Common Questions About The Martial Arts and Fitness Programs We Offer
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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.
DO WE NEED TO BUY A LOT OF MARTIAL ARTS 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.
WHAT STYLE OF MARTIAL ARTS 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 muay thai kickboxing. However, there’s something more important than “style”. Martial Arts can be taught a lot of ways, but we focus on developing age appropriate 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.
OK, BUT MY CHILD TRAINED IN MARTIAL ARTS 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 8 martial arts skills and drills 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.
DOES MY CHILD NEED PRIOR MARTIAL ARTS EXPERIENCE TO JOIN YOUR PROGRAM?
Nope! Our martial arts “skillz” 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
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 “Early” for 3 and 4 years olds, “Basic” for 5 and 6 year olds, “Core” for 7, 8, and 9 year olds, and “Extreme” 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.
How do I get started? / How do I get my child started?
All of our students start the same way, with a free, no obligation trial lesson and then our Quick Start Program. It’s great for beginners with no prior experience. The quick start course includes both private and group instruction, so that new students can try out the program in a suitable environment. One of the great things about this program is that it gives us a chance to evaluate your progress and abilities while giving you the opportunity to observe classes, see the facility, meet the instructors, and learn about the benefits of martial arts and kettlebells. Fill out the form on this page to contact us today about getting started and schedule that first lesson. Every journey starts with a single step…TAKE THAT STEP!
What’s the most important thing I can do to prepare my child for the first day of summer camp?
Start with positive expectations. If you express to your child that you believe he/she can do/will enjoy something, then he/she will probably think so, too! Keep in mind that your positive expectations need to be age-appropriate and attainable. This is where we come in to help.
My child has never done martial arts before. Is summer camp a good way to get started? Will the classes be beginner friendly?
Dragon Gym's classes and summer camps are designed to be the perfect place for beginners. As you'll notice once your child begins classes here, he or she will often work with fellow beginners, as well as students who have been with us for a while. This blending of abilities allows children to feel comfortable in classes, as they're the only beginners, and it also allows them to learn by modeling the behavior of higher-ranking students. As white belts, children learn discipline, respect, and precision from watching the higher belts. It’s a sort of observational osmosis—beginners observe discipline, respect, and precision demonstrated by their peers.
Surrounding white belts with fellow students who are beginners as well as more experienced students allows for:
- Intrapersonal learning (solitary—intrinsic motivation and self-study)
- Visual learning (spatial learning—observation of instructors and peers)
- Aural learning (learning via linguistic input—instruction and command)
- Interpersonal (collaborative social learning—group dynamic and team cohesion through partner work, team goal setting, and social interaction)
- Kinesthetic learning (learning via physical interaction and stimulation)
Our more experienced students learn by setting examples for our beginners, and have opportunities to teach and demonstrate techniques for their peers. There’s a power in combinations here. Because each child learns differently, our beginner-friendly classes allow for an idealized learning environment—no matter your child’s most effective learning style.
What should I look for when trying to find the perfect summer camp program for my child?
Child psychologists state that children who maintain some sense of a structured activity during the summer, like martial arts, do better in the initial months of the new academic school year. Martial arts training through the summer reinforces a time commitment and the necessity of practice; reminds students to follow through, and gives them the progressive environment they need to reinforce skills they’re learning, which in turn strengthens their retention of academic knowledge.
Making Summer Count is a research project conducted by the Wallace Foundation with the intention of understanding how summer programs can boost learning. The authors cite the following as the most important components of a successful summer learning program:
- Smaller class sizes
- Differentiated instruction
- High-quality instruction
- Aligned school year and summer curricula
- Engaging and rigorous programming
- Maximized participation- and attendance-sufficient duration
- Involved parents
- Evaluations of effectiveness
Therefore, these components are what you should look for in a summer program, whether it’s an academic camp, a daycare camp or, even better—though I may be a bit biased—a martial arts summer camp.
When considering a successful summer martial arts program, you’ll need each of the components listed above. Classes should be smaller in summer camp, allowing for more individualized instruction. Instruction should be differentiated, or tailored, to each child’s personality and learning style, which naturally is influenced by instructor-to-child ratio.
Instruction should be high quality, meaning it must be done by skilled and highly motivated teachers.
School year and summer curricula must be aligned. This means they allow for seamless transition to, follow-through of, and connection to the previous and upcoming school year’s curricula.
Programming must be rigorous and engaging, thus yielding the goals you’re looking for! Engaging is the key word here–it has to be FUN.
Getting involved as a parent is crucial.
Maximized participation and attendance is achieved through individualized instruction, as well as the constant movement and participation provided by martial arts instruction, and finally, class time and availability.