MA for kids/teens

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MA for kids/teens

Postby everything on Thu Apr 20, 2017 10:44 am

We all seem to like IMA (or not). Either way, very often it seems to be for technical reasons. A long time ago I thought self-defense was most interesting, then later sport/fun, now more recently health/"art" considerations.

However, if you were recommending or evaluating classes/schools for kids/teens, where self-defense and technical considerations are probably NOT a primary consideration, how would you go about this process? What would you consider? For example: fitness, fun, discipline, focus, earning belts or badges, peers are there, sports or non-sport, drive time, fees, camps offered in summer, friendliness, youth-orientation/family-orientation of school, etc., etc.

Posted in OTT because it's not IMA or "request a teacher".
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Re: MA for kids/teens

Postby Steve James on Thu Apr 20, 2017 11:13 am

Fun and fitness. If you make them do it, it's for you, not them. Whatever activity they enjoy, gets them in shape, and they will do without being forced is the one. Of course, if the child is part of a family of martial artists, it's more complicated.
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Re: MA for kids/teens

Postby everything on Thu Apr 20, 2017 11:50 am

Steve James wrote:Fun and fitness. If you make them do it, it's for you, not them. Whatever activity they enjoy, gets them in shape, and they will do without being forced is the one. Of course, if the child is part of a family of martial artists, it's more complicated.


Good advice, thanks. Fun and fitness are important. Doesn't much matter to me what it is, but this kid could use a booster shot of the discipline, hard work, respect, etc., that most MA schools (and many sports teams) foster. If he likes one kind of MA over another, that is different. In the meantime, there is plenty of opportunity for fun and fitness: the more those are chosen, the less he needs the MA (for the fitness component), actually. Since he's quit most fitness activities, MA will be the forced activity.
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Re: MA for kids/teens

Postby Steve James on Thu Apr 20, 2017 11:52 am

I had my kids do judo, fwiw. They liked the rolling around, and it wore them out.
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Re: MA for kids/teens

Postby everything on Thu Apr 20, 2017 12:07 pm

Steve James wrote:I had my kids do judo, fwiw. They liked the rolling around, and it wore them out.


Yeah I find judo super fun. But since your point about being forced to do something is really spot on, I'm going to wait and see. It's like giving toddlers a choice. If you trick the toddler into picking between judo and karate, he may feel a sense of control and not dislike the forced thing (MA in general) as much. I'll withhold that trick for a little bit. ;D
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Re: MA for kids/teens

Postby greytowhite on Thu Apr 20, 2017 3:39 pm

Huh... so different from the considerations we had whilst I was growing up in Stockton. My mom did kempo when she was in high school and really knew how to throw a punch and made sure we did too. She put my sister and I in aikido just before middle school because of the weapons disarms. I had to use the knife disarms a few times before high school was over and the bo and bokken training was useful when I had to improvise weapons. I even made my own 4' chain whip from key rings and a good sized keychain that fit my hand well. So odd:

everything wrote:However, if you were recommending or evaluating classes/schools for kids/teens, where self-defense and technical considerations are probably NOT a primary consideration...


Put them in soccer - don't waste time on "martial fitness" crap - we slap people like that.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jh0JlR4-beY
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Re: MA for kids/teens

Postby everything on Thu Apr 20, 2017 3:44 pm

Stockton was a 100x tougher neighborhood!

We did soccer and it was good, but it just doesn't scream the stereotypical attributes about discipline, hard work, accomplishing goals, focus, etc. It's also too easy to hide - even pro players like Ozil (immensely talented, won a World Cup) get criticized for it.
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Re: MA for kids/teens

Postby everything on Thu Apr 20, 2017 6:22 pm

Went to look at karate class, and it was actually really cool. Never seen a class before. They did a bit of light contact sparring which was actually fun to watch (some spinning moves) and really made me want them to do san shou format and mix in a few throws. :D My kid didn't dislike it, either. We might do this together; don't know yet. They didn't do much more than what we do on our own, but at least they actually know their techniques whereas we just mess around (not horrible but surely rife with bad errors).
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Re: MA for kids/teens

Postby everything on Wed Apr 26, 2017 8:16 am

we went to one of Stephen Hayes' exceptionally well-organized schools next. scenario-based and kid-friendly. a gentle intro to MA even if kids (or adults) are not athletic/coordinated. more "realistic" in looking at scenarios at all ranges or with weapons (but slower motion) vs. karate was "realistic" in sparring (but limited contact, no throws/grappling/ground). lots of technical pros/cons (if seen through the RSF filter) but again, the "MA" and "self defense" and "fighting" are so far at the bottom of the list behind fitness, fun, discipline, achieving small goals/progress that add up over time, etc., that it really doesn't matter.
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Re: MA for kids/teens

Postby Peacedog on Wed Apr 26, 2017 10:10 am

I'd stick with judo or jujitsu. Both are very physical and competition opportunities abound. Also, long term injuries seem to be pretty minor outside the "fight club" type MMA circles.

I would shy away from wushu of any kind. My nephew is heavily involved in that right now and a lot of the things I see him doing with his knees and hips appear to be unhealthy in the long term.

Now if you find an old school IMA practitioner that teaches jibengung and the tendon training work properly then it might be a consideration if the kids are into it. If not, just find something sport oriented that doesn't tear up their knees too much.
Last edited by Peacedog on Wed Apr 26, 2017 10:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: MA for kids/teens

Postby Steve Rowe on Wed Apr 26, 2017 10:54 am

It needs to be a safe and well structured environment. Coaches need to be criminal record checked and child protection trained and qualified. The training syllabus needs to be broad based, child friendly, disciplined and include anti bullying and stranger danger training. It needs to deal with problems relating to their age group and synergistic to the adult syllabus so it's lifetime appropriate. If they want to compete there needs to be pathways to tournament coaching and competing.
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Re: MA for kids/teens

Postby everything on Wed Apr 26, 2017 1:03 pm

Steve Rowe wrote:It needs to be a safe and well structured environment. Coaches need to be criminal record checked and child protection trained and qualified. The training syllabus needs to be broad based, child friendly, disciplined and include anti bullying and stranger danger training. It needs to deal with problems relating to their age group and synergistic to the adult syllabus so it's lifetime appropriate. If they want to compete there needs to be pathways to tournament coaching and competing.


Thanks a lot for this advice. For some reason, I thought of very little of those factors, but for us, they are far more important than the actual art considerations (though knee/joint issues/safety are still key for us).

Peacedog, thanks. Personally I like judo (what's more fun in MA than trying to throw each other) but we won't do that for now.
amateur practices til gets right pro til can't get wrong
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