Finding The Best Martial Arts Classes For Children

Before looking for the right martial arts school for your child, you and your child need to determine why he or she wants to study martial arts. There are several benefits for taking martial arts classes including fitness, discipline, self-esteem, confidence and competition. Each school will have a different emphasis, so it is important to know what your child wants. Having fun and making friends is also a good reason, but many children do not continue for long if their needs are not met.

Choosing the School
The school you choose should be in a convenient location. If it is too far away from home, there is a good chance the child will stop attending. After finding several schools that are close enough to your home, you should visit them and observe classes as well as a sparring session.

There are a few things to notice while visiting a martial arts school:

  • Observe classes. If they do not allow you to observe classes, find another school.
  • Talk to the parents of children enrolled in the school to get their opinions and thoughts.
  • Make sure there is discipline in the class. If the children are running around wildly, there is probably very little discipline.
  • Observe the instructors. They should be strict and fair, but they should never strike or ridicule a child.
  • Classes should be organized according to experience and age. Children should not be taking classes with adults.
  • While small classes are good in terms of individualized attention given to each student, if the classes are large, the school probably has a good reputation.
  • Do the participants in a sparring session wear the correct protective gear, how do the instructors deal with injuries and safety issues?
  • Schools that have been in business for several years usually have a good reputation and their credentials are usually easier to verify.
  • Newer schools can be verified by finding out the lineage of the school owners, in other words who did the instructors train with and who certified them to train others.

Finding a good Instructor
The instructor must care about the child's spirit and enthusiasm. Some days will be hard work, and the teacher must be able to support the child's feelings and help the child be enriched by the process and not discouraged. Some teachers have formal qualifications and some don't but there are good teachers in both categories. You can ask to see credentials and references and talk to parents about their experiences with the instructor.

Choose the Martial Art
There are several mainstream martial arts that children can learn including judo, tae kwon do, Karate and Kung Fu. They each have something special to offer.

  • Judo may not be the best if your child is claustrophobic. Judo consists of locks, throwing and being pinned on the ground, but it is very good for confidence and physical strength.
  • Karate is very traditional, unarmed combat with striking, kicking and blocking with legs and arms. The emphasis is on courtesy and mental attitude.
  • Tae kwon do is mainly for self-defense and self-control. It also embodies a Six Tenets lifestyle that students must try to follow in their lives.
  • Kung Fu is a popular martial art consisting of punches and kicks on certain pressure points on the body of the opponent with many styles derived from objects, movements and observations of nature.
  • Ju-Jitsu is unarmed, hand-to-hand combat. It is only used in self-defense and emphasizes cultivating the mind and the body. It teaches anger and frustration management.

Costs and Terms
Some martial arts schools operate for profit and some are not-for-profit. There are good and bad schools of both kinds. Schools that will pick your child up from school, teach the martial art and give time for doing homework are available, but they will often be on the expensive side. On the other hand, not-for-profit schools depend on the involvement of their students and their parents for survival. This type of school is not expensive, but you and your child may need to volunteer time to help keep the school going.

Many schools will give you a free trial class or even several classes at no cost to you. Some will also give you a low cost trial package where you can try classes at a reduced cost or pay a one-time fee for one or more classes. These are great ways to see if your child will do well at a particular location. Never feel pressured. Just make sure that you respect the school's time and offer.

It is not usually a good idea to sign a lock-in contract unless you are completely satisfied with the school and the instructor and are sure your child will take the classes seriously, it is unfair to you as a consumer and also to the school looking for quality students. Make sure that you are willing to commit to give your child the best advantage and to help them achieve their goals, but never feel or allow yourself to be pressured. It's better to walk away and take time to think things through and good schools will respect that.

Ask about the total amount for the classes. This includes registration and membership fees, mandatory equipment, uniforms and grading fees. If the school cannot give a complete answer about the total cost of the instruction, you should find another school for your child.

Locating a good place for children's martial arts classes should never be taken lightly, you want the best for yourself and your children, so perform due diligence and remember what you read in this article. You can find the right martial arts school for your child!

Category: Martial Arts

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