Little Dragons 


Little Dragons is a professionally developed programme that focuses on developing both the physical and social skills of children aged between 5 – 6 to prepare them to formally train in martial arts.


From about age 7 we find that most students are then ready to join the Tiger classes but we allow them to make this choice so they can transition when they feel that they are ready.  


Little Dragons Videos


For Parents

6 or 7 is usually a good age to start attending formal martial arts classes (e.g. our Tigers programme). By that time a child should have enough physical and cognative ability to do martial arts exercises and techniques properly and safely.

However, because many people want to start children younger than that (and many of our students have younger siblings who also come along to class), we started our Dragons class as a primer for our Tigers class. 

Most children younger than 6 or 7 do not really understand the concept of martial arts so we focus on teaching them some of the basic phyical skills that they will need when they transition into the Tigers class. These physical skills also have relevance in other physical activities outside of the martial arts like learning how to fall safely.

We also develop skills in working in a group situation and cooperating with others. These are important in both a martial arts class as well as in a school classroom or sport team.

Dragons is generally for 5 to 6 eyar olds. By this age they have the attendion and focus to get through our 30 minute class. We have some 4 year olds who do well in this class and others who find focusing for the entire class difficult. Because of this we reserve the right to accept a 4 year old member or not.       

Dragons (5 to 6 year olds)

While the age range for this class is 5 to 6 years, the main requirement for this class is for each child to be able to focus for the full 30 minute class duration. To help this we do not spend more than 5 minutes on any part of the class. Every child develops differently although the target age range for this class is 5 to 6 years, we can accept some 4 year olds into this class if they can cope with it. In other cases we have had to give 5 and 6 year olds some time to develop further before they join the class. So once a child can cope with the 30 minutes, then he or she is then ready to join this class.  

The Dragons programme takes about 2 years to complete and ends with the "Dragon Spirit" grade where they are awarded a personlised "Dragon Spirit" belt which is Orange with the student's name embroidered on it in black. 
The Dragons training consists of: 
  • Mastering basic physical exercises that help build coordination, flexibility and strength 
  • Learning how to fall safely
  • Learning basic martial arts techniques (kicking, blocking, etc.)
  • Structured self-defence training
  • Strategies for dealing with bullying and other pressures children of this age group face
Other benefits of this training includes helping students to develop good listening and concentration, leadership skills and learning to work cooperatively with others.
Our own Little Dragons programme is based on the L’il Dragons international award winning programme developed professionally by martial arts pioneer Ernie Reyes for this age group. Our version of this programme has been modified by us for the New Zealand environment and also has a Hapkido slant to help our students transition to the Tiger classses when they are ready. The Upper Hutt Hapkido Academy is licenced to use this programme through Martial Arts Professionals who hold an Australasian master licence to use this programme.

Transition to Tigers

Regardless of their Dragons grade, we find that most students want to move up to the Tiger classes at around age 7. The Tiger syllabus is different from the Dragons syllabus although some techniques are common to both programmes. Through experience we have developed a number of mechanisms that allow students an almost seemless trasition into their new class. 

Contact Us

p: 021 330 989

e: Callum Forbes

Member of the World Kido Federation and Haminjok Hapkido Association
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