Maui Keiki class martial arts

I’ve been running a martial art studio on the island with my husband and son for 20 years and have witnessed the benefits of Taekwondo. We teach Taekwondo to students between the ages of 4 to 64. Taekwondo is an incredibly effective tool for aiding young children toward a more positive developmental direction, especially if the child is enrolled early. The most ideal time for a child to begin their Taekwondo training is between the ages of 4-6. The older a child is when beginning Taekwondo, the longer it will take them to conquer behavioral, social and cognitive challenges.

We use the mind/body approach. We discipline the body in order to discipline the mind. Our mission is to empower Maui’s youth into becoming confident individuals impervious to bullying and adversity; to persevere regardless of hardships and be courteous and respectful toward all sentient beings.

Our curriculum is comprised of vigorous exercises; kicking, punching, blocking, running and compulsory patterns that a student learns at each belt level. We teach sparring to intermediate students, which demonstrates the level of mastery the student has obtained. It is also a confidence builder for those students who were victims of bullying. Learning Taekwondo at our school is directed by one leader, during each class, along with the assistance of black belt students who provide examples as well as positive mentoring.

It’s nothing short of miraculous to watch a student learn, grow and develop within our program through the years. From polite, confident young minds to 4.0 GPAs in high school, the positive changes are huge. I’ve observed shy children become more social in as little as 6 months. I’ve seen children with self-control challenges become more focused and disciplined within 1 year. The key is consistency. The child must remain steady and diligent with their learning. This means the parents must be supportive and diligent in making sure their child attends class regularly.

I’m currently pursuing a bachelors of science degree in psychology, as I’ve been working with young children of all different levels of behavior for most of my life and believe furthering my education will better ensure success for my students as well. I see every student as an uncut diamond; ready to be carved and polished into an empowered confident gem. I enjoy the diversity of my beginning students. I enjoy watching them grow within my program; the quiet begin to converse, the uncoordinated begin to flourish and the distracted begin to focus and feel pride for their accomplishments. Every child excels at a different rate. One thing I’ve learned after 20 years of working with kids and teaching Taekwondo, is that nothing is impossible for them, when they commit to their practice and have unconditional support from their parents.

Image Credit: Kiffmann Taekwondo

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Master Kathryn Kiffmann is owner/operator of Kiffmann Maui Elite Taekwondo, along with her husband and son, Masters Gunter & Miles Kiffmann. They have been working with Maui's youth for better confidence, empowerment and life success for 20 years in Kahului. For more information on their studio, please visit www.kiffmanntaekwondo.com or their studio at 111 Hana Hwy., Suite 201, Kahului, HI 96732 or call 808 877-4311.