To determine which martial art, the first point to consider is the concern over teaching children how to injure someone before they can determine if it is really needed. You need to consider both your child's disposition and the maturity of the instructor in handling this issue.
As for the different choices, we tend to use two broad categories: striking and throwing. Martial arts that emphasize striking tend to use solo forms and drills in combination with one on one competition in sparring. Martial arts that focus on throwing often drill techniques with partners. They may use one on one competition, or a traditional (noncompetitive approach) dealing with multiple attackers. Defense against weapons, while not crucial for children, are important because they set the direction of training to the more advanced levels.
The remainder of this section provides useful information to further examine this subject.
The best way to defend yourself against an attacker is to not be attacked in the first place. The best solution - not being attacked - should receive the most attention. So the primary goal of martial arts training should be to build character. Positive character discourages other people from anger and violence, reducing the chances of being attacked.
As parents, we all know the saying, "do as I say, not as I do." We also know it rarely works. If you ask your child to look to someone as a teacher, the instructor should embody positive character in their daily activities. Your children learn through osmosis and the atmosphere of the school will have a significant impact on their values.
The instructor should have technical skills, but these are secondary for children. The main point is leadership through example.
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