly enjoy working with little kids of this age.

This is a major reason for the success we’ve had with the age group we call the “Tiny Ninjas”.

Our head Tiny Ninja Instructor is a nice young lady named Miss Chrissy Smith. Miss Chrissy does an amazing job with all the kids she coaches. She really makes it more like a form of art.

Miss Chrissy is seen here getting some sparring in with one of our other instructors during a Kickboxing class.

Miss Chrissy is seen here getting some sparring in with one of our other instructors during a Kickboxing class.

So let’s take a closer look at our Tiny Ninja Training System. Get an up close look at what it takes in order to get the kind of results that you, the kids, families and of course Mom and Dad expect and deserve.

You teach each age group different then the other.

With really young kids it’s important to understand that they learn in very different ways then older kids. You need to keep them interested at all times! That’s more then half the battle right there trust me.

Our staff does a lot of things that help keep them motivated while at the same time learning and having fun.

You’ll never go wrong mixing in games like ninja ball, sumo or freeze tag. Games are a great way to have fun and break things up a little for the kids.

Some of our parents in the past have said we play too many games during the classes. What these parents don’t understand is that without the games, it’s very hard to keep kids this young interested. Skip the games and sooner rather then later the kids will want to quit.

At Ivey League, we keep a good balance of games and martial arts skill development. The very best schools have this balance in place.

Technique drills then toss in a game, then repeat. If done right that’s a darn good class right there. Yes this works like a charm for kids of all ages but especially for 3-4 year old’s.

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Little Seton Gerrity has grown up with us and now she’s one of the best kids competing in the country.

Teaching difficult martial arts techniques to Tiny Ninja’s. How’s it done?

At this age, you’ll only be able to teach so much. I recommend sticking to bare bone basics. We stress lots of Muay Thai Kickboxing techniques and the fundamentals of takedowns and position while on the ground. That’s the starting point.

The Thai Boxing skills tend to be a bit easier for the Tiny Ninja’s to understand. That and let’s face it, all kids like to punch and kick things. Kick Boxing is the golden ticket.

What about ground fighting styles like Brazilian “Gracie” Jujitsu?

We do cover the basics of BJJ but that’s it. Super basic. Teaching Tiny Ninja’s BJJ can be really tricky. We start with the ground level and work up from there.

Our goal when we teach a complex style such as BJJ is more to help the kids take in the “WHY” part. By why I mean “Why would you go to the ground in a self defense situation?”

If you can get the kids to understand the whole why thing then you should be good to go. That’s what we shoot for.

What else goes into a great Tiny Ninja Class?

Aside from all the martial arts we teach, one of the biggest jobs a Tiny Ninja class needs to do is improve the level of athleticism of the attending children. We do this with a lot of different types of exercises and movements. One of our all time favorites has always been gymnastics.

Gymnastics training can give your child a whole new level of athletic ability. Doubt me? I hope not cause I can point out at least three dozen kids who’ve gone from 0 to 10 in overall athletic skill.

We’re lucky to have someone like Miss Chrissy on staff, because aside from her martial arts skills she’ll also a former high level gymnast and dancer.

maryland gymnastics training at ivy league mma

Miss Chrissy showing off her amazing bridging skills! Lots of dancing and gymnastics will pay off that’s for sure

Because of this, Miss Chrissy gets to cover gymnastic skills pretty much from A to Z. She does a good job helping the kids to do all types of things that otherwise they couldn’t do. Well, couldn’t do and more often then not, won’t even attempt!

You’d be shocked to learn that 7 out of 10 kids can’t do the simple forward roll movement. So for us, our goal is to give the students a great athletic base. That same base can help down the road with other sports like baseball, dance, lacrosse or wrestling.

At 3-4 years old the most important thing they need is this: Movement. They need to be able to move themselves around well.

Some of the basic tumbling movements we cover in the Tiny Ninja classes are:

  • Forward And Backward Rolls
  • Cartwheels
  • Round Offs
  • Bridging off the wall

Once they can do the above mentained movements they’ll have a much easier time transition to our other more difficult programs like BBC and competition team training.


Martial arts classes, no matter which age you’re working with, need to be fun, informative, family-like and exciting.

3 and 4 year old children more often then not tends to be a challenging bunch to teach. Without a good system in place…well I guess I’ll just say “Good Luck”.

Start your child off in life with a head start. Bring them to our martial arts classes and let us help them get a head start on their path to greatness. As a parent, you can’t give your child a greater gift.

Ivey League Mixed Martial Arts
1517 Ritchie Hwy #1,

Arnold, MD 21012
(443) 949 7208


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