Martial Arts for kids?

This is a discussion on Martial Arts for kids? within the Off Topic & Humor Discussion forums, part of the The Back Porch category; Originally Posted by limatunes Why would you nix TKD? Krav isn't even available in our area. There is some BJJ but their kid programs start ...

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  1. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by limatunes View Post
    Why would you nix TKD?

    Krav isn't even available in our area. There is some BJJ but their kid programs start at a little older ages. There is TKD EVERYWHERE around here which makes it very accessible to those of us who live a distance from things.
    Just one view of many possible, Krav isn't focused in any way on ritual, personal discipline, and respect for others that you want to build into your child's character while he is also learning an art; which like learning music requires personal discipline.

    Back to the issue of striking art v grappling. You have a still very young kid. Young kids ---quite unlike adults--- are pretty likely to enjoy stuff where they get to fall on the floor , roll, tumble, etc. because they do it all rather naturally. They are I think less likely to get hurt with a grappling art/ ground fighting skill and they can always take up another one later on.

    What I don't like about Krav for kids, and Arnis (definitely not for kids) is that there is no formality; no or few forms, kata, no ritual. These things sometimes look silly and are really silly when you are trying to train an adult, but they are quite important for teaching kids about things like following rules, showing respect, and even doing well in regular school.
    I know of one school where the owner insists on seeing report cards; school first, and self-discipline.

    I''ve watched classes of 4-7 year olds in judo and the kids were just having a ball on the floor.
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  3. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hopyard View Post
    Just one view of many possible, Krav isn't focused in any way on ritual, personal discipline, and respect for others that you want to build into your child's character while he is also learning an art; which like learning music requires personal discipline.

    Back to the issue of striking art v grappling. You have a still very young kid. Young kids ---quite unlike adults--- are pretty likely to enjoy stuff where they get to fall on the floor , roll, tumble, etc. because they do it all rather naturally. They are I think less likely to get hurt with a grappling art/ ground fighting skill and they can always take up another one later on.

    What I don't like about Krav for kids, and Arnis (definitely not for kids) is that there is no formality; no or few forms, kata, no ritual. These things sometimes look silly and are really silly when you are trying to train an adult, but they are quite important for teaching kids about things like following rules, showing respect, and even doing well in regular school.
    I know of one school where the owner insists on seeing report cards; school first, and self-discipline.

    I''ve watched classes of 4-7 year olds in judo and the kids were just having a ball on the floor.
    Thank you very much for that breakdown. That helps a LOT!!

    You're very right that I don't want this just to be about fighting at this stage. He's very young and I DO want the principles of self discipline, respect, authority, etc, to be prominent in what he is learning. I also want him to have fun and get some exercise. The fighting art is secondary to all that and something we can start to be more conscientious about as he gets older.

    No matter what we send him to I'm sure he will be able to use the techniques taught in self defense if necessary but, let's face it, at the age of 3-4 he's (hopefully) going to have Mom or Dad there to provide some assistance in the event he needs to defend himself. I do, however, want to choose something that, should he choose to continue it when he gets older, it is something that will benefit him as a fighting art. Of course he can switch to something else if he wants, as well.

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    Lima,

    I have a 7-yr-old son who will have his second anniversary in BJJ in March. He started at age 5 and just loves it. I actually gave him the choice between BJJ and TKD. We went to free introductory classes in each and he chose BJJ. It was more due to the instructor than anything else, nevertheless he chose. He goes three times per week, no exceptions, and I never have to force him. The BJJ school that we go to has "Little Tigers" class for 3 1/2 to 6 yrs old, and "Tigers" for 7 to 14. He just moved up to Tigers. I wish I had started him at age 3 1/2.

    I am glad that he chose BJJ because in my opinion it is more practical. With TKD, in a self defense situation you are forced to strike someone to defend yourself - someone is going to get hurt. And if someone gets too close, you're screwed. With BJJ, it's not necessary to hurt your attacker in order to eliminate the threat. While this isn't important for adults, it's critical for kids.

    Our school uses the Gracie approach for dealing with bullies. The three T's: Talk - try to talk to the bully, Tell - tell teachers and parents if talking doesn't work, Tackle - take him down and hold him if the first two tactics don't work. For the Tackle part, the students are told only to get on top of the attacker and immobilize them until either the bully agrees to stop their behavior, or an adult shows up. No chokes or traditional submissions are required. The attacker doesn't get hurt, only embarrassed. With TKD, the only defense would be to strike the attacker, someone is going to get hurt.

    That said, others point out the general advantages of MA (i.e. respect, discipline, etc.). So really, I don't think you would go wrong either way.

    One word of advice, find a school that focuses on fun, not the MA. That has been the key to keeping my son so interested for so long.

    I would be happy to talk to you about our experience. If you would like to, PM me and I can give you a phone number.

    Good Luck!
    Doc

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    My kids took both jiu jitsu(not specifically bullyproof) and TKD at the same time (for about a year). The tkd stuff went out the window as soon as soon as they started horsing around because one would gran the other and drag the fight to the ground...the ability to strike is fairly neutralized there. Bullyproof is a video series that makes the parent the instructor, no experience necessary. Good training, and a great opportunity for a bonding experience too.

    IMO krav is great, but too much for childhood.
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  6. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by limatunes View Post
    Thank you very much for that breakdown. That helps a LOT!!

    You're very right that I don't want this just to be about fighting at this stage.
    Emphasis on fighting and self-defense per se is too much for the psyche of a young child like yours. At that age their fears are to be calmed by the assurance that the
    adults about them will protect them. They'll learn all too soon about the BGs, but for your son's age group "it" needs to remain something that is done for fun, and not for fighting.
    Fighting means being open to getting hurt and harmed, and a young child as yours should not yet be made even cognizant of that possibility. He certainly shouldn't be given the
    idea that what you bring him to is a precaution from a dangerous world. He is still too too young. Even when talking about the guns in the house don't implant fear of BGs at his age.

    You have well articulated goals which you can get met at any of a variety of types of schools. But the thing I think your kid will have the most fun with is anything that
    involves falling, jumping, rolling, play "grappling" on the floor. And at his tender age make sure it is seen mostly as fun and games.

    An aside comment on not instilling fear. A moment that is ingrained uncomfortably in my mind is an incident which happened when my kid was in first grade. His Uncle was on
    Sea Duty. At the time that we had a military confrontation with Libya. His aunt and cousins were living with us while my BIL was away. One day the boys wanted to know why they were staying with us and where Uncle was, and what was he doing, and why can't he come home. Without thinking I immediately responded to the effect that there are very bad
    people in this world and Uncle was protecting us. I meant to convey the patriotic message, but immediately realized that all I had done was instill fear and concern in innocent minds. That brief conversation has haunted me ever since. The boys weren't quite old enough for that message. Be careful about presenting this as play and fun and not out of fear for his present safety. They'll be plenty of time for that later on.
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    Quote Originally Posted by limatunes View Post
    Since my son was born I've been wanting to put him into some sort of Martial Arts or Karate or something as soon as he was old enough for it.

    Well, time flies when you're having fun and now my son is 3 and within a year or so it's probably going to be time to get him into it.

    I know there are quite a few people here who know a lot more about that than I do as I have been to one MA class in my entire life and I think I was twelve. Don't really remember.

    What kind of martial arts would you recommend?

    What should I look for when it comes to choosing a class for my kid?

    What do I not even know to ask?
    Wado Ryu (Wah doe Roo) is a traditional Japanese style Karate and great for kids. I would wait until a child is 5 at least in order to start. Here in the Nashville TN area Wado is very popular. It teaches responsibility and discipline as well as self defense.
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  8. #22
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    Thumbs up Make it a Family Affair

    He's very young and I DO want the principles of self discipline, respect, authority, etc, to be prominent in what he is learning. I also want him to have fun and get some exercise.
    Exactly! If it is FUN, he will enjoy it and continue.

    Hopyard has some great input, and I cannot be as eloquent or as detailed, but both my son and daughter began TKD at 9 and 10, and continued until they went to college. The school they went to maintained very strict standards, but provided age and skill appropriate groups for the young'uns that were very physically appropriate yet fun. It was a family run school, and a couple of the sons and a daughter aspired to the Olympics and competed internationally. Additionally, a lot of families trained together which was always fun! Some as young a 5 doing their forms "alongside" Mom and Dad.

    Having said that, the school did attend a lot of state, regional and national TKD competitions. Those were more for the older ones - teen and above, but they also had age, skill and weight level jousting and "forms" competition down to pretty small kiddos. Several of our summer vacations revolved around "Nationals", and we had some fun road-trips with the group. Several trophies were accumulated along the way. The school did focus a lot on team building and helping each other advance skill levels. Focus also included typical PE type stuff, as well as "clean body-clean mind" programs.

    As an incidental aside, TKD can become very effective as teens mature and build strength and skill. Despite full padding and gear, my daughter broke several bones in her foot her Senior year in HS while full-contact sparring, and also broke a competitors leg. I tell you that not in a "bragging" fashion but to illustrate the level of physicality the technique demanded at that competitive level.

    As one last daughter story, my daughter and two friends, two years later, were accosted in Paris by three "non-natives" late at night while exiting the Parisian subway. The three boys picked the wrong girls, and went home very sore, with bruised up and bloodied faces, limping, with broken or missing eyeglasses. We always laughed that they had to tell Mom and Dad three American girls whipped the snot outta them.

    The son, who was of small and light stature for his age, was a target of bullies at various times. The TKD helped immensely with that matter, and as his skills increased, the bullies moved on. Interestingly enough, he befriended many of the bullies later targets, and has always had a real soft spot in his heart for underdogs, and often becomes protective.

    Anyway, that's my .02 from a "father's perspective"

  9. #23
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    Lima, it's JUST my opinion so take it or leave it. I have studied for 6 years and taught kids for the last 4 (beginning to intermediate...I am no expert!). I have my preference in arts, but there is nothing saying that the art that your kids start with will be what they study for life. Many people who study for a long time study multiple systems. I study American Kenpo and love it...but that is a function of its intent and of my instructor.

    THAT is the key in my opinion: the intent of the art and the relationship between the instructor and student. So if I were looking for an art for my kids to study, first and foremost I would be looking for an instructor who meshes with my own personal philosophy (in both our cases, who sees the value in firearms in self defense, for instance) and moral structure. I am not interested in taking my kids to "Cobra Kai"! Is the instructor engaged in the lives of his or her kids; are they fair, kind but firm, encouraging, etc.?

    Also, I think it is important to make sure that you're morally okay with the school, the instructor, and their priorities and attitudes. For instance, is their priority to engage a threat and fight, or to de-escalate and escape whenever possible? It might be important to your family about the worldview of your instructor. For me and my family, as committed evangelical Christians we didn't want a style of art with taoism or ancestor worship as part of it. Others might not mind that kind of approach or like an energy-centric approach.

    Ask anyone you think about studying with not only for 2 or 3 recommendations, but for the name and number of the last 2 people who left their training center. If they won't give it, that's a HUGE red flag. Then call those people and ask them how the school treated them as they left and why they did. If the instructor was fair, helpful, and mature then you've got a winner on your hands. If they are petty or petulant, that is no bueno.

    What area are you in again? I might be able to help a little.
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  10. #24
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    Lets say your child is bullied at school. With BJJ and Judo training there are ways to stop it, to dominate (if needed) without causing undue injury, contusions, and maybe breaking a foot, hand. The percussion arts, striking, kicking involve hitting a moving target at one-two-three steps away distance and possibly causing an injury.

    If, for example I use a grappling 'solution' I can stop the fight/conflict/bullying using leverage and non-injurious technique and not leave a mark, break an foot, cause blood to flow.

    Now if you just want 'acrobatics', flash, flexibility, why not take tumbling, gymnastics? IOW do you really want your kid suspended for kicking someone in the head?

    Glad to see all the positive props on grappling and judo here.

    (BTW I say this having two belts in TKD/Korean karate, and rank in JKD, Arnis, and a couple years in college BJJ. I much prefer the BJJ, AND we're talking kids MA here). HTH

  11. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by MinistrMalic View Post
    Lima, it's JUST my opinion so take it or leave it. I have studied for 6 years and taught kids for the last 4 (beginning to intermediate...I am no expert!). I have my preference in arts, but there is nothing saying that the art that your kids start with will be what they study for life. Many people who study for a long time study multiple systems. I study American Kenpo and love it...but that is a function of its intent and of my instructor.

    THAT is the key in my opinion: the intent of the art and the relationship between the instructor and student. So if I were looking for an art for my kids to study, first and foremost I would be looking for an instructor who meshes with my own personal philosophy (in both our cases, who sees the value in firearms in self defense, for instance) and moral structure. I am not interested in taking my kids to "Cobra Kai"! Is the instructor engaged in the lives of his or her kids; are they fair, kind but firm, encouraging, etc.?

    Also, I think it is important to make sure that you're morally okay with the school, the instructor, and their priorities and attitudes. For instance, is their priority to engage a threat and fight, or to de-escalate and escape whenever possible? It might be important to your family about the worldview of your instructor. For me and my family, as committed evangelical Christians we didn't want a style of art with taoism or ancestor worship as part of it. Others might not mind that kind of approach or like an energy-centric approach.

    Ask anyone you think about studying with not only for 2 or 3 recommendations, but for the name and number of the last 2 people who left their training center. If they won't give it, that's a HUGE red flag. Then call those people and ask them how the school treated them as they left and why they did. If the instructor was fair, helpful, and mature then you've got a winner on your hands. If they are petty or petulant, that is no bueno.

    What area are you in again? I might be able to help a little.
    I have seen some folks object to these issues and to the display of flags or recitation of various "slogans" "mantras" "oaths," and salutes. I tend to be pretty go with the flow and such don't bother me
    as an adult with well formed views; a parent does however need to consider them with young children especially.

    You'd not like the atmosphere where I go, not because of adherence to ritual, there isn't any, but it is sort of hard core for rough dudes. They play gangsta rap music not appropriate for kids or old men; the only understandable words that come through the din of the beat are the "n" word and the "f" word. But the beat keeps you moving. It makes the Bas Rutten like routines "groove." I'm learning to be tolerant.

    One of these days I'll bring in some Bach and Handle and torture these young punks. (Nah, they are good guys all of the rap notwithstanding.)
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  12. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by limatunes View Post
    Why would you nix TKD?

    Krav isn't even available in our area. There is some BJJ but their kid programs start at a little older ages. There is TKD EVERYWHERE around here which makes it very accessible to those of us who live a distance from things.
    Like I already told you elsewhere, it does not matter what you choose at this point. TKD, BJJ, Karate... whatever. What you need for this age is the structure, discipline and sense of accomplishment. A well run program will do that. We do TKD for my kids. It is more of a sport than anything else. I'm smart enough to know that I'm not going to turn my 8 year old into a ninja or 4 foot walking weapon. However, there are some very practical self defense components that work well. The self defense aspects are a small part of any martial art program, but are easily transferred and taught once their is the basic foundation that is martial arts.

    Not that I think you (Lima) will, but do not get caught up in the my kid can beat up your kid garbage. So many people think that their chosen art is the best and superior over the next one for this and that... that attitude just tells me they missed the entire lesson and why they have paid hard earned money into martial arts. My son literally has a wall full of 1st and 2nd place plaques from different tournaments all over the region he earned in sparring, self defense, forms and even "breaking". I know that it does not mean he is Billy Badass; but it does give him a great sense of pride and self accomplishment which in turn pushes him to want to excel in the things that really matter- and that is what kids martial arts is about...and it has been well worth the thousands of dollars I have invested over the years.
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  13. #27
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    Out of all the martial arts I have done, Jiu Jitsu was by far my favorite. It really teaches you to use technique rather than brute strength, and how to out think your opponent, sorta like a game of chess. Jiu Jitsu all the way especially for the little ones.
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    I think that the choice of instructor is more important than the choice of art. You should be able to get a trial class at different schools. See which ones both you and your son are most comfortable with. How many other parents are there and how you feel about interacting with them should also tell you quite a bit about them and their attitudes.

    At a MA school I attended several years ago, they had a top notch children's program. One of the things that the instructor did was prior to allowing any rank advancement, the student had to bring home a piece of paper and get it signed by their parents AND their teacher that said that they were doing their work both at school and at home, were getting good grades, and were being respectful of their parents and teachers. The letter explained that they were wanting to advance in their MA class and unless their teachers and parents felt that they had earned the privilege, it would not happen until the situation changed.
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    - Lima
    Lots of good responses give already, but annother $.02

    What kind of martial arts would you recommend?
    What is available and you know will be interesting to the child - no fun, they don't want to go or learn.
    What should I look for when it comes to choosing a class for my kid?
    Instructor interaction with the kids is a key - are they having fun/positive reinforcement?
    Sit in on intermediate and advanced classes.... Are the students still enjoying what they are doing, focused and sharp?
    Are the instructors focused? – do they make corrections in form, execution but still keep the kids interested and positive? You know when you see good teaching vs. just going through the motions.

    Ask parents and students what they think - they like to talk - are more advanced classes promoting students to 'make room' or is the skill level the reason for advancement? I have seen students advanced just to move them up and make room in the classes, but the student ends up missing out.

    My youngest daughter received her black belt in TKD at 14, started her at 8 to help self control and attitude. The largest challenge was keeping the interest level – they want to go to classes because they are fun right? So you go 3-5 times a week because they want to!…. Next thing ya know you get the , “do I have to go?” :(
    Burn out is easy, keeping the kids interested, focused and still thinking it is fun is the hard part. Enjoy the experience and good luck.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carnivoire View Post
    My youngest daughter received her black belt in TKD at 14, started her at 8 to help self control and attitude. The largest challenge was keeping the interest level – they want to go to classes because they are fun right?
    Giving a female a black belt at 14 is a disgrace and a corruption of the whole idea of martial arts, not to mention dangerous to the child. It gives them the impression they can fight their way out of trouble. I don't know your child's situation but this is abhorrent to me. If a false belief in one's ability to self-defend helps self-control then I guess it's acceptable. But you should sit her down and let her know it is just a hobby and not a means of defending herself.
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