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Posted: 6/9/2003 9:03:28 AM EDT
I have a 3&1/2 year old son. He just started T ball. That got me thinking. When is appropriate to get him involved in martial arts? What are your reccomendations for the best style to start him in? Reasons? I have some ideas and arguments, but want to leave it open to get all points of view.
Link Posted: 6/9/2003 9:11:41 AM EDT
now Gung-Fu
Link Posted: 6/9/2003 9:16:42 AM EDT
Link Posted: 6/9/2003 9:17:52 AM EDT
Link Posted: 6/9/2003 9:24:59 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/9/2003 9:30:14 AM EDT by lordtrader]
Link Posted: 6/9/2003 9:26:41 AM EDT
Get him started now. I personally would recommend Akeido or something that is actually one of the better forms. Kids used to be started very early over in Japan. Of course, this is not ancient Japan. But I would put him into a serious art so that he doesn't get a false confidence and think he can get himself out of trouble when he can't. Plus, if he does well in one like Tae Kwon Do, he may be unwilling to start over again in a better art form. IMHO.
Link Posted: 6/9/2003 9:49:26 AM EDT
I second Aikido. This is a very beautiful, graceful and interesting art. And most aikido instructors I have ever met are really nice people and easy-going. I have seen some instructors in the "hard" styles that go crazy with the discipline. Some are downright brutal and don't need to be teaching martial arts, especially to kids. While Aikido is generally a more safe form of martial arts, it is rather complicated and difficult. If you have ever watched a couple of well trained black belts going through a series of movements, they look almost as graceful as a ballet dancer. However, while it looks easy, it takes a long time to master. Nonetheless, it is fun and very entertaining. Most instructors like to do some sort of demo at some point during a class to show the students where they will be going. With all of the cool throws and stuff, it's always a pleaser. There are some other good things about Aikido. It is an art where you learn to injure to degree...meaning you can use the same basic technique to simply take down and pin, break a bone or even kill depending on the threat. It's nice to know you are trained to deal with a situation where action is warranted but deadly force is excessive. And most Aikido instructors don't teach the killing techniques through the first few levels. Later in his life, say toward his late teens, you might also look at a Jeet Kune Do class. Jeet Kune Do is almost exactly opposite of Aikido. But it is simple, effective and quicker to master. But it may not be the most appropriate for a young child. This is a serious art for serious and mature people. I like to combine some of the better techniques of both styles. It makes for a rather weird combo, but as the great Bruce Lee once said...."water can flow or water can crash...be water my friend". Good luck in finding your son a suitable martial arts class! -Charging Handle PS, in case you would like to see some Aikido techniques in action, go to the video rental store and bring home some Steven Seagal movies....such as Above The Law, Out For Justice and Hard To Kill. Seagal is a 6th degree black belt (at last check) and some of his fight scenes in these movies are spectacular. Just watch close or you'll miss half the technique as he is so fast! LOL...and please hit the mute button while showing the scenes to your kid, his movies tend to have lots and lots of "F" words.
Link Posted: 6/9/2003 9:57:23 AM EDT
I'm not an authority, by any means, but as I understand it, in Aikido you learn to use your opponent against himself. His momentum, balance, force, etc. can be manipulated to your advantage. I just think that's a cool approach. My wife and I are homeschooling our 12-year old this fall (Haven't been able to find a local school that we're satisfied with). I've been thinking about martial arts for her to cover the P.E. area.
Link Posted: 6/9/2003 9:59:07 AM EDT
Link Posted: 6/9/2003 10:38:57 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Brohawk: I'm not an authority, by any means, but as I understand it, in Aikido you learn to use your opponent against himself. His momentum, balance, force, etc. can be manipulated to your advantage. I just think that's a cool approach.
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This is correct. Aikido is a totally defensive art. No punches or kicks are taught. So if required to use it, you have to be attacked first which is good as far as liability is concerned. You are taught how to take care of punches, kicks, grabs, etc and use the attacker's own energy from his attack to throw him and then to pin him and hold him in place. The techniques are pretty darn effective too I might add. Many police and security agencies train in these techniques, as well as prison guards.
Link Posted: 6/9/2003 10:57:37 AM EDT
I taught Tae Kwon Do for 10 years, and style differences aside, I would hesitate to start a child in a martial art until they were six or seven. My policy was to allow six year olds to attend two classes for free so I could evaluate them. If they were able to pay attention and attempt to follow instructions, then I accepted them. Otherwise, they could try again later. Whatever you decide, please spend some time observing classes at various schools before you enroll your kid. Way too many schools are willing to advance your child as long as you continue to pay, regardless of any actual progress. It is hard, but worth it, to find a school that actually requires competence in the skills/techniques before advancement. How can you tell? One way is to ask. Another is to be wary of schools with regular belt examinations every month or so. Another is to avoid altogether any school that promises a black belt in x amount of time. It took me ten years to earn a black belt, and I was a quick study. Good luck, and remember: learning martial arts is a slow and incremental process that can be very frustrating for kids. They want to do spinning hook kicks and flying side kicks right away, not just front punches and basic forms. Prepare your kid for that up front.
Link Posted: 6/9/2003 11:01:19 AM EDT
Link Posted: 6/9/2003 11:20:26 AM EDT
Originally Posted By lordtrader:
Originally Posted By sashmore: learning martial arts is a slow and incremental process that can be very frustrating for kids. They want to do spinning hook kicks and flying side kicks right away, not just front punches and basic forms. Prepare your kid for that up front.
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I was a mean bastard, when I taught. Whenever I got a kid that wanted to learn a jump spinning back kick, I thought it to him/her. The first time they fall down and do a face plant is the last time they ask. 8 of 10 would quit asking [:D] the other two will be gifted enough to learn it.
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roflmao
Link Posted: 6/9/2003 11:32:46 AM EDT
Link Posted: 6/9/2003 11:39:17 AM EDT
I recommend SmithDo or WessonDo. You can teach these yourself at the range. [:D]
Link Posted: 6/9/2003 11:47:11 AM EDT
I really wish that I had started a martial art when I was young , I can just imagine what I could be capable of if I had not waited until I was older.... t
Link Posted: 6/9/2003 12:00:00 PM EDT
#1 Kung Fu #2 Karate
Link Posted: 6/9/2003 2:09:58 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/9/2003 2:15:48 PM EDT by madmedic]
Originally Posted By sashmore: I taught Tae Kwon Do for 10 years, and style differences aside, I would hesitate to start a child in a martial art until they were six or seven. My policy was to allow six year olds to attend two classes for free so I could evaluate them. If they were able to pay attention and attempt to follow instructions, then I accepted them. Otherwise, they could try again later. Whatever you decide, please spend some time observing classes at various schools before you enroll your kid. Way too many schools are willing to advance your child as long as you continue to pay, regardless of any actual progress. It is hard, but worth it, to find a school that actually requires competence in the skills/techniques before advancement. How can you tell? One way is to ask. Another is to be wary of schools with regular belt examinations every month or so. Another is to avoid altogether any school that promises a black belt in x amount of time. It took me ten years to earn a black belt, and I was a quick study. Good luck, and remember: learning martial arts is a slow and incremental process that can be very frustrating for kids. They want to do spinning hook kicks and flying side kicks right away, not just front punches and basic forms. Prepare your kid for that up front.
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Sashmore is right on the money with this. I was heavily into Tae Kwon Do in my teens, and early twenties. When I had to start working a steady job...I had to phase out the martial arts. (although I will still work out on my own sometimes) I made it to 2nd degree brown belt before I dropped out. I have seen kids from other schools who were brown, (or even black) belts...but were not even into double digits age wise. They get their rank because they memorize the Katas, (or forms) required by their schools for advancement...and their parents are "paying customers". [b]BUT[/b] it really just cheats the kid. They dont normally have the mental discipline to understand what it means to be a "Martial Artist", and there are not many three foot tall "REAL" black belts for their skills to be judged against. All that being said...The martial arts are an EXCELLENT way to build character. One of the first things you learned at the school I attended was the "code": "[b]avoid[/b] rather than check, [b]check[/b] rather than hurt, [b]hurt[/b] rather than maim, [b]maim[/b] rather than kill. Kids also had to show their report cards to the schools Master ([b]The first part of my post is not meant to say that kids cant properly earn a high rank, and be good at it....BUT, it is a rare occurance, and requires a GOOD school[/b]) Get him in a reputable school now...but be wary if he is testing for belts every month.
Link Posted: 6/9/2003 5:25:31 PM EDT
Link Posted: 6/9/2003 5:26:30 PM EDT
Link Posted: 6/9/2003 5:39:44 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/9/2003 5:41:56 PM EDT by Tactus]
I would NOT advise AIKIDO! Children are prone to things like "green stick" fractures and dislocated joints. Ju do/jitsu has the same problem. Start him on one of the striking styles that places an emphasis on control and balance. Shotokan is good. Shorinkan is ok. Tae and Hapkido is probably pushing it. Personally, I would wait until he's 5 or 6.
Link Posted: 6/9/2003 7:54:31 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/9/2003 7:55:41 PM EDT by marvl]
If you're concerned about your kid getting hurt or dislocating joints, I would recommend French savate. This martial art, performed with small white flags, has a low incidence of injury. [;D]
Link Posted: 6/9/2003 8:10:22 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Tactus: I would NOT advise AIKIDO!
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I agree! Akido is very very dangerous if done fast. If a kid is trying to show off by using it, then someone will get seriously hurt. Infact my dojo doesnt offer it to people younger than 18. I took judo since i was little. it is very good. If you kid gets knocked to the ground, he needs to know how to defend himself down there. if he knows all the karate in the world, thats great. but if he goes down and some dude is sitting on him punching him in the face, then that is going to be bad. on the other hand if he knows how to deal with said attacker on the ground he will be better off. I recommend JUDO and a long time from now Akido
Link Posted: 6/9/2003 9:10:57 PM EDT
I've been an Aikido practitioner for about 4.5 yrs, an can vouch that although it is a very gentle art and that control is emphasized, at the same time it can cause serious injuries. A slip in a karate school may give someone a fat lip, a slip in Aikido can break bones and devastate a joint. That being said it, would depend on your sons maturity and the instructor on wether he should take Aikido. In my school we have a kids class and it is tame compared to the adult class. Usually they don't start learning the "good stuff" until their early teens depending on if the instructor feels that they are at a certain level of maturity. We have never had a serious injury in a kids class.Kids classes are usually focused on the basics. Like moving, and blocking. In aikido these are extremly important and are actually the most difficult parts. You can learn a devastating technique but if you can't move, it's useless. But in my experience the guys that do the best in aikido have trained in another art. One of the most devastating is kenpo.Kenpo teaches that each block is a strike. This combined with Aikido is absolutly amazing. The best route I believe is start him out in kenpo until he gets atleast black then get him into an Aikido school.
Link Posted: 6/9/2003 9:42:22 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/9/2003 9:44:23 PM EDT by The_Macallan]
You're getting all kinds of answers as expected. Every kid's different. Some can handle it earlier, some much later. Some never. I've "taught" kids as young as 3-4 in a formal setting. It's baby sitting. From my experience (~10+ years as an instructor) kids get the most out of martial arts beginning around 6-7 years old. This is the about the earliest age where you get kid's mind starting to open up to understanding you - not just following your moves. A 3-4 year old just doesn't "get it" and won't REALLY understand what it's all about. And that's where self-discipline is best taught which is the most important part of martial arts training. Let me also echo some words of caution others have mentioned. Check out different styles and different dojos. Stay away from schools where you see a bunch of 3-foot tall black belts. Beware "belt mills" which sell out belt advancements real quick. And most important - let the kid have FUN. My personal opinion, I think 3-4 year olds are too young for martial arts. Wait a couple years.
Link Posted: 6/10/2003 1:27:01 AM EDT
Gun Kata
Link Posted: 6/10/2003 4:03:27 AM EDT
Link Posted: 6/10/2003 4:34:43 AM EDT
Start him out with Kempo, That is the best I have used for coordination and upper body ( which has been many years ago) after Kempo training I would recommend Shao-Lin, that will utilize his upper body skills as well as lower body with legs, kicks, and feet. I wished I had time to get back into either of the two.
Link Posted: 6/10/2003 5:13:54 AM EDT
Link Posted: 6/10/2003 5:30:34 AM EDT
Start him now. I started one of my daughters on her first day of Kindergarten. The local martial arts academy picks her up at school each day, takes her to the dojo, helps her with homework, gives her a snack, and she gets 45 minutes of formal instruction. I pick her up on my way home at 5PM. She's a 7 year old 1st grader, but she has earned her brown belt in Tae Kwon Do. She's participated in a couple of tournaments and won trophies in forms, combinations and sparring. I cannot emphasize how well rounded she has become with this instruction, and I could never be more proud! My younger daughter (5 years old) will start this summer and she can't wait!
Link Posted: 6/10/2003 8:32:46 AM EDT
Great replies so far. I'm not starting him at 3 & 1/2, but wondered when I should. I think I may poke around and ask at the various schools when they suggest starting him.
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