Frequently Asked Questions About Children’s Martial Arts Programs
We’ve compiled some of the most frequently asked questions and answers about children’s martial arts programs. Take some time to get more informed on kids martial arts and remember we’re here to help, so feel free to reach out too!
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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.
What’s the most important thing I can do to prepare my child for the first martial arts class?
Start with positive expectations. If you express to your child that you believe they can do something, they will probably think so too. Keep in mind that your positive expectations need to be age-appropriate and attainable, which is where we’ll come in to help. Our instructors understand the importance of the steps involved in learning, and will encourage and instruct a child while reinforcing the benefits to learning. Our instructors are trained to meet the needs of each individual, as well as how to reinforce proper development and behavior with little or no disciplinary action. We've established a positive atmosphere that makes learning and growing fun.
Do the instructors understand how to teach children?
Our children’s program instructors are professional, full-time instructors dedicated to the needs of your child. They've all been certified as children’s martial arts instructors—
Explicitly age-specific martial arts, not just martial arts in general. We provide curriculum resources to parents, and all of our classes are planned in a structured way so instructors, parents, and students know what to expect and are set up for success.
What are the qualifications and martial arts ranks of the head instructors?
Rank is important, as it can be a good indicator of both martial arts ability and teaching experience, but don’t stop there. The head instructors at Dragon Gym have 4th, 5th, and 6th degree black belts and rigorously certify all of the other instructors. All of Dragon Gym’s instructors are not only proficient in martial arts, but also with teaching. They understand the different visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learning styles that students may have, as well as how to teach to a child’s physical, intellectual, emotional, and social stage of development. All of our instructors study several martial arts disciplines in order to become more well-rounded teachers.
How are the martial arts classes split up? By age? By rank? Are adults and kids in the same class?
Most martial arts schools throw every age group into the same class. The result is total chaos After consulting with top experts, we know that kids develop different skills at different ages. A 4-year-old, a 7-year-old, and a 10-year-old are miles apart! They need classes specific to what they can handle, and that is exactly what we offer here. Based on child psychology and neurology, we split kids up into four specific age groups, so your child gets exactly what he or she needs to truly flourish. Classes are smaller, calmer, more focused, and more FUN!
How much do the martial arts programs cost?
Choosing a martial arts program and instructor isn’t just about location, class times, and costs. There’s a lot more to consider when thinking about which school is the best for you and your children. Not every martial arts school or program is a good match, as some may emphasize things that might be unimportant to you.
Sure, price matters, but it’s not the only thing that’s important to you. Once you’ve decided that learning and practicing martial arts is essential for your child’s development, health, and happiness, you’ll want the very best results for a price that’s fair.
On your first day here, during the orientation, we’ll give you a full information packet with a complete list of our pricing and programs.
What if my child has never done martial arts before?
Our classes at Dragon Gym are designed to be the perfect place for beginners. As you will notice once your child starts their classes here, they will often work with fellow beginners as well as students who have been with us for a while. This allows them to feel comfortable in classes, as they are not the only beginner, and it also allows them to learn by modeling the behavior of the higher-ranking students.
As white belts, beginners learn discipline, respect, and precision from watching the higher belts. Like sponges, they absorb information through a sort of observational osmosis.
Surrounding white belts with fellow students who are beginners, as well as more experienced students allows for not only intrapersonal learning (solitary—intrinsic motivation and self-study), but also 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); and kinesthetic learning (learning via physical interaction and stimulation), among others.
Additionally, our more experienced students learn by setting examples for our beginners and through 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.