What's the Best Martial Art for My Child?

This question, Which Martial Art is Best for My Child? Or,  Which Martial Art is best for children?, is something we hear all of the time.

Essentially, the asker wants to know which style of martial art is the best style for children to study and learn.  However, is that the root, the true heart of the question?

Well, perhaps not, but let's start at the top and talk about "style" in martial arts.   At a high level, there are two main branches of martial arts: Hard Styles and Soft Styles, and within these branches one may find many different subsets of martial arts.   And then of course, there are some gray areas and some martial arts could fit into both categories.

Another way of looking at style is "Traditional" vs "Sport" oriented.  For example, traditional styles might include Tae Kwon Do, Karate, Hapkido and Kung Fu; whereas, sport oriented styles would include Muay Thai, Kickboxing, Boxing, Wrestling and Mixed Martial Arts (MMA).   Again, there may be some cross over: Taekwondo, Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu could all be considered both traditional and sport oriented.

In styles like Tae Kwon Do, Muay Thai or Karate your child will be learning techniques that are generally striking (Hard Style) in nature: Kicks and Punches.  But, they will also learn some joint locks and standing grappling although this is not the focus.

In styles like Brazilian Jiu Jitsu or Hapkido you child will be learning techniques that are grappling oriented (soft style), again they will also learn some striking, but that is not the focus.

In all styles your child will learn about self-defense and develop physical fitness.

In all styles there should also be a philosophical component teaching aspects of character development like integrity, humility, self-discipline and self confidence.

How much of each of these things will be taught and what's better for children?

Well, I have seen martial arts schools across all styles that are fantastic organizations for children.

And, I have seen some schools, let just put it this way, they should stick to adults.

So ultimately, the question you should be asking, or perhaps were already thinking about asking is this:

Which Martial Arts SCHOOL is the best for My Child?

Choosing a martial arts program and instructor isn’t just about style, location, class times and costs.  There’s a lot more to consider when thinking about which school is the best fit for you and your family. And not every martial arts school or program is a good match.  Some emphasize things that might be unimportant to you.  Others may or may not have instructors qualified and skilled at providing for a special need you or a family member might require.

And it’s not all about price.  Sure, price matters.  But it’s not the only thing that’s important to you.  And once you’ve decided to learn and to practice a martial art you want the very best results possible for a price that’s fair.

And, if you need more information or…if you need or want our help we’re here for you to chat about the choice.

And we’ll tell you if our program or another is best match for you or your family.  You see we’re not for everyone.  And we turn away students who aren’t a good match. We’re interested in being sure that we can meet and exceed your needs and expectations…for yourself and/or your child or children.  If we don’t think we can, we’ll tell you.

And, before joining any program, including ours, make sure that you get a chance to see if we’re a perfect match.  Ask about their trial program and find out if it’s right for you.

It’s a complicated choice.  So, we’ve compiled this Quick Guide to help guide you through what can seem like an overwhelming process.  Don’t sign up with any gym or program until you’ve thought and asked about these factors:

What sort of facilities does the school provide?

  • Is there adequate and safe parking?
  • Is the training area safe:
  • Is it fully matted?
  • Is there plenty of room to move around?
  • Are there separate changing rooms and bathrooms for boys and girls?
  • Is there an observation area for parents to stay and watch classes?
  • Is there one-on-one meeting space where I can discuss my child’s progress?

What are the qualifications of the Head Instructors?

  • How do I evaluate their level of expertise?
  • What is their martial arts rank?
  • How many years have they been teaching?
  • Do they teach other folks who have my same needs and concerns?
  • Do they teach children?  Are they experienced with the needs of your child?
  • Have they studied several disciplines to become better and more well rounded teachers?
  • How long have they been teaching?
  • Are they professional, full time instructors dedicated to the program and needs of your child?
  • Have they received instruction and certification as teachers and not just achieved a belt rank?  You see rank is important but you can have a high-ranking instructor with little experience and training as a teacher. You probably want both.  Rank AND skilled as an instructor.
  • Do the instructors use pre-determined, writtern class planners?
  • Do the instructors provide curriculum resources to the parents?

What Sort of Programs does the school offer?

  • Does the school offer a pre-evaluation and trial program to help ensure that your child is enrolled in the best program, for them?
  • Does the school offer a structured, curriculum based belt progression system? This has been proven to help both children and adults to achieve their specific goals.
  • Does it offer well-developed and age-specific programs to meet the different needs of children?
  • Have they split the classes into a sufficient number of age-groups?
  • Will the students have the opportunity to become instructors and demonstrate leadership?
    • If so, what is the leadership development program?
  • Will the school, in addition to training them a instructors and leaders, provide recognition of that dedication and leadership when you or a child needs a letter of recommendation for school, a program, certification, or work?
  • Are there benefits to becoming an instructor?
  • Does the school teach life skills in addition to martial arts, fitness and self-defense?
  • Does the school have a robust schedule offering multiple class options per week?
  • Is the school atmosphere family oriented?

Thinking about Getting Your Child Started? Here's what to do next: 

  1. Click the button below
  2. Get access to our class schedules and intro programs
  3. Call us for a free pre-evaluation or sign up for our Quick Start Confidence Course Online

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