Author Topic: Martial arts etiquette & kids  (Read 1348 times)

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elephantschild

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Martial arts etiquette & kids
« on: November 26, 2012, 05:38:56 PM »
I hemmed and hawed a bit about where to put this. It is an etiquette question, but I'm really interested in any information eHellions wish to provide. :) I have fairly little knowledge of martial arts, although I'm interested.

I have a very bright, very active 4-year-old son. The boy is interested in everything and has a ton of energy. Unfortunately, this manifests itself at times as being generally antsy and difficulty sitting still. (So said his pre-K teacher.  :P)  Over the summer, a lot of that was directed to a local children's sport program. The winter ... is going to be very long.

I'm looking at martial arts of some sort as a possibility for that energy, as well as a way to help convey more of a sense of discipline. I believe he has it in him, but it needs a focus. (He's also very athletic for a preschooler!)

I'm particularly looking at Tae Kwon Do studios in our area, but I'd also be interested to know about other martial arts. What is the etiquette expected of a child? I know some are more or less strict, but I don't really know what the rules are to begin with ...

I'm pretty sure any of the local studios who have classes for kids DS' age are prepared to teach them this etiquette as a part of learning the ropes, but I also don't want to start something with DS if he's not ready for it ... so knowing a little bit of what's expected before signing up would be a good thing.

Any info appreciated! Thank you. :)
"But there was one Elephant -- a new Elephant -- an Elephant's Child--who was full of 'satiable curtiosity, and that means he asked ever so many questions."
-- "Just So Stories," Rudyard Kipling

One Fish, Two Fish

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Re: Martial arts etiquette & kids
« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2012, 09:27:09 PM »
The tae kwon do school I attend has a class for 3-4 year olds.   It's the cutest thing ever.  The only thing expected of our kids is the ability to listen and follow basic instructions.  At that age, kids aren't going to be learning anything very difficult.  They work on coordination skills and sparring.  Don't let that scare you though.  The kids are padded so well that they can barely move.  You should be able to find a school that will let you son have a trial lesson.
I'll get there.  Eventually.

Harriet Jones

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Re: Martial arts etiquette & kids
« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2012, 10:11:40 PM »
One thing to look out for is the commitment the school wants from the kids.  One of the schools in my area wants a year-long commitment from anyone who signs up.

kherbert05

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Re: Martial arts etiquette & kids
« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2012, 10:31:07 PM »
1. They should let you sit in/watch a preschool class to determine if it is right for your child.


2. They should have a trial period to see if it is right for your child.


3. Talk to the other parents or even teachers about the school's reputation. When I was in San Angelo there were two studios.  Studio 1 - heavy handed Christian fundamentalism, there were  a couple of kids this || close to being referred to CPS due to repeated black eyes and other injuries until we found out they were from sparing, the kids regularly got into fights (not sparing - fights) Studio 2 - Kids rarely had any injury, no pushing of religion, only one student from that school ever got into a fight at the school where I worked. A bully (from the other school) put his hands where they didn't belong on a 6th grade girl. She literally kicked him down the hall (one side kick sent him several yards). He was suspended. His parents tried to press charges - the deputy told them to drop it or he was arresting  the boy for scrabble related assult..
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o_gal

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Re: Martial arts etiquette & kids
« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2012, 07:52:32 AM »
I have a very bright, very active 4-year-old son. The boy is interested in everything and has a ton of energy. Unfortunately, this manifests itself at times as being generally antsy and difficulty sitting still. (So said his pre-K teacher.  :P)  Over the summer, a lot of that was directed to a local children's sport program. The winter ... is going to be very long.

I'm looking at martial arts of some sort as a possibility for that energy, as well as a way to help convey more of a sense of discipline. I believe he has it in him, but it needs a focus. (He's also very athletic for a preschooler!)

My DS has been taking TKD for about 2 years now. He got started "late" at age 10 - a lot of kids start in pre-K. They are so cute! DS is now a brown belt, which is a senior rank. The kids earn different colored stripes for demonstrating different skills, and when you earn your red stripe, you are ready to test to the next level. They get really excited about earning those stripes.

The studio he goes to has a list of 10 principles that the kids pledge to follow. These emphasize self-respect, respect for others, discipline, etc. The teachers really emphasize self-control, and they want the kids to be able to use their skills in self-defense, but only if needed. There is sparring, but it is non-contact, and it emphasizes blocking the other person. Sometimes the kicker gets a little enthusiastic and the block doesn't work, but I've never seen anyone gets hurt - usually the kicker just apologizes for the hit/kick contact.

The classes do a lot of running and kicking. Tae Kwan Do means "the way of the hand and foot" and there is a a lot of kicking. It's a great way to burn off energy.

BabyMama

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Re: Martial arts etiquette & kids
« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2012, 08:13:24 AM »
Ooh, I will be watching this thread closely. This is exactly the situation I'm in with my 5 year old DD. She's incredibly active, and "group" activities (gymnastics, dance) haven't appealed to her as much as sports with more personal goals in mind (swimming, skating), and we're looking into starting her in tae kwon do. And she needs something to keep busy...or I'll go insane  ;)

elephantschild

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Re: Martial arts etiquette & kids
« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2012, 11:02:22 AM »
Oh, BabyMama, sounds like me have a lot in common with DD and DS. :)

Thank you. I'm looking into a trial program at a local studio, but I need to first call and see what the cost is after the trial program. :P (I hate when places do this. I'm not signing DS up for a free trial unless I'm positive we can afford it after the free period, but they don't put the cost on the website anywhere!)

I just know that many studios have some expectations as far as bowing, etc., but as long as they're patient with the little ones (and parents) learning, I'm good with that. :) Heck, I might even join up myself if I get a good feel for the place. It's something I've always been interested in.
"But there was one Elephant -- a new Elephant -- an Elephant's Child--who was full of 'satiable curtiosity, and that means he asked ever so many questions."
-- "Just So Stories," Rudyard Kipling

StuffedGrapeLeaves

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Re: Martial arts etiquette & kids
« Reply #7 on: November 27, 2012, 11:09:15 AM »
I'll be watching this thread with interest, too, since my DS is in the same situation.  He's also 4 and very active. 

Does anyone have any opinions on what kind of martial arts would be best?  I know we have several different ones in our area.

One Fish, Two Fish

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Re: Martial arts etiquette & kids
« Reply #8 on: November 27, 2012, 11:39:27 AM »
You might want to check with your local YMCA.  Many of them have martial arts programs.
I'll get there.  Eventually.

Virg

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Re: Martial arts etiquette & kids
« Reply #9 on: November 27, 2012, 01:15:41 PM »
For costs and commitment, a phone call or visit is miles better than reading a web site or an ad, because many places can tailor programs to what you can afford in terms of time and money and you'll get a bit of face time with the teacher(s).  As to actual dojo/dojang etiquette and the rules, they'll teach the kids that and I've never encountered a school yet that was bad about it with little kids.  The school will tell you what's expected in terms of dress code and basic practice, which is likely to be on the level of "get a basic uniform and don't wear shoes on the mat".  He'll learn it reasonably quickly and any place that regularly runs classes for little ones will know what they can handle.  Find a place that's in a good location and sit in on a young kids' session to get a feel for the place, and you'll be able to pick a good spot for you and your son.

Virg

Slartibartfast

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Re: Martial arts etiquette & kids
« Reply #10 on: November 27, 2012, 05:53:47 PM »
Definitely take the time to go in person (with or without your child) and get a feel for the studio.  The type of martial art doesn't matter as much as the philosophy of the person teaching it - some teachers are ex-bullies who never understood that hitting things shouldn't be a problem-solving solution, while others genuinely love kids and love teaching and want the kids to get the emotional benefits of martial arts as well as the physical ones.

Also be realistic about your level of commitment - the biggest school in town here (the one that advertises all the time, at least) hooks new families with a free uniform ($$$ value!) but then requires the student to sign up for a full year right off the bat after the one trial lesson.  Many students come a few times and then quit, but the parents are stuck paying for the whole year.  Try to find something that will let you start with a lesser commitment (by the semester, by the course, by the class, etc.) and work your way up.

Hawkwatcher

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Re: Martial arts etiquette & kids
« Reply #11 on: November 27, 2012, 11:06:03 PM »
Definitely take the time to go in person (with or without your child) and get a feel for the studio.  The type of martial art doesn't matter as much as the philosophy of the person teaching it - some teachers are ex-bullies who never understood that hitting things shouldn't be a problem-solving solution, while others genuinely love kids and love teaching and want the kids to get the emotional benefits of martial arts as well as the physical ones.

Also be realistic about your level of commitment - the biggest school in town here (the one that advertises all the time, at least) hooks new families with a free uniform ($$$ value!) but then requires the student to sign up for a full year right off the bat after the one trial lesson.  Many students come a few times and then quit, but the parents are stuck paying for the whole year.  Try to find something that will let you start with a lesser commitment (by the semester, by the course, by the class, etc.) and work your way up.

I agree that you have to be careful with contracts.  You also have to be careful about other costs.  My former dojo, for example, charged for belt tests. The higher your rank, the more expensive the test.  There were also charges for participating in competitions.  The OP may want to discuss upfront any potential costs.

BabyMama

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Re: Martial arts etiquette & kids
« Reply #12 on: November 28, 2012, 08:49:57 AM »
Oh, BabyMama, sounds like me have a lot in common with DD and DS. :)

Thank you. I'm looking into a trial program at a local studio, but I need to first call and see what the cost is after the trial program. :P (I hate when places do this. I'm not signing DS up for a free trial unless I'm positive we can afford it after the free period, but they don't put the cost on the website anywhere!)

I just know that many studios have some expectations as far as bowing, etc., but as long as they're patient with the little ones (and parents) learning, I'm good with that. :) Heck, I might even join up myself if I get a good feel for the place. It's something I've always been interested in.

LOL seriously, I swear we're in the same place. The Web site for our studio is TERRIBLE. No calendars, no straightforward contact information, no "this is what you should expect", no cost information, no information on the teachers. Makes my brain hurt. I hate it when people have bad Web sites.

Adelaide

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Re: Martial arts etiquette & kids
« Reply #13 on: November 28, 2012, 11:43:25 AM »
Every studio has a different "vibe" and every place is different in terms of what it expects, but no one expects your child to walk in knowing the formalities. He'll pick them up from instruction and from emulating the other students.

Some things to do before you go in:

-Check the Better Business Bureau (if you're in the U.S. or Canada) and see if there have been any complaints or negative history. Money-related complaints can indicate that there is some sharp dealing going on with their contracts and fees.

-Search for online reviews from places like yahoo and google reviews, as well as bullshido.net.

-Look at the school's website. Here you can read instructor bios, look at class schedules, and sometimes look over preliminary and belt-testing fees. You can sometimes schedule a trial class or an appointment to take a tour through the website.

-Find out about the major organizations in the martial art you're looking at. The instructors should have a certificate or diploma from one or more of these organizations.

To ask when when you're there:

-What organizations do the instructors belong to? What is their lineage? Here "lineage" means teaching lineage. Most instructors will be able to tell you who trained them and who trained their instructor.

-What are the fees involved/how long is the contract? People are usually reluctant to tell you all of their fees, but if you press for the information you can get it. Make sure they tell you about any joining fees, monthly fees, belt testing fees, equipment fees, locker fees, etc. so you can add it all up. They may try to skirt around this question and just tell you something about the monthly/joining fee and omit the others. (This is pretty common-I'm not sure why.) Take into account that you may need extras down the road, like mouth guards and gloves.

-What kind of activities will my child be doing? How much of an emphasis is there on mindfulness, physical fitness and nutrition? I was a member of a dojo where, in the karate and taekwondo classes, there was an emphasis on mindfulness, awareness, kindness, and morality. Many dojos and martial arts don't put a heavy emphasis on the mindfulness side of things (Krav Maga involves hardly any) but some do. It depends on both the studio and the martial art you choose. For the kids at my dojo, there was also a heavy emphasis on self-defense (as opposed to just forms) and they would participate in kidnapping drills, sparring, and some punching/kicking of the bags. They also had "nutrition days" where they would learn about healthy foods as well as martial arts.

Warning Signs

-Don't get sucked into a very long contract. A 1-2 year contract is usually too long, and most places let you pay by the month, with a discount if you do decide to sign a contract. I just signed a 6-month contract and I got 10% off of the fee. I signed it because I knew myself and knew that I wanted to do it for another six months. I wouldn't sign up for the long haul until you're sure about it and you've taken one or two trial classes.

-Watch for outrageous fees. Some places try to scalp you with joining fees, testing fees, and belt fees. Even at the highest rank possible, the belt testing fee shouldn't be more than $300 or so. (I paid $35 for my level testing fees, but it differs between arts/schools.)

-If they promise you or your child a black belt up front, be wary. A place that teaches a watered-down form of a martial art is called a "black belt factory" or a "McDojo". If they're promising you or your kid a black belt in 2 or 3 years, the place isn't legitimate. It may be good exercise and may increase your attention span or help with your posture, but it won't teach you good sparring or self-defense skills.

-Be wary of people who claim to have invented an "all-new" style of anything (like "Rex Kwon Do" from Napoleon Dynamite) or who aren't certified by a major organization. Also be wary of people who are only certified in the organization that their instructor made up himself/herself (Such as "Master Bob's Fighting Association) or that has very few members.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2012, 11:49:07 AM by Adelaide »

One Fish, Two Fish

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Re: Martial arts etiquette & kids
« Reply #14 on: November 28, 2012, 11:54:17 AM »
-If they promise you or your child a black belt up front, be wary. A place that teaches a watered-down form of a martial art is called a "black belt factory" or a "McDojo". If they're promising you or your kid a black belt in 2 or 3 years, the place isn't legitimate. It may be good exercise and may increase your attention span or help with your posture, but it won't teach you good sparring or self-defense skills.

-Be wary of people who claim to have invented an "all-new" style of anything (like "Rex Kwon Do" from Napoleon Dynamite) or who aren't certified by a major organization. Also be wary of people who are only certified in the organization that their instructor made up himself/herself (Such as "Master Bob's Fighting Association) or that has very few members.
The head instructor must be at least a 4th degree black belt in the tradition that is being taught. 
I'll get there.  Eventually.