IS BEST FOR YOUR CHILD?

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1 MARTIAL ART WHICH IS BEST FOR YOUR CHILD? 1

2 CONTENTS Your child is unique How children benefit from martial arts What makes a great club? Krav Maga Taekwondo Judo Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Karate Summary MARTIAL ART WHICH IS BEST FOR YOUR CHILD? 2

3 Martial arts is a fun, exciting way for children to get fit and grow their confidence. It also gives them the opportunity to be part of a club without the intense pressure of a team sport. As a parent and martial artist I often give advice on what is the best martial art for children. After studying a range of arts for the past 20 years I know it can be tricky to find the right practice and gym for your child. To help you choose a martial art that will transform your child s skills and build their confidence, I have put together this handy guide. It will give you a better understanding of the different arts and provide you with important tips on what makes a good gym for children. YOUR CHILD IS UNIQUE In my many years of teaching I have learned that every child is different. Some walk through my door beaming with confidence, others are shy and take time to open up. With such a large range of personalities and needs, it s important to know how martial arts differ in techniques and teaching. Your child may need to try a few styles before they find one that truly helps them open up and perform at their best. There are also elements to consider such as the instructor or the club itself. Children learn best where they feel encouraged and supported so in this e-book we ll take a look at a range of factors to help you choose a martial art that will see your child thrive. 3

4 Through teaching martial arts I have witnessed so many children grow and improve in all areas of their lives. They become stronger, more confident and better at expressing themselves. It is the discipline of martial arts and the structured programs that set children on a path to positive development. Once a child has found the martial art that they love, as well as learning self defence, kicks and throws, they are also learning a way of life. The moves are a means to help the child grow and the art allows teachers to shape each little individual. These are just some of the ways martial arts help children to better themselves: Becoming physically stronger Building social skills Having a supportive environment Solving problems in self defense Having a great mentor Learning the art and perfecting it Having professional instructors Creating self-discipline through the art Creating friendships Learning the philosophy Having fun in classes Moving through the ranks to reach blackbelt status 4

5 These are all great ways to shape an individual and you should discuss them with the club you are considering signing up for. This will give you a better idea of the club and how it is structured to support the needs of young kids. Most schools should offer a free class to give your child the opportunity to get a feel for the environment before they make a longer commitment. What makes a great club? Some questions to ask: Is the team professional in their manner? How many kids are in the class? (Great schools will be booked out and have a waiting list) How long have the instructors been teaching and more importantly how long have they been teaching kids? Is the instructor a good teacher and do they have a good relationship with the children? Do they have pathways for progression or other programs to offer? The training environment - is the club full time or at a school hall? You can find great training programs in halls, however I would recommend a club that has a full time setup. 5

6 These are some of the basics that should be explored when visiting a club of any style. But before you choose a club, you need to consider which martial art will be best. In the following pages we will show you the different styles so that you can make an informed decision for your child. Originating in the 1940s, Krav Maga could be described as modern so far as martial arts go. It has been an increasingly popular choice in the last decade due to its highly practical and effective self defence teaching. While a lot of other martial arts focus on specific techniques, Krav Maga has a very holistic approach. The art teaches skills such as striking, ground work, self defence and breaking your fall. Krav Maga has a division and curriculum for kids known as Krav Juniors. These classes are practical and designed to be fun while providing children with the knowledge of how to defend themselves against strangers. Krav Maga is so highly recommended and popular with children because it encourages them to understand the true meaning of being a warrior. Classes cover humility and gratitude as well as including games and physical training. Krav Junior has a grading system that lets children feel a strong sense of accomplishment as they reach new levels. 6

7 Another wonderful system for children in the early phases of their martial arts journey, Taekwondo is a traditional art that originated in South Korea. An Olympic sport, TKD has a very strong element of competition. This aspect is evident in kids programs but is more heavily encouraged amongst adults. As children progress through the system there is always the chance that they may one day be able to compete for their state or even their country. TKD is predominantly a stand up style and groundwork (wrestling) only plays a small part. This sport is known for its kicks, so in a nutshell you could say that is the system. Often you can watch great demonstrations of kicks though athleticism, spinning and flexibility. Even though there is a large emphasis on kicking styles, TKD also has elements of punches, blocks, self defence and basic ground work. 7

8 Judo is another traditional martial art. This practice in Japan and is based on using leverage to perform throwing manoeuvres. There is a lot of groundwork and practice falling in the kids division of this sport. Judo is another Olympic event so if you hope your child will represent their country or want them to have a pathway for competition they can have the opportunity in this art. What a child can achieve in Judo will depend on their age. For younger students, the focus will be more on groundwork and basic rolls or throws. They progress in ranks and age to build on these core skills. Throws are a great way to build a child s confidence, however training needs to be done with control to prevent injuries. This is why Judo is recommended for children who are old enough to understand how to break their fall. Classes can be fun with a variety of different games incorporated. 8

9 Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a modern martial art, however it is derived from the traditional Japanese practice of Jiu Jitsu. This art takes place on the ground - it s all about wrestling. It is very different to traditional wrestling, with great techniques that are easy to learn. Kids always enjoy doing ground work and when incorporated with some games and a laid back Brazilian instructor BJJ is heaps of fun! BJJ has a small element of self defense, which involves throwing someone and controlling them. The main focus, however, is starting and wrestling on the ground. In BJJ they also have competitions - a great way for kids to implement what they have learnt in class and enjoy being part of a club environment. 9

10 Karate is another traditional style from Japan and is the classic martial art. This practice is highly traditional and holds on to all the old school beliefs. Classes are very structured and disciplined, with children learning to defend themselves with specific moves and strikes. Children who study karate have the chance to grade for new belts. Depending on the club, they may also be able to enter local, state and national sparring competitions. The best karate trainers will incorporate games that will make classes fun for children...if they re lucky they will get the chance to break a board or two! 10

11 CONCLUSION Contrary to what many believe, martial arts are not all about violence and hitting people. For children, the benefits are tenfold - they are able to learn discipline and focus while building on their skills, fitness and strength. Kids who get really involved with martial arts enjoy being part of a positive community and their confidence grows with their abilities. There is great satisfaction for children in progressing through the rankings of martial arts and in many cases there is an opportunity to continue practice well into adulthood. You might even have a future champion on your hands! In terms of practicality, learning a martial art that is focused on self defence will enable your child to stand up for themselves if they do get into a difficult situation with a stranger or bully. But really the goal should be on meeting a positive mentor, developing skills and having fun with friends. A good martial arts gym will take an interest in your child and work with them to develop their confidence, physical abilities and social skills. When choosing a martial art, decide if your child would be better suited to a competitive or a more personal practice. Make sure that the gym you are sending them to is a good fit for both of you and that your child finishes each lesson feeling excited to come back for more. MARTIAL ART WHICH IS BEST FOR YOUR CHILD? 11

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