What Is Martial Arts?
Martial Arts- 'a collective term for grouping fighting disciplines from the Orient'- Martial Arts not only provides an outlet for excess energy for all ages, but has the ability to develop self-confidence, respect and integrity, whilst learning the skills to protect themselves.
A majority of Martial Arts taught in today's society are methods of self-defence and, ultimately directed towards avoiding conflict through self-control, self-discipline and improving self-confidence. Many kids may think that classes are an opportunity to learn how to 'kick butt', but it is the quiet opposite!
Ronald Bergan, business owner and Head Instructor in Port Stephens, holds a 3rd Dan Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do. He aims to teach all ages whilst one learns how to respect themselves and others, whilst shaping themselves into being good citizens.
VARIOUS MARTIAL ARTS STYLES
Martial arts comprise of a number of styles, and the list grows longer each year as new styles are developed. Developed in Korea, Japan and China each martial art name has a name that is significant to its history, development and objectives.
All Martial Art Styles aim to teach mind-body disciplines, therefore when choosing the best one for your child; one must consider the physical aspects of each. There are six categories generally considered best for your child, these are Tae Kwon Do, Karate, Judo, Jujitsu, Aikido and Kung Fu.
Tae Kwon Do developed in Korea and name translated means "the way of the foot and fist" This style relies heavily on striking and fancy footwork to keep opponents at a distance it is also famous for its high kicks. Tae Kwon Do became a National sport in 1955 and is now the world's most popular martial art in 186 nations to date it officially became an Olympic sport at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. If your child has a competitive nature, Tae kwon Do may be the sport you are looking for.
Deciding if your child is old enough to begin martial arts, can be determined by three simple things, if their attention span is well developed, know the difference between right and left, and can stand on one foot. At Him Do Tae Kwon Do Academy, classes start at 4yrs, but determining if your child is ready all comes down to an individual's development. Junior Classes offer basic skills such as co-ordination, motor skills and how to follow directions.
Martial Arts draw mainly on development of technique rather than power; therefore it is a great sport for both genders rather than a singular gender.
Kids with special needs:
Martial Arts have the opportunity to strengthen all of your child's body parts, including the most important part, the mind. Therefore children with special needs, including ADD/ADHD, martial arts are for them. Through controlled skill, technique and discipline, the mind and body of one child can be guided and developed to help with the short attention span of today's children. Tae Kwon Do and other styles martial arts schools are structured acting as a great stabilizing influence on all ages.
CHOOSING A MARTIAL ARTS SCHOOL
How do you choose a Martial Arts school that is right for your child? Like anything else, one must do some research, ask questions and visit schools convenient located around your home, seek one that offers the right training program, time and price.
How do you feel about entrusting your child to the instructor? Learning about the instructor's qualification and the school's development can help you to develop this trust. Visiting a school and watching how the instructor works with the children, talking to other parents and students and asking relevant questions allows you to find the appropriate instructor. You are looking for instructors with plenty of patience. Do the other students pay attention when he or she speaks? Does the instructor seem to have control over the group? Ask how the instructor addresses self-control, conflict resolution and issues in respect with children. You need to make sure that the school offers good safety precautions, space and equipment. The classroom should be clean and well maintained with a smooth flat floor and adequate padding for kids.
Price of Instruction: Martial arts schools rarely advertise their price for instruction in the phone book or in the local papers. Training fees varies from a monthly, yearly basis or even per class or week. In some cases, family package deals are offered. There are instructors who charge as little as $50.00 per month, and others that will charge this or higher for just one lesson. After a bit of research you will be able to determine what a fair is and manageable price is for yourself.
IMPORTANT POINTS OF CONSIDERATION
We all know the saying "Let the Buyer Beware", and this is just as important when choosing a sport for your child. After research, consider the below points when making your decision about choosing martial arts for your child:
Karate- originates from Okinawa, Japan and means "empty hand". A sport that focuses on a lot of punching, blocking, throwing and kicking, karate stresses defensive moves with the use of weapons.
Judo- originates from Japan, judo emphasizes on wrestling-type movements, placing great emphasis on moral and mental development through competition. Much like wrestling, points are assigned to competitors based on the successful execution of techniques, pins and opponent control this style is in the Olympic sport. Judo is a very physical sport.
Jujitsu- originates from Brazil and means "compliant art" a well -rounded style that features lots of sparring and weapons training, jujitsu is one of the oldest styles of martial arts.
Aikido- originates from Japan and means "way of harmony". This style uses an attacker's movements against him. This deeply spiritual style strives to teach how to disable the attacker without causing him serious injury.
Kung Fu- originates from China and means "well done". Kung Fu is a generic term for hundreds of Chinese fighting arts.
MMA- Mixed Martial Arts Is a modern martial arts that has evolved from a combination of all the arts and heavily transformed into "cage fighting", as an Instructor and parent I do not recommend this sport for children to partake or observe.
IS MARTIAL ARTS RIGHT FOR YOUR CHILD?
An alternative to team sport: Martial Arts provides a way for a child to be a competitor without the aspect of being involved in a team sport like soccer, league or netball. They will develop not only physical skills, but also mental development in terms of concentration and memory.
Safer than other activities: Studies have shown that participation in a well- run martial arts school is far safer than most other physical activity your child is likely to be involved in. Children are always showing up for class with injuries they've gotten in another sport.
Confidence Builders: Some kids begin martial Arts with self-confidence problems, because they are small and fragile or being bullied, they quickly begin to look and feel more confident with themselves through the development of this sport. Martial Arts training can even be an introduction to good manners, respect and lifelong skills.
Working out the aggression: another advantage of the martial arts disciplines, according to instructors, is that they discourage aggressive behavior outside of class. Children who "bully" others often have self-esteem issues, martial arts aims to help strengthen self- confidence and respect.
WHO CAN PARTICIPATE?
Instructor/school credentials: it is easy to purchase a "black belt" from any martial arts store. When you consider that, credentials of an instructor and the school are very important, a phone call to the appropriate headquarters of the style of martial arts will verify the instructor's rank and background also relevant questions regarding the martial art school insurance should be answered.
It is true that practicing martial arts can help the most aggressive child; it is most important to note that some schools, however, are less effective than others at emphasizing the importance of self- discipline and respect for your opponents, so parents should talk with the potential instructors and observe classes to see how aggression is handled.
Lastly, as in any sport, the most dangerous children are the ones who have not learn't how to control their bodies and their minds and acceptance of rules in society. These things will come with good instruction and discipline through guidance, protective padding and instructors supervisions is heavily required throughout martial arts especially when partaking in sparring.
Good Luck to all those who try Martial Arts because it has the ability to change your life.
For more information
Head Instructor- Him-Do Tae Kwon Do Academy