How do I Choose the Best Martial Art for My Child to Start in?
By Adrienne Brooks | August 14, 2016 | 0 Comments
When choosing a martial art for your child to start you can take into consideration their personality and what they are interested in and particularly if they have expressed interest in a particular martial art form.
And then as their parent you may like to consider that is not the Art, but the teacher that matters, at least for young children.
Good teachers have the ability to connect with children. They respect them and do not expect them to be adults. At the same time, they understand that children have different needs.
A good teacher must intuitively understand that what children want from the martial arts is NOT necessarily the same as what we think they want, and often not the same as what we as parents are looking for.
Children want to be strong, capable, and physically coordinated. They also want to become, in a very real sense, the hero of their own story.
It is really important to do your research and understand the values program the teacher is teaching from. Go to a trial class and look for a teacher that ignites passion in the children, and then keeps consistently high expectations for focused effort and hard work, while also modelling and embodying the deeper philosophy of good martial arts practice.
Listen to the way the teacher talks to the children and how they encourage positive self-talk within your child as they transverse the learning environment and try new and different things.
The very best teachers understand that martial arts practice for children must be presented in fundamentally different ways than adult practice. Children’s classes need to be structured differently, with an emphasis on experiential learning. Children also understand the idea of earned rewards and incremental progress, but the benchmarks must be child-sized, and they must be presented in a way that makes sense to them
The learning must also be based in a culture and atmosphere that emphasizes the very best aspects of Martial Arts training. The Academy must become a very special place for children, one with a very specific structure that enables them to learn not only physical techniques, but spirit and discipline. Children consistently adapt to their environment, and internalize the structures around them, so this is incredibly important to their wholistic learning.
Not only is their need for these things far greater than the need to physically defend themselves, but in a very real sense it precludes the necessity for doing so. Children who learn the virtues of hard work, respect, teamwork and acceptance of others, along with confidence, self-discipline and how to cope productively with their fear will have become their own hero, and they will find their own Art.
You might have to visit more than one schools and observe a few classes before you find the right one. But think of the investment in time and money that you are going to be putting into this with your child and you’ll understand how important the selection is.