The Paragon Superhero Journey

“We create Superheroes.” ParagonInc is known for this tagline, and if you’ve ever watched a kid’s class, or seen Sensei Cameron in full flight in his cape, you will already have some idea of the importance and the prominence of the superhero theme that runs through our curriculum. But capes and flight aside, what does being a superhero mean? Sensei’s mission and vision for Paragon has always been very clear: to change the world by teaching people how to change it, and to lead by example.

We all remember being young children, wishing we had superpowers, and believing anything was possible. Why do we stop believing as we grow up? Why not teach kids how to be real Superheroes, and to embrace and bring out the superpowers in every single one of them? We all have something to give. We can all change the world. Anyone can be a superhero. Imagine if we all acted like we still believed?

So how do we create superheroes?

We believe you are never too young to find your superpowers, and our Tiny Tumblers begin their superhero journey with body awareness and foundation skills that they build on as their fine and gross motor skills, as well as their imaginations, confidence and self-belief, begins to develop. At this very early stage, our students begin the process of learning how to learn.

Through story-based activities, our Ninja Kids build on their foundation learning skills by learning to focus and remain attentive, to use their imaginations, to have confidence in themselves, and to learn that it is okay to be an individual. These are the foundations for developing lifelong superhero life skills.

The Super Kids curriculum builds on this foundation of focus, confidence, and self-discipline, so that our children grow to know, value, respect and be strong in themselves. Our specialised self-defence program, Safety Net, builds resilience, social defence and interaction skills that prevent and protect them from bullying and teaches personal safety, while our unique life skills program, Flying Start, teaches confidence, respect for themselves and others, and healthy life, habits and leadership skills. In developing these life skills, our Superkids learn that anything is possible.

By the time our Super Kids graduate to the Teens program, they fully comprehend what it means to be a real life superhero, and we encourage them to embrace this role by stepping up to strive to help others, to act with awareness of the impact of their choices, and to take action to create a better world. As well as helping our teens remain fit, active and positive, and to manage school stress and peer pressure during the most challenging and important transition years of adolescence, our program offers a course in social change and activism, teaching teens the skills to develop leadership and social entrepreneurial skills. Having established the habit of completing Superhero Challenges over their time in Super Kids (we do not call it “karate homework”!), our teens are ready to live their superhero life in action. The foundations of our programs ensure that our teens have the confidence, self-belief, drive and motivation to identify and engage with the things that are important to them through values-based projects, awareness and action, and are empowered to create social change through their Activ8 projects.

Leading by example, our Adult students are also encouraged to demonstrate living the superhero life in action by designing projects congruent with ParagonInc values and aligned with their own personal values, through our incite program. The delivery of these values projects to bring about real, meaningful and measurable social change in our community and in the world are a core requirement of our black belt test.

Velocity is an inclusive karate program designed to enable children and teens with additional needs to exercise and socialise with others in a fun and supportive environment. Velocity develops self-esteem, encourages a commitment to exercise and improves balance, coordination, flexibility and strength. Equally important is the opportunity to develop confidence and to acquire the knowledge that many of the things that may have once been thought impossible are not. Velocity encapsulates the superhero mindset: seeing possibilities, and smashing through expectations to develop capabilities beyond what could ever be imagined. This reflects one of Sensei’s favourite quotes:

“It’s kind of fun to do the impossible!” (Walt Disney).

You didn’t need to read this to be convinced that we are more than just a karate school. You are part of the Paragon family, after all. However, we thought we would share how our life skills, self-defence, personal development and social change programs have been developed as a complete Superhero journey, each program building on the next, reinforcing and consolidating the skills learned, to guide our students toward the ultimate Paragon purpose of enacting world change and supporting others to do the same.

Can we really change the world? Of course we can. Without a doubt. When we say “We create superheroes”, it’s not just a catchy tagline. It is truly amazing what we can achieve when we work together to “Cape Up”!

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” (Anne Frank)

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