Facts about Martial Arts for Kids
by Paul M. Jerard Jr.
How do I find the right martial arts teacher for my
You will know when you have a face-to-face meeting and observe
him or her teach a martial arts class. The chemistry between
a prospective martial arts teacher and you should be good. After
all, your child is supposed to learn courtesy, respect, self-discipline,
goal setting, and many more life skills from his or her martial
arts instructor. If the martial arts teacher you are considering
displays none of the above-mentioned qualities, please continue
to shop around.
It makes no difference if your child is learning Karate, Jujitsu,
Aikido, Judo, Tae Kwon Do, or Kung Fu, when the teacher is not
a good role model. You don't need to expose your children to
hazards or questionable characters in order for them to learn
martial arts. The martial arts school philosophy, and the instructors,
should meet your standard - never settle for less. Are you looking
for discipline, academic improvement, life skills, tournament
competition, self-defense, or a positive activity? Martial arts
studios are not created equally. A life skills school may not
meet the needs of a competitive parent or child. A "tournament
school" that teaches Sport Karate, Sport Jujitsu, or enters
many competitions, may be lacking in life skills and so forth.
This is not meant to take away the value of any aspect in martial
arts training, but to make you, as a parent, aware that the
emphasis will be different from one type of school to another.
Also, the self-defense aspect will be taught differently within
each martial arts school. Some martial arts schools teach more
of one technique such as: punching, kicking, joint locks, sweeps,
At our wellness center in North Providence, Rhode Island, we
teach all of those aspects, and we also teach self-defense through
communication. For example: Wouldn't it be better to prevent
a physical conflict by talking it out? If a child is fully capable
of defending himself or herself, why should he or she pursue
a physical fight?
As adults, we know that the diplomatic approach to a physical
conflict will not always work, but it is worth a try. Our children
need to look at social skills, awareness, and courtesy as survival
tools. Whether they are walking down a street, or entering the
workplace, these skills are extremely important.
Know your goals and your child's needs. Please make sure your
reasons for enrolling your son or daughter in martial arts classes
are sound. Martial arts for your child, is his or her personal
endeavor. You can share in the feeling of accomplishment by
being supportive and watch them grow to be successful. Success
is one of the most important gifts we can give to our children.
The ideal martial arts instructor should have knowledge of sports
medicine and CPR training. This may be one of the reasons why
serious injuries are rare. Make sure that the safety of each
child is a priority with the martial arts school you choose.
Some parents may feel I play it too safe within a karate class,
but they have not seen a child knocked unconscious, a broken
nose, or loss of blood, in my school. When I was a Sport Karate
coach, referee, and judge, I saw all of those things in tournaments,
and children were all wearing protective equipment.
Therefore, safety precautions are a very important factor, when
deciding which martial arts school you should choose for your