Enrolling Your Child in a Martial Arts Program

Martial arts programs are a wonderful way for children of all ages and genders to become physically fit, learn valuable social skills, and practice self-discipline. Making the decision to enroll a child in a program is not an easy one, however. There are a number of misconceptions about martial arts that cause parents to shy away from the programs. In addition, the sheer number of schools available is overwhelming. It is important to understand what martial arts programs are all about, and how to pick between the available options, in order to make an informed decision.

The Benefits of Martial Arts for Kids

First and foremost, martial arts programs are a great way to get children up and moving. There is only so much a parent can do at home to encourage their child to be more active. A karate or jujitsu class is fun and motivates children to practice new skills both at the martial arts school and at home.

Martial arts teachers are committed to instilling a sense of self-discipline in all of their students. This crucial life skill is usually not focused on in academic classrooms or at home. In addition, instructors also require respect and good listening skills from their students. If a child wants to advance and earn a new belt, they have to pay attention to what is going on around them and respond appropriately. The teachings they are exposed to often result in a well-rounded child that is sure of themselves and their interactions with the world.

Finally, contrary to popular belief, martial arts classes promote non-violent conflict resolution skills. Instructors emphasize how important it is for their students to avoid fighting if at all possible. They also teach defensive techniques that help contribute to peaceful resolutions.

Finding a Program

There are so many martial arts schools in operation today that it can be overwhelming, to say the least, to find the right program. Start by seeking out a school that stays true to the original teachings of its martial art. For example, look for a program that only teaches Karate rather than one that combines Karate with Tae Kwon Do.

The next step is to research the available programs in a given city or town. There are many different types of martial arts for kids, including Judo, Karate, Aikido, Tae Kwon Do, and Kung Fu. It is best to make a list of any interesting schools and then pay them a visit. While there, watch a class and evaluate whether or not the child in question would enjoy it. Each martial art will be different; for example, Aikido emphasizes cooperation skills and is not very competitive. Jujitsu, in contrast, is quite competitive.

Be sure to pay attention to how the instructor interacts with the students. Does he have their attention and do the students listen well to him? Does everyone seem to be having fun? The instructor will set the tone for the school, so it is important to feel comfortable with his teaching style.

Preventing Injuries

taekwondo boyThe martial arts are usually safe for kids, however it is possible for injuries to occur. When evaluating a potential school, look carefully at the classroom space and equipment. There should be no gaps between the mats, because a child could trip and fall, injuring their leg or ankle. In addition, flooring that is very old could be slippery.

Students must understand that they will have to wear safety gear at times and that it is simply a part of class. Make sure they understand that mouth guards, headgear and pads may need to be worn for protection.

Finally, using proper technique will help minimize the chance of injury. Take every opportunity to point out and encourage the student to use the right form.

Making the decision to enroll a child in a martial arts class isn’t always easy. However, doing so could benefit the child in more ways than one.