There are many myths about martial arts training, and the general public accepts some as fact. In the following article, I have outlined general guidelines, and precautions, for parents who are considering enrolling their child, or children, into martial arts.
Below, I have listed some common issues and questions that parents often ask about martial arts for their children. Also, you will be much more informed about the benefits of martial arts, the structure with a martial arts school, andknow what to realistically expect.
WHAT TO FOR IN A MARTIAL ARTS SCHOOL?
Safety comes as a first priority for parents who seek martial arts instruction for their children. Here are a number of key factors to consider:
Is safety equipment used when children are performing exercises and drills that require contact? This is especially important when children are sparring in martial arts.
In many martial arts schools, sparring equipment is required, or the child cannot spar. The number of injuries resulting from sparring in Karate, Kung Fu, and Tae Kwon Do is surprisingly low in comparison to many league sports.
The flooring surface should match the martial art. If take downs, sweeps, and throws are required, there should be some kind of matted poor available. Many of the state-of-the-art martial arts schools have a floor surface specifically designed for martial arts.
It makes no sense to have anyone throw a classmate on a hard floor, with the type of flooring available, as this can result in injury.
CAN PARENTS WATCH KARATE CLASSES?
Let’s put it this way, if you cannot watch your child practice karate, or any other martial art, you should find another school. I can appreciate the fact that some martial arts instructors don’t want to deal with interfering parents. This is the reason for rules and signs.
Remember the “hockey dad” incident? There are a few people who, through their own conduct, create rules for the rest of us. However, you are the parent and are entitled to see your child train in karate or any martial arts class.
Fire exits, fire extinguishers, and someone who monitors visitors, as they enter a studio full of children, should be standard features. We have three fire exits and one main entrance, in our studio, but only one door is used for an entrance.
Kids understand security because they see the same precautions in elementary school.
Paul Jerard is a co-owner and the director of Yoga teacher training at: Aura Wellness Center, in North Providence, RI. He is a master instructor of martial arts, with multiple Black Belts. He teaches Yoga, martial arts, and fitness in the greater Providence area. Recently he wrote Yoga: The Key to Self-Mastery.
Paul Jerard is a contributing writer for Martial Arts Monthly magazine.