Kids Kung Fu – How to Begin and What to Expect
Lots of parents want to enroll their children in Kung Fu for kids. These reasons range from improving coordination to self-defense and providing mental structure. The benefits of learning a martial art early in life include better physical health, emotional stability, and self-esteem.
Some parents know exactly when they will enroll their child and in what school. But other parents worry that their child is too young to begin training. The sheer variety of styles makes it somewhat overwhelming. But with a little forethought and planning, parents can avoid most of the pitfalls that people get bogged down in.
Kids can start early
Martial arts are more about keeping the body fit and the mind sharp than they are about throwing punches. Styles like Tai-Chi and Aikido won’t do much in a fight but promote a balanced lifestyle. Balance is a key principle in eastern martial arts like kung fu and general healthy living.
Kids don’t have to be teens before they can practice martial arts either. Children as young as 4-5 can begin training and learning the principles of their school. It isn’t until they are closer to 8-10 before they are ready to begin contact elements like light sparring.
Early classes should include activities like stretches, jumps and rolling. Mostly fun exercises with some of the martial art’s principles mixed in. Some kung fu for kids also teaches combat forms or katas to young students. These are solo drills that get muscles used to moves needed for the style once old enough to spar.
Kung Fu for kids is popular and diverse
There are hundreds of styles of Kung Fu for kids available in schools across the world. From Singapore to Cincinnati, parents everywhere love giving their kids the opportunity to put down the electronics and get some exercise. It is especially helpful for children with attention disorders and excess energy because of the structure and physical nature of the activities.
Classes should use a format with enough stability for kids to understand what comes next but have enough variation to keep things fun. Little children naturally have short attention spans so good instructors maintain momentum and encouragement throughout the lesson. It’s important for parents to remember that it’s less about getting things right than it is about being active and in the right mindset.
Most cities in the United States has a number of options for parents to choose from when it comes to specific style. Tai Chi, Taekwondo, and Aikido are some of the most popular options for younger students. There are even a number of mixed martial arts schools tailored to teens and preteens. These programs limit the contact and require additional safety equipment in an effort to minimize injury.
Find the right program in 4 simple steps
It’s tough entrusting your child to another person. It’s even harder when you worry about the lessons they are learning. But with a little research and effort, many of those fears evaporate. There are a few simple steps every parent can take to ensure their child gets the best physical education possible.
Check instructor qualifications
Take the time to find out where the instructors earned their certifications and have taught before. Then contact those schools and ask about them about the instructor. They can let you know if the person actually learned what they say and can offer insight. If the school hasn’t heard of the instructor, it should set off warning bells.
Great instructors cultivate a long history of success and engage with local communities. In addition to the schools they have trained at, check out what the other people in the community have to say about them. Beware, anyone that other people in the community dislike or only have negative things to say. There are too many amazing teachers willing and able to teach your child.
If you still have a lingering suspicion of the school, you can sit in on a class or two. Watch them teach a class and ask the other parents about the school’s methods. Follow up with your child as well after class about how they felt about it. They should have fun but also be tired and overall enjoy the class, even if there are some parts they didn’t like as much.
Check space and safety
Students need enough space to roll and kick without bumping into each other. It takes space to move around and work up a sweat. The dojo should have enough room for children to perform activities without knocking over equipment or each other.
On top of having enough space, the gear also needs to be in good condition. Fighting pads and mats take a lot of abuse over time. This equipment is designed to last longer than normal but won’t last forever. Avoid pretty much any dojo or school operating with compromised equipment.
Another key part of safety is ensuring the school is located somewhere you feel is safe. Martial arts should be a liberating and safe experience, not a dangerous one. Make sure the area around the dojo or school is lit up at night. Cameras or other surveillance equipment adds another level of security and accountability.
Ensure their values align with yours
Every school of martial arts has a slightly different code of conduct. There are styles designed for maximum destruction and others for maximum zaz. Styles like Aikido and Taekwondo are great for kids because they focus on leverage and kicks respectively. But styles like BJJ and Krav Maga are dangerous and brutal so are less appropriate for children.
Just because some styles have more risk than others doesn’t mean kids can’t learn them. Every martial art comes with an element of risk. But the benefits often outweigh those risks, especially when it comes to promoting physical health. But you and your child need to be comfortable with the level of risk before enrolling them in any classes.
Once kids are enrolled in classes, there is always the opportunity for competing. Competition is an amazing way to learn your limits and encourages many to step up their game. But it can bring out the dark side of other people.
Check prices and schedules
Kung Fu for kids come in just about every income level. Low-income classes are often available at a community center or community college. While posh dojos might offer individual training or have options that set them apart from the rest of the pack. Some kids kung fu schools charge a premium but only provide the classes your child might need or want at an awkward time.
Well known schools are great but may require extra accommodations in order to get the most out of the classes. Competition teams often require training early in the morning and late in the evening for months at a time. Someone has to get the children to and from class and especially late or early classes may be too much for some. Think twice and be honest with yourself before agreeing to more than you can reliably do.
Finding the best balance between cost, convenience and options can be tough. There are a lot of factors that go into deciding on a school of kung fu for kids. But taking the time and energy to find a good fit pays off in the long run. The benefits to physical and mental health from learning a martial art lasts a lifetime.
http://blog.activityhero.com – Sarah Antrim – Kids’ Martial Arts Classes: A Parent’s Guide
https://breashaolin.com – Unattributed – Ten Reasons Kung Fu Is Great For Children
https://www.afpafitness.com – Laura Saunders –