With over 45 years of martial arts experience, black belt Dan Pinkowski commands respect. At the British School of Beijing’s Sanlitun and Shunyi campuses, the Chicago native teaches hapkido to teenagers and children aged six and up. This discipline from Korea combines taekwondo’s kicks and punches with judo’s holds. The use of weapons including nunchucks and swords is thrown in for good measure. Parents love Pinkowski because he insists kids learn self-discipline, politeness and how to be a good citizen before they can discover the secrets behind flying sidekicks. And children love him because he often brings in his famous friends, such as the kickboxing movie star Don ‘The Dragon’ Wilson. Whether your child is a gong fu demon or complete beginner, Pinkowski will help them build up their fitness, grow in confidence and do a mean Bruce Lee impression.
Hapkido China (Sanlitun). 400RMB per month. Classes every Tue and Wed, 4.30-6.30pm; Hapkido China (Shunyi) and every Sat, 12.30-2pm
Club Football is the granddaddy (or perhaps we should say, Alex Ferguson) of Beijing’s amateur football associations. Throughout the year, the organisation hosts dozens of courses and leagues at locations across the city for children and adults alike. Most of the winter courses are already well under way. But, if your child missed registration, don’t fret: late-in-the-season courses begin on Saturday 12 at Beijing City International School and are open to all, not just BCIS students. All courses are led by FA-qualified coaches in the school’s indoor gym. They are tailored to individual age groups – little ones concentrate on basic skills such as dribbling, passing and shooting while older kids learn more complicated techniques and group tactics. Each session consists of a warm-up and skill-building activities, leading up to a 15-minute game at the end.
Club Football. Kindergarten and year one: every Sat, 9-10am. 670RMB; years two-three: every Sat, 10.15-11.15am. 670RMB; years four-five: every Sat, 11.30am-12.45pm, 770RMB; years six-eight: every Sat, 11.30am-12.45pm. 770RMB.
Bellydancing? For kids? Yes, that’s right. Hot on the heels of her successful Salsa Babies class, former kindergarten teacher and qualified kindermusik instructor Yuliya Mavletbaeva is teaching bellydancing classes for mums and tots (one-five years) and mums and kids (5-10 years) at various Chaoyang locations. Mavletbaeva knows that many mums have a passion for dance and don’t want to give it up when they have children. This idea behind this class it to get mums out of the house for a chance to exercise, socialise and have fun with their little ones. Mavletbaeva explains that this is not just about moving bellies: ‘It’s about getting the children to develop a sense of rhythm.’ It’s also an opportunity for kids to learn about another culture as they experience Middle Eastern music. ‘It’s in my blood,’ explains Mavletbaeva, who grew up in Tajikistan, ‘and I want to share this culture’.
Family Fun with Yuliya. 800RMB for an eight-week course. Belly Dancin’ Tots (one-five years)： every Thur, starting Thur 17, 9.45-10.30am. Belly Dancin’ Kids (5-10 years)： every Thur, starting Thur 17, 5-5.45pm. Location tbc. Call 136 2135 4114 for more information.
After a long winter break, the Yoga Yard’s toddler and pre-school classes are starting back up again this February. In these fun-filled sessions, parent and child release their inner animals, journey their imaginations to distant jungles and oceans and have a good giggle as they play Om a Little Tea Pot (the kid-friendly yoga discipline, not to be confused with the playground song). Leading the class is Amy Zima, who’s been a yoga instructor for the past decade, and became a mother of two young girls more recently. As well as being a great chance for mums (or dads) to bond with their kids and other parents, Zima’s classes aim to improve children’s strength and coordination. Toddlers work on their breathing with the aid of feathers and ping pong balls, while pre-schoolers learn skills such as how to ‘bunny breathe’ to boost their energy when they’re feeling tired. This is a great class for kids with boundless energy: let your little lions tire themselves in the studio, so they won’t keep you up by roaring all night at home.
Yoga Yard. 550RMB for a six-week course. Toddlers (18 months–3 years)： every Mon, starting Mon 14, 10.15-11am; pre-school (three-five years)： every Tue, starting Tue 15, 3.30-4.15pm.