So your little one wants to start up martial arts, because they have been watching NinjaGo, or the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, maybe a friend at school whispered a ninja secret or the myriad of other Ninja type shows and video games that are out in the Media that kids are attracted to. And now yours want to be a Ninja to. So how do you pick your Kids Martial arts School…. Which one?
Or.. Maybe your little one has started to show signs of aggression and out of no where he starts doing Karate kicks down the hall way of your home and is eyeing the dog as her next sparring partner. Or.. You see your friends kids who are always very respectful and well-behaved and you want your child to be just like them so Let’s sign them up for martial arts because along the way. Someone like your Dad/ Brother/ Uncle or friend said put them into Martial Arts it will teach’em Discipline. You think?. Well he is only 4, not sure where he learned these so called moves but she is starting to hurt her parental units, the living room has turned into a dojo, your oldest is pretending to be the Sensei Wu or Sifu or maybe they say seafood…not sure =). You’re hearing from the other room HEEYAAAA, KIAA, WAAATAAA . And its driving you CRAZY!!!
For many parents choosing the right kind of Kids Martial Arts School dojo, kwoon or gym as they are called, can be a very daunting task to say the least. We have all heard horror stories about almost everything, but we often never hear the stories that count… right?
But this is your baby that we are talking about after all right? and you don’t want to pick any kind of school without doing your due diligence and finding out what would be the best Kids Martial Arts School for your kiddo.
Let’s face it in today s society who doesn’t want to be a ninja! It’s also been a big fad since the 80s and it’s not slowing down.
So what should we be looking for?
Choosing the right Dojo
So now what do you do?
You have questions and you need answers, and with phone in hand searching for Kids Martial Arts School’s. And as you are trying to get Dinner ready for the family, after an already hard day at work. Your little one is hanging at your feet, who wants all of your attention saying: Mommy, Mommy, Mommy…. I want Karate lesson’s! KIAA!!! I want to go to Karate tomorrow!!!
So you choose the school that first pops up on your browser and is the closest to your house. Because let’s face it we all want convenience. So the next morning you decide to call the dojo you saw on the web last night.
You try to call the dojo in the morning, no answer, hmm. I drive by this place every day what’s up? You try back a few times in the next few days and realize that they don’t even open until like 4pm and just for classes. So you decide to stop by during a class.
You walk in and the smell of a thousand feet and body Oder permeates through your nose. The waiting area is filthy, and you still haven’t gotten the smell out of your nose, you see a class in session with a bunch of young kids around your child’s age jumping around, waiting their turn in a line to do a running kick kind of thing down the length of the training area, you also see the other kids the oldest looks around 16-17 years old with scruff on his face.
And their is a 40 something year old Instructor! Your eyes lock with his for a moment, as he is yelling at the youngest kids to stand still at attention like in the military, while you can tell he has patience with and obviously enjoys working with the teen aged kids, he doesn’t seem fond of the younger students, who are obviously struggling to grasp what the Instructor wants them to do, which just so happens to be about the same age group of your sweet angel.
These kids are completely running the show, until the Instructor decides he has had enough, orders all the kids do 100 push-ups, while again he see’s you out of the corner of his eye walks up to you, after you watch 20min of his class.
You ask if their is someone to talk to about classes and potentially signing up your child here, and he says ” you can grab a brochure, all the info is in it.” and sends you on your way.
This unfortunately has happened way to often, as we hear about it all the time. So what should we be looking for?
Remember that the place your child trains, needs to provide the example of the valuable characteristics that adds to your child’s development.
Here are our Top 7 Picks:
- When you walk in, does it feel like a professional studio?
- Is it Clean and organized?
- Is it Oder Free?
- Is this a Child Friendly Facility?
- Does the Dojo provide Age Specific classes that teach Age Specific martial arts skills?
- Does the atmosphere create a positive and welcoming learning environment?
- Do they greet you when you walk in?
There you have it this is just a few, out, of many things, that a potential academy should have to offer you if they are professionally run.
But this still doesn’t answer the question: What style?
An effective Kids Martial Arts School should be able to cater to different age groups, and focus on teaching the mental benefits of the martial arts, not just the Physical, Intellectual aspects of the system but it should also teach the Emotional and Social skills that kids are in such desperate need nowadays.
Your Child vs a Style Based System
Not all style based systems of martial arts are the same nor are they beneficial for kids.
Many people will inevitably argue that Karate, Tae Kwon Do, Kung Fu or Brazillian Jujitsu are the best Style/Systems out their.
People will come out of the word work to argue that theirs is the best. their are thousands of forums you can look through if you have the time, but most likely you won’t find the answers you may be looking for.
But is it good for your child?
Our first question should be… What is Martial Arts?
The Term Martial Arts can be literally translated into the “Art of War” which is teaching the Physical and Intellectual aspects of combat for military use within self defense for military aged people.
So who’s big Idea was it to start teaching kids the “Art of War”. Not sure…. But we are sure that their are some confused Kids Martial Arts Schools that are wondering the same thing.
So what is a Style Based System of martial arts, basically it is a systematic way of defending or attacking against an armed or unarmed opponent.
There are many types of styles that use, Weapons, Hand Strikes, Kicks, Elbows, Knees, Throws, Counter Throws, Choking & Joint manipulation to mention just a few.
Again, just in case you missed it….. Ultimately each Style of martial arts is working on teaching the student their specific systematic way of Combat using the Physical and Intellectual aspects of the style to teach military aged candidates.
So…”HOW” does this benefit your Child???
Give up yet….
It Doesn’t as we are hopefully never going to have sent our 6 year old to the battlefield. At least not in the same context as to why the Specfic Style had intended their system to function.
So now you know what should you expect from a system of martial arts.
The underlying question should be for you as a parent… Look for the benefits as they always out way the cost $$$
What is the Quality of the Instructor
The Quality of Instructor in our opinion is a huge deal.
- Are they a Pro-fighter?
- Are they someone who wants to pass down a tradition?
- Is it a “Team of Instructors” or just one? and if it is a “Team” are they all on the same page?
- Are they Approachable?
- Do they use Kid Friendly language when dealing with the younger children?
- Do they Inspire?
- Would I allow this type of person to Mentor my child?
Is a Pro-Fighter a good Role model? It will always depend on the character of the individual in our honest opinion, but as all the negative press and morally bad Character decisions that lately are all over the media “Like famed MMA Pro-Fighter Conner McGregor” I am not sure this is a good choice as most fighters want to train for their next upcoming fight not on developing teaching skills that are geared for kids.
Is a Traditional Kids Martial Arts School instructor a good choice? Maybe for some kids yes they might want or need that type of training, but good schools are hard to come by and unless you live in a highly populated area chances are you will not be able to find your Mr Miyagi.
Also, the next question will be, can this traditional system of training, going to be emotionally and socially beneficial to my child as well as physically and Intellectually?
Here are three key points we feel that you should look for in an instructor.
- Do they know how to connect with children
- Are they passionate about working with kids?
- How do they work with your child when they first meet them
What is a Stage of development?
Most martial arts schools throw every age group into the same class. The result is total chaos!
From consulting with top experts in child development – we know that kids develop different skills at different ages. A 4 year old, a 7 year old, and a 10 year old are miles apart! with that said lets get familiar with what are stages of development.
Based on all of our research on children and how they learn, we discovered that children show developmental milestones based on specific age groups. These age groups – as they pertain to marital arts – are as follows: 3 & 4, 5 & 6, 7 to 9, and 10 to 14. This was a big discovery as most martial arts schools still only divided their children into two age groups: 6 and under and 7 and up. By sub-dividing ages into more specific groups, we can avoid common challenges such as “roller coaster classes” where almost EVERY drill was “too hard” for the younger students yet “too easy” for the older students.
Let’s start with, 3-4 year olds, who love physical activity and anything involving play. They have a rich imagination and strong desire to be less dependent on their usual caregivers. With that said, a structured program introducing early skill-based training in Martial Arts can prove to be very successful.
The problem is many children this age have a hard time with structure in a group environment like what is commonly found in most Martial Arts schools. The solution is to provide them with their own program that targets their stage of development in a manner that keeps them entertained while at the same time building skills that set them up for the next age group.
5-6 year olds are the most enthusiastic students. They love creativity and problem solving, which makes them ideal students in the Martial Arts. The problem is they are so progressive in following tasks that some teachers tend to treat them like their older peers.
This is a problem because they still do not have the basic skills necessary to keep up with children ages 7 and up. The solution is to provide them with their own program that targets their stage of development in a manner that adapts to their social and intellectual curiosity while at the same time building skills that set them up for the next age group.
7-9 year olds are what most people consider “the golden age.”
They are proficient in their vocabulary and problem-solving skills, yet they are not at the age where they want complete independence from adults. This makes the teacher-student relationship stronger than ever.
The problem is they still lack core skills, and although they are highly intelligent, they struggle to keep up with students ages 10 and up.
The solution is to provide them with their own program that targets their stage of development in a manner that adapts to their adventurous attitude and youthful nature while at the same time building skills that set them up for the next age group.
10-14 year olds are the smartest students in the school. Yes, they are smarter than most adults!
They are also physically competent and can excel in most physical challenges that are presented to them. The problem is they are so focused on what is socially acceptable that they have a hard time keeping themselves emotionally driven to the task at hand.
The solution is to provide them with their own program that targets their stage of development in a manner that nurtures their social and emotional instability while at the same time building skills that set them up for the next age group.
We want to commend you for reading this article, we know you could be doing many other things with your time, but your hard work and perseverance to be the great parent that you are is showing for your children.
We hope this article will help you find a ” Kids Martial Arts School ” that is truly equipped to Mentor and teach your kids with the brain in mind, and based on child psychology and neurology, that split kids up into specific age groups. That way your child gets EXACTLY what he or she needs to truly flourish while avoiding traditional methods that are based on an adult training platform.
If you live in the Oakland, CA area and are interested in our program Trial program that we offer here at Bay Area Martial Arts.
We offer that here. Based on child psychology and neurology, we split kids up into specific age groups. That way your child gets EXACTLY what he or she needs to truly flourish.