Kids Martial Arts Classes
Quiz for Choosing a School - Knowing the Right QuestionsThe best customer is an educated customer.
Everyone's 1st question: What am I looking for?
Usually self-defense, exercise and broadly personal growth (think confidence, discipline, focus, character building, a positive influence for society, etc.). Others may include falling safely, dealing with stress and emergencies, and avoiding injuries.
What martial art do they teach – aren’t they all MMA?
MMA is loosely a term for combat in a ring. It is not an actual martial art. The different martial arts tend to use very distinct approaches (focus on escaping and control, striking, solo forms, grappling/wrestling) that appeal in very different circumstances (competition, traditional self defense technique). If you don’t understand which martial art they teach, you won’t have any idea whether your child will receive the benefits you seek.
Lineage – what and why do I care?
Lineage is quality control. The originator of a martial art is often a profoundly realized practitioner of great skill. They typically signal which students they entrust to continue their system, and so on down the teacher/student lineage to present. If you do not have this, you don’t know where the instructor learned or if they have developed enough skill to teach.
Martial arts, money and the benefits for my child?
Being from the western culture, we may have an inverted understanding of the relationship between these factors. We think the more something costs, the better it is. But the actual benefits only come when the martial art is taught with sincerity – meaning not for the money. The more commercially successful a school is, the more they charge, can actually indicate lower benefits for your child if the intention of the instructors is primarily to make money. Money can become the focus rather than benefiting your child.
In martial arts, leadership accrues to those of good character who benefit the society at large. Of course, these are the people who others seek to follow out of admiration. So positive character should be emphasized. When a martial arts school trains students specifically for “leadership” without addressing the underlying cause that produces leadership, it is not genuine leadership training.
Children’s black belt as a goal
In Aikido, we look at black belts as possessing the positive character and maturity only of an adult. It can only manifest with maturity, and not during childhood. Holding out a children’s version of a black belt seems somehow misleading to the child, and may be interpreted as accomplishing something that is actually beyond their developmental capacity. We therefore do not set out a child’s black belt as a goal, but instead integrate the ranking system as leading into the pathway of the adult black belt curriculum for when they are of age (typically 16-18, depending upon the child’s maturity).
Long run benefits
Lifetime training is the primary vehicle for the vast benefits available from martial arts training. Children are typically too young to identify whether they are interested in making this type of commitment. But they can still obtain many of the benefits you may be seeking, and the experience can act as a compass as they age that leads them to find the same benefits, perhaps in other disciplines, as they grow older.