The Dragon Gym has been offering martial arts classes to the residents of west chester, exton, and downiningtown, much of chester county really, for quite some time…over 45 years! Over that time the program has grown and evolved.
When Grandmaster Goh first opened the Dragon Gym in 1973 he taught Taekwondo, Hapkido and Tang Soo Do (but called it karate). In those days, folks were not as familiar with the Korean terms, so programs were often labeled “karate”.
Since then, the Dragon Gym has expanded to offer a variety of different programs for many different age groups. We are teaching students as young as 3 years old and have students that are still working out in their seventies!
Right now, we are teaching age-specific martial arts programs for the kids and for the adults: Taekwondo and Hapkido, Muay Thai Kickboxing, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Tai Chi, Russian Kettlebells, and Power Yoga.
I don’t want to get into the details of all those programs in the post, but I do want to address some frequently asked questions about our children’s martial arts programs.
Frequently Asked Questions about Dragon Gym’s Children’s Martial Arts Program
WHAT IS A GOOD AGE TO START A CHILD IN MARTIAL ARTS?
Of course, the answer is: It depends. I know that might not be helpful, but bear with me. The easy answer is that a child can start taekwondo or karate at any time from 3 years on up. However, the success rate of that child is going to depend on a couple of things. Why is the child interested in martial arts? Why are you, the parent, interested in martial arts for your child? Depending on your goals, starting a child at a certain age may be more appropriate. Furthermore, the type and structure of a children’s martial arts program matters. Many schools are still grouping kids together in a large range of ages. For example, in the old days, before kids tae kwon do became so popular children’s martial arts programs were just all kids that weren’t adults. Over time, we started splitting the ages more and more, generally under 7 years old and 7 to 12 years old while 13 and up are considered teens.
At the Dragon Gym we’ve taken this a step further as it is necessary for a child to get the most out of their martial arts education (no matter what the style). We’ve divided our children’s martial arts program into 4 age groups. We call them “Sharks” for 3 and 4 years olds, “Lions” for 5 and 6 year olds, “Eagles” for 7, 8, and 9 year olds, and “Dragons” for 10 to 13 year olds. These age groups were specifically designed to address the physical, intellectual, emotional and social level of development for the student in order to maximize the benefit they can get from martial arts training.
So, with a program like this a child really can start martial arts training at any age between 3 and 13! Classes won’t be too challenging or too easy, but just right. However, without an age-specific program, I would recommend starting your child at age 7. With a large mix of ages, starting any younger will lead to frustration and burnout, starting older will lead to boredom and drop out.
DOES MY CHILD NEED PRIOR MARTIAL ARTS EXPERIENCE TO JOIN YOUR PROGRAM?
Nope! Our martial arts program is completely progressive — meaning we teach the kids exactly what they need to know in an incremental and systematic way in order to get the most out of their martial arts experience, feeling challenged, but successful in each and every class. Most kids have never done any sort of martial arts before, but quickly fall in love with them!
OK, BUT MY CHILD TRAINED BEFORE, HOW WILL THEY FIT INTO YOUR PROGRAM? DO THEY NEED TO START OVER?
That’s great! You child will likely fit right in. We start all new students to Dragon Gym with a pre-evaluation. This pre-evaluation will take your child through 10 martial arts techniques that are age-appropriate. This gives us a chance to match their previous rank to the one that makes the most sense in our system.
WHAT STYLE DO YOU TEACH KIDS AT DRAGON GYM?
We actually get this question less and less these days, but we still get it. Our children’s martial arts program is rooted in a traditional Korean martial arts system (styles like Taekwondo and Hapkido). And, we now also teach the kids elements of Brazilian jiu jitsu (grappling that’s great for self-defense) and boxing. However, there’s something more important than “style”. Martial Arts can be taught a lot of ways, but we focus on developing skill sets in the children. These are things that they can use beyond the training mats. These are physical skills like speed and agility but also social skills like leadership and vision…just to name a few.
CAN WE BRING A FRIEND?
Absolutely! Actually, we found that beginners that start with a friend tend to get better results, learn more, and have more fun!
DO WE NEED TO BUY A LOT OF EQUIPMENT?
When you get started in our trial program, we’ll provide your child with the martial arts uniform. That’s all he or she will need for the first several months of training and first few belts. Once they get into free sparring, they’ll need to get sparring gear.
WILL MARTIAL ARTS LIKE KARATE OR TAE KWON DO THAT HAVE A LOT OF KICKING AND PUNCHING MAKE MY CHILD AGGRESSIVE?
No, not at all [🙂] Actually, the opposite is true. Kids that had issues with acting out, become more polite and respectful. Martial Arts teaches kids about respect, respecting others and themselves. It gives them the confidence to work through things in a calm way and it’s a great physical outlet for them.
ARE THERE ANY GIRLS IN THE PROGRAM?
Actually quite a lot. Our children’s program is about 50-50 boys and girls.
WHERE IS DRAGON GYM MARTIAL ARTS LOCATED?
Dragon Gym Martial Arts and Fitness facility is in Exton, PA. The address is 267 S. Whitford Rd, Exton PA. We are just minutes away from Downingtown, West Chester and Malvern, PA.
WHEN ARE CLASSES AND HOW DO I GET MORE INFO?
You can visit our main website for more trial information: www.dragongym.com
We offer the kids classes throughout the week. However, we start all new students with a free, no-obligation orientation lesson and pre-evaluation with one of our Children’s Program Instructors. This will give you a chance to see what Martial Arts Training is all about and give us the chance to recommend the best program for you. Just fill out the form below or email: [email protected] and our schedule information will be sent to you.