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Martial Arts for Kids

Discussion in 'The Martial Arts Forum' started by Criphunter44, Feb 23, 2007.

  1. Criphunter44

    Criphunter44 ALPHA BEAR

    Jun 23, 2006
    I'd like to get my kids, (5&10) started in some form of Martial Arts,
    anyone have any suggestions on any disciplines that would keep them interested?
  2. IDC


    Jun 21, 2004
    this question is almost like what caliber is best. for kids the most important thing is it must be fun. next you need to ask what do you want from the MA, im sure your looking for self defense but beyond that what?, some arts by their nature are more aggressive, what do they want from it is also a good question.

  3. OldRonin


    Jan 16, 2007
    My suggestion for kids is to find a school that teaches jujitsu. Not Brazilian jujitsu, which focuses on groundfighting, but on stand-up jujitsu. Failing that, I would sign them up for aikido.

    Why? Well, first of all, we all want our kids to have fun, learn some discipline, and learn to defend themselves, improve their confidence, etc. Well, tae kwon do, karate, kung fu, kenpo... these are all arts that focus primarily on striking. The problem with this is... for a kid, where the main dangers her or she faces are at school or on the playground, there is a zero tolerance policy for "fighting". In most cases, fighting involves hitting. Anybody who hits anybody else, regardless of the context (at least in school), is guilty of fighting.
    Therefore, their karate is useless to help them keep the bully off. See, striking arts only work when they are done all the way. Halfway techniques just piss off the other person who will then proceed to pound you into the ground.

    Jujitsu, on the other hand, provides a number of skills that can be applieid in daily life, and also skills that can be used on the schoolgrounds without getting them expelled from school. First of all, jujitsu teaches you how to fall without getting hurt. I can't tell you how many times my training in aikido and aikijujitsu has saved me from getting my skull cracked open because I know how to fall properly. I've learned to roll with a fall, and have so far spared myself any broken bones.

    Second, jujitsu teaches a number of techniques that are useful for breaking holds, which are a common means of bullying. Third, jujitsu techniques can be used to make the bully "fall down", and it doesn't even look like you had anything to do with it. He just tripped over his own feet while backing up. Or so it looks.

    Plus, your child gets to do hands-on "sparring" type partner training from very early on. Karate and tae kwon do sparring is useless for teaching self defense skills. I've a 6th dan in karate, so don't say I'm just prejudiced.

    So, do your child a favor. Stay away from the glitz and glamor or those schools with big trophies in the window, and those places who put black belts on 12 year olds (one of the most ridiculous things they've come up with). Your child probably won't be training in a fancy studio. But they will be learning skills that they can carry with them the rest of their lives that will be useful in many ways.

    I don't recommend judo, because judo is a sport, and the current status of sport judo in America is a mess.

    Martial arts shouldn't be a competetive sport in the first place, IMHO. The only competition should be with oneself. Not supporting ego gratification by awarding trophies to the person who could do the flashiest stunts or who was fastest at playing a game of foam padded tag.

    Maybe that's more than you asked for, but I feel very strongly about this. I used to teach children's karate, for many years, actually. I won't do it any more. Do them a favor. Get them trained in jujitsu.

    Aikido can be almost as good, but the skills take much longer to reach proficiency, and the kids don't have quite as much fun.

    I could go on and on. I wrote a book on this subject. If you care to get a copy write me a PM and I'll give you the link. (It's a book I sell, but I'll share it with Glocktalkers free of charge)

    Best wishes finding a school.

    The Old Ronin
  4. lethal tupperwa

    lethal tupperwa

    Aug 20, 2002
    both will develop their abilities.

    With less danger to their young bones.

    Both can be used for defense.
  5. FortyCaliber

    FortyCaliber 10millimember

    May 23, 2002
    Southeastern PA
    You've received some good feedback.

    I would, however, like to offer a very simple perpsective... the best MA school is the one that your children will attend on a consistent basis.

    You can spend all time in the world researching the best school, the best instructor and the best art, but if the school is an hour away and has unusual class times, it will become a drag for even the most disciplined student.

    You have to make it fit into your lifestyle. You want to make it so easy and convenient to get to the gym that you have no excuse to get there even when you are too tired, when you're running late, when it's snowing, etc.

    You get out of it what you put into it. Your children will benefit from any decent, well run school. The important thing is that they will be exposed to the Martial Arts. I wish I had been exposed to MA at a much younger age.

    As they get older they will likely see other arts that may interest them, and they will have a better understanding of the commitment required if they want to try something different. It is not unusual for Martial Artists to train in more than one discipline over their lifetime.

    That's my 2 cents.

    BTW, Old Ronin I'd love to read your book.
  6. katana8869

    katana8869 NativeFloridian

    Oct 17, 2005
    Occupied Territory
    BIG +1! :thumbsup:
  7. Criphunter44

    Criphunter44 ALPHA BEAR

    Jun 23, 2006
    Thanks a lot for all of the great advice. I agree with all, my primary goal is for them to be able to defend themselves and break any hold some BG tries. I am not doing this for them to compete, I'm doing this so they can survive. Again thank you all, and I'll let you know how the do.

  8. Ronin I agree with just about everything you said but I am not quite ready to agree with you on the sparring. I've trained in Tae Kwon Do for 22 years currently a 4th dan and Combat Hap Ki Do for almost 6 years currently 1st dan. When you have on pads, head gear and vest you can go pretty hard at each other and see what it feels like to hit some one and take a hit so you don't fall apart if it happens. Even in karate "point" fighting, as you already know is basically a game of tag, you can learn timing and distance. Having said all that I agree that jujitsu aikido and combat hap ki do, any similar system that uses joint manipulation, lock ups and take downs is probably the best way to go. I wish I had discovered Combat Hap Ki Do years ago. Feel free to correct me as you see necessary I am always open to suggestion and gaining wisdom. I would also be interested in your book so I will send you a pm or e-mail. thank you sir
  9. OldRonin


    Jan 16, 2007
    Well, I can't claim to "know" the truth. My experience is that early training as a way of sinking in and becoming habit, which is what we switch to under extreme stress.

    I see you point about TKD sparring teaching distancing and timing and such. It does give a kid some experience in "taking" a punch, because it is a jolt to get a solid kick in the head no matter how much foam you've got on it.

    Here's what I see as the problem with having your child do ANY TKD sparring as their first experience in combatives.

    1. The timing, strategic positioning, distancing are all surefire ways of getting your *ss handed to you in real life. Did you you the recent Oscar winner "The Departed". I recommend it as a film to study to see what an attack looks like in real life. TKD sparring training ingrains deeply in you a flawed sense of distance, timing, and offensive defense.

    2. I have a son who is grown, in the Army in Iraq for his SECOND YEAR (not special forces, he's a desk jockey), and I trained him myself in martial arts. He worked out since he was 12 in our hard-core, bare knuckle dojo. He never got hurt. Our punch control was so good we could make contact, even to the face while in motion, and pull it back before making a bruise. We made 3/4 contact to the body.
    My son, as a result has these skills: He is almost impossible to hit. I can't even hit him. He is almost impossible to sneak up on. He's never been in a "fight" in his life, as he has been able to avoid all His sparring training was bare knuckle with pulled punches. Since we weren't connecting with the pads, he didn't learning this tag, slap-fighting reflexes most TKD kids learn. He has good control of his fear. He can function under stress.

    3. I have another son who is 16. He has many friends who have earned black belts in TKD. I have invited all of them at one time or another to come over for a free lesson in real world self defense. Just the thought of it makes them pee their pants. I submit that modern dojo sparring training with heavy pads is mis-utilized, and the outcome is worse than having no training at all. I would rather take a student with NO training than someone with a couple of years of time spent in a modern karate dojo.

    4. The kids who have spent a year or two in jujitsu are entirely different. They don't work out with pads. The work body to body every session, and get used to strategic positioning, and aren't afraid of a few bumps a bruises.

    5. Some years ago, in my old hard core bare knuckle dojo, we tried training new guys using pads. Their focus got worse. The number of training injuries actually went up, not down. All the students got sloppy. After 6 months, we sold all the pads and went back to bare knuckle training. We allowed forearm and shin pads.

    I have to end this post because of time. Those are my thoughts for now.
  10. Yes I have had my share of injuries, I no longer compete at my age it just takes to long to heal up. I came up the old school way and we only went to pads an gear in the mid 90's. I have used my training twice in the last 20 years once as a red belt and then last year. The first time a drunk pulled back to throw the old haymaker and I gave him a palm strike to the chin and a front kick as he was moving backward. It happened so fast I'm not sure the front kick even landed. No making distance, no set up timing just bang go fight over. The second time I had more warnning, it was actually my step son drunk high take your pick, put him in wrist lock and take him down. to this day he still doesn't remember it. So I guess what I have really done is transfer my sparring distance timing etc into situational awarness. Now when I am in public I check out who is around me and you seems to be the one to start trouble and I keep an eye out for them. The instructor told us last week to pick one thing we thought would give us the most trouble in a fight and work on that one thing for a month. At the end of this month he wants to see our technique and see how much we have improved. Almost everyone chose to work on punch defenses. I was more interested in some one grabbing me to bear hug and throw me or take me down. I chose the heaviest guy in class. He also was a high school wrestling coach. He has taught me a lot about what happens when a big guy gets his hands on you( there's that distance thing again don't let him get close) but when and if he does I have options. As you stated you can't always choose when and where but my ground techniques ae improving.
  11. engineer151515


    Nov 3, 2003
    My Dad signed me up for Judo at age 7.

    I don't think it made me a better fighter necessarily but I probably avoided injuries through many years of bike crashes and hill climbing by just knowing how to fall "properly".
    No doubt in my mind that it was helpful.
  12. brock sampson

    brock sampson

    Aug 15, 2005
    SE Georgia
    Be careful of speaking in generalizations. Just because one of a certain type of school or "most schools like school X" train or don't train a certain way doesn't mean that's true of the schools available in your area. Whatever school you choose, I would recommend you make your decision on the quality of the school and the instruction. Asking here for pointers is a great start but be aware of your options and then match those with the goals you have in mind for your children. Self defense is fine as an end goal but you should know that it will be a VERY long road before any training is adequate in an actual violent situation (though I admit most schoolyard fights are not serious violence). Even then, this is only true if the training is realistic and under the right supervision. In the end, style is not really an issue if the training meets your long and/or short term goals. Remember that real self defense is a very deep topic that goes way beyond takedowns and front kicks. There is no real shortcut but a good foundation is a great start!
  13. Steel Talon

    Steel Talon

    Mar 11, 2006
    Hello CP....


    It takes a special kind of mind set of an instructer to teach young kids. Thier (kids) ability to intently focus and learn/train is short.(15-20min.+/-) They get bored easily. This can cause alot of frustration for the sensei,which in turn frustrates the child. Rare is the young American child that can MA train for 1 steady hour.

    Kid classes can also be a bane in Jr.s MA learning it's the same as in thier school classroom when a couple of students start to complain et al. it can overtake the class if the teacher isnt capable of control.

    Traditional MA's that focus to KATA can make it very boring for the young student. Thier images of cartoon mastery such as Avatar,Samurai Shampoo, Power Rangers... ad.naseum.. immediately crashes with dojo reality. This in turn can upset Mom and Dad cxause Jr. is not performing to thier expectations as they silently compare thier kids to those other kids.. I could go on about "self defence" facts and fiction, but I wont.

    Anyway you may want to consider finding a style that is relatively fast passed or in a constant state of flow and movement. Activity keeps Jr.s attention, and if enjoyed by Jr. they will want to keep going back.

    *JuJitsu "stand up" does this, and so does **Modern Arnis. If you have a Arnis school in your area then I suggest you start your research there. Google Remy Presses (RIP) Modern Arnis to begin your research.

    Again these are just my ramblings. I've been a life long student of the Martial Arts since 1960 when an Air Force Captain taught JUDO at the Base rec. center.

    Best of Luck
    Steel Talon :cool:
  14. I see you're way east of me (in SoCal when my kids were in martial arts) but I would like to recommend Karate For Kids, if there are any affiliates near you. The Truscotts (sp) of Escondido, Calif. were teaching kids and the kids loved it. The kids both boys & girls, learned self-discipline, friendly competition, and respect for others. The original teachings were Tae Kwon Do, but I don't know what's current. I have not kept in touch with them (my bad, because the kids all love these guys), but I have seen Karate For Kids member schools in Texas, where I live now. PS; my kids started when they were 5 yrs old.