Youth sports: Martial arts - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Youth sports: Martial arts

Updated: April 4, 2012 03:50 PM EDT
© / Quavondo Nguyen © / Quavondo Nguyen

By Vincent Daly

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More than any other contact sport, teaching children Martial Arts must be given careful consideration.

Although a kid will learn self-defense, she will also be taught skills to effectively injure someone. Therefore the student bears a huge responsibility which requires discipline, respect, and humility.

With a myriad of schools offering a variety of techniques (i.e. Wing Chun, Karate, Tae Kwon Do, MMA, etc.), one will also need to consider which style provides the best fit for a child.

Lastly, seeking out a quality instructor remains pivotal since that individual will leave an enduring impact on a kid's martial arts training experience.

Where to begin the search?

If you're already enrolled in a martial arts program then asking one's instructor for recommendations would be an obvious choice. If not, then it makes sense to ask other parents and friends for their advice as well as tapping into social networks such as Facebook and Twitter.

Also consider investigating local family oriented publications since they're usually filled with all sorts of advertisements for recreational activities. Besides, it's not uncommon for martial arts schools to offer tuition discounts throughout the year.

You've picked out a few schools, now what?

Make the time to visit each school and attend a class. If you can, do so unannounced to get a more realistic view of what to expect. Then if you're still interested, make an appointment to have your child view the class as well as participate.

If all goes well speak to the instructor in depth afterwards to get a feel for him or her as a teacher. Most schools require signing a year long contract and will often pressure parents into making a commitment. Don't cave. Instead go at your own pace. Especially if you'd like to view more schools before making a final decision.

Your child's ready to join but are you?

Participating in a martial arts class takes commitment from both the child and the parent in terms of time, energy, and cost. Parents should expect to work closely with a child's instructor to achieve optimum results. Seeking out a school that offers a flexible class schedule will benefit everyone.

What's the bottom line?

A good martial arts class is more than a recreational sport, it's a way of life. Take the time to choose wisely and be flexible enough to try different martial arts before finalizing your choice.

Additional Resources:

What is Wing Chun Kung Fu?

What is Tae Kwon Do?

What is Karate?

What is MMA?

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