Daily Star photo/CRAIG HAUPERT Niles’ Jayden Anderson might not be in high school yet, but that hasn’t kept the Ring Lardner eighth-grader from teaching a taekwondo class at the Niles-Buchanan YMCA.

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Leading in good form

Published 10:05pm Tuesday, February 21, 2012

For the past 14 weeks, Jayden Anderson has been teaching taekwondo to kids not much younger than himself at the Niles-Buchanan YMCA.

The Ring Lardner eighth-grader and brown belt leads a pair of classes with his grandmother every Saturday at the YMCA. Students don’t just learn taekwondo forms and techniques, they also learn how to lead and listen.

It has been a learning experience for Anderson, too.

“Because I am in a place of authority I have to be a leader and a good role model,” Anderson said. “I have to remember that the students are looking up to me, so I can’t do some of the things my friends might do.”

Five-year-old Julia Babcock has been in Anderson’s class from the beginning. Her father, Trent, said she looks forward to coming every week.

“She never wants to miss it and I think the class has been great for her,” Trent said. “She is getting exercise and learning about leadership and many other things. She wants to be more responsible for the things she does and is pretty proud of being here.”

Anderson takes great pride in watching his students get better.

“I remember my grandpa telling me that you will have this feeling one day like you don’t want to get up, but it is all worth it when you see a student learning,” Anderson said. “Just seeing the kids grow from standing around saying, ‘Oh look a butterfly,’ to doing the techniques and having it down is amazing.”

Anderson teaches two classes that meet every Saturday. The classes run for seven weeks. The next seven-week session begins Saturday. Tiny Tigers is for children ages 5-6 and runs from 9:30 to 10 a.m.

Karate for Kids is for children ages 7-12 and runs from 10 to 10:30 a.m.The classes are progressive, meaning students can earn a black belt if they stick with it. There are open slots available for both classes. Anyone interested in joining should contact the YMCA at 683-1552.

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