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MarkInMD
12-01-2010, 01:10 PM
I notice that some of you have your kid(s) in karate or tae kwon do programs. Both of ours also do this (the older one in a mainstream class where he's a blue belt, the younger in a "Little Dragons" class). I'm curious to know why other people chose this as an extracurricular activity. In our case, we recognized some gross motor problems early on with older DS and thought TKD might help him, which it has. Younger DS got involved because, well, he wants to do everything his brother does. Anyone else have the same reason? What was your motivation for trying karate?

I've also noticed at the dojo we attend, there are a fair number of homeschoolers. At least two of the younger black belts are/were homeschooled. Anyone else see this as a trend at their karate schools?

dbmamaz
12-01-2010, 11:39 PM
I actually started when my special needs teen was 7 and got suspended from the aftercare he was in. This place offerred after care with martail arts classes and picked up from our school. My daughter liked it too and i was incredibly impressed with the school, esp how they handled my son, who was not yet diagnosed but a real handful. we stopped after a while because it didnt fit our life at the time. My older son tried baseball and my younger tried soccer, but neither did well in the team environment - even tho my older was in a specail needs league and the younger was through the Y (not competitive).

I contacted this school again when I started home schooling, and they were considering starting a home school program - one of the other locations had one. finally it got started this year and we are loving it - its for the whole family - right now we have 3 moms and about a dozen kids, and it meets 12-1 M-W, plus extra training session on saturday.

MarkInMD
12-02-2010, 04:45 PM
That's cool that you were able to find a place for him as a special needs child. I see a lot of special needs kids in the Little Dragons classes -- mostly somewhere on the high-functioning end of the autism spectrum and even one with mild cerebral palsy, so it's good to have a place for them to succeed. Like your DS, my older DS isn't much for team sports but thrives on individual accomplishment, which martial arts gives him. We have hopes for him to become a black belt in a few years, but we know it won't be easy since they're understandably strict about meeting the testing standards. I'm fine with that, though. Gives him a goal to work toward that's not just a breeze for him to achieve.

InstinctiveMom
12-03-2010, 02:03 AM
My oldest was in TDK when he was in Kinder; we tried it in an attempt to help him with self-discipline an focus - rather, more for fun at that age with an eye towards helping him find his own path to more self-discipline and focus should he continue with lessons. Ultimately, he went through a full year, got his orange belt and decided not to continue, which we supported.

It was a good experience for him and he may decide to go back in later on, but it will be his choice.
~h

Shoe
12-03-2010, 07:49 AM
We wanted our kids to take up a martial art from the time they were little. Our son had a few complications at birth that left some of his upper body musculature a bit underdeveloped, and his doctors felt that a martial art would be a good choice of exercise to develop that. In addition, I have always felt that the martial arts are good for self-discipline and self confidence and that my kids should be able to defend themselves in a fight, if necessary (as a judoka I trained with, who was also a black belt in tae kwon do, said "Become a track star first to avoid the fight, but if you can't get away, strike fast and hard with tae kwon do, but if they still get past your strikes, then you'd better know judo to choke and grapple them on the ground").

We started the kids in judo when they were little, partly because it was far cheaper than the other martial arts, but in the past few years, we switched to tae kwon do, as the distance we had to travel for class was less and the scheduling worked out better. There are a few other homeschoolers in the TKD school, but not very many. Our kids seem to like TKD better than judo, as does my wife, but I prefer the judo personally.

MarkInMD
12-03-2010, 09:27 AM
Shoe, they touch on judo a bit in the self-defense classes at my sons' dojo, although TKD is the main focus. I do see the usefulness of knowing judo techniques in case of a confrontation. The problem for Hurricane is getting the coordination down to actually do it! For kids his age, a lot of the self-defense is based around not being abducted by strangers. They even teach them to yell "Fire!" instead of "Help!" because sometimes people who hear a kid yelling "Help!" think they're just playing around with friends.

Shoe
12-03-2010, 09:46 AM
For kids his age, a lot of the self-defense is based around not being abducted by strangers. They even teach them to yell "Fire!" instead of "Help!" because sometimes people who hear a kid yelling "Help!" think they're just playing around with friends. Back when I was a volunteer paramedic, we did some community safety classes in schools alongside the local police. We were told that the reason to yell "Fire" is that everyone wants to see a fire, but that yelling for "help" (or "rape") is something in which nobody wants to get involved, based on the Kitty Genovese (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder_of_Kitty_Genovese) rape and murder case. It doesn't say much about human nature, does it? :(

MarkInMD
12-03-2010, 11:12 AM
Very true. And yes, it is a sad commentary on society.

mommykicksbutt
12-05-2010, 10:22 AM
Ahhh, Black Belt instructor here (3rd degree in International style TKD, 1st degree in World Style; 2nd degree in dituryu jujitsu, 1st degree in iaijutsu, instructor Yang Style Taichi), many, many reasons to learn and participate in the martial arts. Notice that "learn" and "participate" are separate in the previous sentence, many participate, few actually learn.

The most heard reasons I get from parents who enroll their children in MA classes is for the physical activity and the social activity of being around other kids in a different environment than school or home. Another is that the parent feels that their child needs discipline. This I hear mostly from parents who both work and don't spend time with their kids and whose kids are in public school. These kids often (as the parent states) "act out" and the parent feels helpless in knowing what to do to prevent these episodes (I can't help but think the acting out is a relationship issue). In some ways these parents are right, their children do need disciple but I feel they are approaching it all wrong. Something else I see is that these same kids need a positive role model. So these parents bring their kids to us for this. Of course we get the "I want my child to learn to defend themselves," and we teach this. What they really should want their children to learn is how to recognize potential trouble and how to avoid becoming a victim (this we teach as well).

Both of us instructors for the classes homeschool our kids (how we became acquainted with each other). About 20% of the classes here are homeschoolers. They are the real learners in the classes. They are the ones who always are ready to begin class, who answer up, and who ask questions of correct technique and practical applications (what nerve is affected and the physiology that occurs in the body to produce the wanted physical response). The public school kids (most not all) just want to play or learn to "beat people up." The homeschoolers progress faster. Not really sure why but maybe it is because they pay attention more, volunteer more in class, and take it more seriously then their public school peers. The homeschoolers are now the class leaders, out ranking everyone else in class. It is easy to spot the homeschoolers in the classes.

dbmamaz
12-05-2010, 10:41 AM
I hate these generalizations, tho. I'm homeschooling my boys BECAUSE they have significant socail and self dicipline problems. They will never be the overachieving homeschoolers. Although my 14 yo is doing really, really welll this time, and my 7 yo is not doing as badly as his older brother was at age 7.

in other news, we tested for our yellow belts yesterday. I am in agony every time I move, but the boys seem to not have noticed anything. This is driving me nuts - the first 6 weeks, after each 1-hour class I could barely move for 2 days. This 3.5 hour testing session . . . . i seriously layed down on my bed and cried after my shower i felt so awful. and they wanted us to come to a potluck and dance party that night?! I'm OLD!!

mommykicksbutt
12-05-2010, 11:46 AM
Cara, lol, Motrin helps. Also, if it helps, because of my bad knees, I can no longer do the jump or spinning kicks, yeah, I'm feeling old too but I can't let the kids (in class) know that!

MarkInMD
12-05-2010, 12:32 PM
The most heard reasons I get from parents who enroll their children in MA classes is for the physical activity and the social activity of being around other kids in a different environment than school or home. Another is that the parent feels that their child needs discipline. This I hear mostly from parents who both work and don't spend time with their kids and whose kids are in public school. These kids often (as the parent states) "act out" and the parent feels helpless in knowing what to do to prevent these episodes (I can't help but think the acting out is a relationship issue). In some ways these parents are right, their children do need disciple but I feel they are approaching it all wrong. Something else I see is that these same kids need a positive role model. So these parents bring their kids to us for this. Of course we get the "I want my child to learn to defend themselves," and we teach this. What they really should want their children to learn is how to recognize potential trouble and how to avoid becoming a victim (this we teach as well).

Both of us instructors for the classes homeschool our kids (how we became acquainted with each other). About 20% of the classes here are homeschoolers. They are the real learners in the classes. They are the ones who always are ready to begin class, who answer up, and who ask questions of correct technique and practical applications (what nerve is affected and the physiology that occurs in the body to produce the wanted physical response). The public school kids (most not all) just want to play or learn to "beat people up." The homeschoolers progress faster. Not really sure why but maybe it is because they pay attention more, volunteer more in class, and take it more seriously then their public school peers. The homeschoolers are now the class leaders, out ranking everyone else in class. It is easy to spot the homeschoolers in the classes.

I have definitely seen some of the "acting out" kids at our dojo, particularly in the Little Dragons classes -- fidgeters, constant talkers, etc. Some of that's attributable to age, since those classes are for 4-7 y.o. kids, but the instructor (who also owns the business) is really good at channeling their personalities in the right direction. But you're right in that a MA class won't solve those problems on its own. I'm glad that you instructors embrace your positions as role models. I point that out to Hurricane, too, that these people are always conducting themselves professionally and cordially, and that's what's expected of him at the black belt level, as well. He wants to get there, and I have hopes that he will. Too early to tell if this is the thing for Tornado or not, though. He likes it, but he doesn't seem quite as interested in it as Hurricane.

As for homeschooling kids progressing more quickly, I see some of that, although there are plenty of PS kids there who do great, too. The junior black belt who gives private lessons to Hurricane is homeschooled. We chose him as an instructor not just for that reason, but because he made an impression on me one night after sparring class. I was sitting next to the door for the boys' changing room, and this black belt started to open the door to go in. I'd never spoken to him before, but I noticed him stop himself, then he turned right to me and said, "How are you doing tonight, sir?" We had a brief conversation about small-talk-type stuff, and then he said, "Well, you have a nice evening, sir," and went in to change. And that's how he always is with parents. He didn't have to take that time out to talk to an unfamiliar parent, but he did. That's indicative of the values this dojo instills in its students. If they think you're there just to learn how to beat people up, they won't teach you until you embody their code of ethics, the first sentence of which is "We will never use our knowledge for selfish means." I like that. I also like that they don't make it easy. They make you earn it.

Cara, hope you're feeling better. I agree the testing sessions can get long. Fortunately Hurricane's class is relatively small, so our last one was only about 90 minutes.

dbmamaz
12-05-2010, 01:11 PM
I'm taking 3 ibuprofen at a time. Last night i had a drink too - muscle relaxant, right?!

The testing is for the whole location (we have 6 locations in this area plus some in florida and california), so thats the homeschool class, the aftercare kids, and the adults doing weekend/evening classes. Although there were only 6 adults testing, and 2 of us were homeschool moms and one was an instructor who's been with the school for a long time. But i guess this was the second testing of the school year and it was huge. There were 49 people testing, and the young adult exhibition team put on a good show in the middle.

When my husband asked our 7 yo if he felt better now that he'd gotten his yellow belt, he said that it was like getting something you didnt really want. We clarified, and he meant that he really WANTS a black belt, but this is just a yellow belt - but he understands the steps. I'm not convinced he understands the self-discipline concept yet, tho. He was corrected twice by the grand master during testing, and I think 3 other kids were also corrected, for doing something they shouldnt have been doing.

dbmamaz
12-05-2010, 01:16 PM
But I have to admit - the woman who started this home school class (which just started in september) - her kids are those amazing kind of home school kids. She tested for her blue w brown stripe yesterday and her three kids had earned that a few weeks ago at the 24 hour camp. Her youngest is right around my youngest's age, but is absolutely well behaved. He led my youngest in warming up before testing even tho he wasnt testing. i'm not sure if the girl or the other boy are older, because they are about the same size, but when the mom sometimes stays late to grapple, the kids sit quietly with their work books, and the girl seems to direct the boys. The first two are white-blonde and tight-lipped like their mom, but the other boy has a wide smile and darker coloring and is just so freindly! He was standing in during testing as a partner to a kid his size/level, and he stopped by and said hi to my older son.

My family, we just arent like that. I'll be very happy if my kids manage to support themselves and marry. we've got the brains . . . just not the health or stability or focus.

DDuckie
12-09-2010, 02:25 PM
We looked at martial arts - specifically taekwondo - for a couple of reasons. We wanted someone besides mom and dad to help teach the boys about confidence, respect and discipline. (They listen better to the instructors than to us.) We wanted some physical activity. We wanted something the whole family could participate in. (It also didn't hurt that we've known the master instructors for many years, just have never taken classes there.) It's been a tremendous help to the boys and certainly a motivator - parents have to sign off that the children are doing well in school and behaving in an appropriate and respectful manner at home. We tell the boys that we aren't going to lie to the instructors.

MarkInMD
12-09-2010, 06:06 PM
Those are almost our exact reasons, too. Like you, I've known the head instructor/owner of this dojo for a while, since we were in high school in fact (he's three years younger than me), and I even composed some music for one of his katas when we were teenagers. He still has the tape. That being said, he doesn't treat my kids any different than anyone else! But he's fair all around, so that's okay by me.

Mrs. Weasley's Wand
12-12-2010, 11:13 PM
We began karate at a studio in town in September. We are part of a homeschool co-op that is regional, not local, so while my children see those children weekly and play with our friend's children regularly too, my children don't actually have friends in our town. My primary reason for going to this particular studio was to give my kids a chance to meet kids in our town. They are the only homeschooled children in the dojo and that is fine - I've known many, many children and young adults in Karate and they are one group I feel comfortable in generalizing as being polite and self-disciplined across the three different schools and two states I'm drawing from to make that generalization. I stuck with this particular studio because there was a young girl with some pretty intensive focus issues in the class on the day I went to observe and the owner of the school handled her well, with dignity, humor, and kindness, all while making it clear she was expected to excel. My own daughter is very difficult for many people to handle. She did very well energy and strength-wise while enrolled in gymnastics, but the very young women teaching the class could not handle her so she did not learn as much as she could have and she was a constant distraction to others and a bit of a hazard as well.

My daughter just turned four a couple weeks ago and sat through her yellow belt test this Saturday. I honestly did not think she was capable of passing the test, but she remained focused and in control for longer than I have ever seen her demonstrate. My son, who can focus intently, is being directly coached on how to be a leader and be more bold. There is a 10 year old girl being trained as a teacher that my daughter will have as example to follow. The head teacher knows exactly what each of his students needs to be successful - there are many, many students with sensory needs in the school and the man is masterful at very subtly managing those needs. My kids are in a place where they are respected and are learning from someone other than myself that they are expected to express respect for other people and be in control over their own bodies. I cannot personally evaluate the quality of the martial arts my children are learning but the entire experience has been worth every penny getting sucked out of my checking account.

SnailGal
01-18-2011, 10:58 PM
We enrolled our son in karate classes a year ago (he was almost 5 at the time) and he has been going for almost a year now. He's in the Little Dragons. He enjoys going. There isn't much social there besides 5-10 minutes of playtime before the class starts (we're the first class of the day).

We signed him up because we live in a small area and there aren't many activities close by to sign him up for locally. Also to let him learn to listen to other adults besides just mom and dad and to learn self defence (I don't think he's getting that just yet, they usually just learn basic moves/forms and sparring, but that seems more of a game to the kids lol).

I'm not sure if any other people there homeschool, none of the parents in the Little Dragons I've talked to do, but I haven't talked to all of the parents either as lots start/quit often.

SnailGal
01-18-2011, 11:03 PM
We signed our son up for karate class almost a year (he was almost 5 at the time). He's in the Little Dragons class. I haven't run into anyone else who homeschools in the Little Dragons but I haven't talked to ALL of the parents so some may, just not the ones I've had a chance to talk to. We signed him up so he'd have a way to meet other kids and be involved in some kind of activity. There aren't many to choose from where we live. He enjoys it and has fun. They mostly learn basic moves/forms so I don't think he's learned much how to defend himself yet.

MamaB2C
01-19-2011, 12:17 PM
Originally TKD was the only local activity that would accept 3 year olds. So, it wasn't so much a matter of choosing it as it was taking the only option. Our area is pretty small, and there is no choice of multiple facilities, there is one martial arts school and it is TKD.

That being said, I like the tenets and skills they teach to the littles (forms and kicks and blocks, as well as life skills like focusing, stranger escape, anger management, etc), he has made some great friends, they offer classes 5 times a week for the same monthly fee (best value in town!), and he can stay there into adulthood if they remain open and he continues to like it. I like the instructors as they are encouraging and nurturing, but have high expectations for both behavior and performance. They send cards in the mail praising very specific things (like "You focused so well tonight and were a great example for the new students"), and that really makes DS proud and desire to continue to work hard.

We put him in dance and gymnastics for a few months, but the monthly fee was 10.00 more than TKD and was for only one night a week. They pushed the recitals with expensive costumes too heavily for me, the dance portion of the class was not observable, and in gymnastics he seemed to spend most of his time waiting his turn. Also, because he sits quietly while waiting, I saw other kids push in front of him and the instructor overlook him completely on more than one occasion. Lastly, he just didn't like it as much.

We did swimming lessons in addition to TKD last year and will do so again this summer. That is a necessary skill where I live, and he loves it.

Now that he is 5, he can participate in some team sports around here, but I really like his TKD academy and I don't think we'll leave.

Miguels mommy
01-19-2011, 12:50 PM
Miguel did little Dragons at a MMA school for 2 years but in that 2 year he was not able to earn a single belt. He left because although the instructor was great with DS, he was getting aggravated that DS was still not making any progress from the first day. We took him out DS had started 'picking' that wouldn't allow him to spar. We originally going to just take a break until we got it under control but have only recently happened. DS originally went for self discipline, exercise, and a healthy outlet for stress. He has recently expressed an interest to go back so we're working out the logistics now.

TamaraNC
01-19-2011, 02:08 PM
I read this thread with interest when it was first started. DD5 was agitating for karate classes. I know he's all about the cool uniform and the cool karate kicks, but that's OK. DD7 is also willing, based on a karate movie she saw where the champion was a girl. Girl power! :) None of us know much about the various types of martial arts, but after hearing about a great aikido dojo in town that has a class for homeschoolers, it seemed like the right thing. They play soccer in the spring and fall, and swim daily in the summer, but I'm looking for a bit more than just physical exercise. Goal setting and attainment, a sense of their own strength and self-worth (especially for DD), a sense of when it's appropriate to be physical with others and when it's not (especially for DS).

pootsie
01-19-2011, 03:27 PM
Our slightly unschooled boy picked out Tae Kwon Do for himself.

This is our first year home/un-schooling, and we were concerned about getting phys.ed. and finding an outlet for 9-year-old-boy energy. (By the way, if you know where we can find a hamster wheel big enough for a 9 year old, let us know.)

Martial arts seemed a natural choice, especially after we found out that the Boy had convinced his friend to pay him $5 for martial arts lessons -- based on the extensive experience that Boy had gained from watching a few martial arts movies.

We went to an Asian festival to look at some different styles in demonstrations. One of the TKD demo groups had a guy break three separate boards with one flying series of kicks, and another guy who jumped off his companion's back into a flying kick to break a board held at the top of a ladder by a third guy. Well, that was cool enough for Boy!

We found a place three blocks away -- a short bike ride through the park down teh street from our house. In December the Boy and I earned our yellow belts. I'm proud of us both. His form is really impressive, and he is learning some old-school respect that I wish I had gotten back when I was a young smart-mouth. We are working on convincing his friend to join the dojang, too!

Kamsahamnida

Batgirl
01-20-2011, 12:27 AM
We first tried TKD a couple of years ago because people kept saying it was so good for kids on the spectrum. Batman was a young five at the time. The first place we tried claimed to be supportive of kids with special needs but had no idea how to work with my son. The second place we tried had an instructor/owner who was great with Batman but was sleazy about the money--kept changing his "deals" and kept claiming to need to call his "boss" who didn't exist--he was the boss. After that we took a break from martial arts for awhile.
When Batman was younger, he didn't test out for any gross motor problems, but demonstrated weak core muscles at his last evaluation a few months ago. So, our choices were swimming, gymnastics or martial arts. Batman loves superheroes and wants to learn how to "be a crimefighter", so I signed him and Robin up for a trial month of TKD at a new studio last week. We'll see how it goes. Robin did great in Tiny Tigers, but Batman kept staring off into the distance, invaded the other kids' space, and was generally lost. He did have fun, though. We'll see if they want to continue when the month is up.

floridamom
01-24-2011, 08:42 AM
Our son did. He had been begging to take karate, and when he was 6 we found a mixed martial arts class (mixed is practically all there is in our area). He had been through 3 studios. The first one we found out wasn't affiliated with any national programs, the 2nd one was a victim of the economic downturn.

He really loved it. We thought it was great because it supposedly helps kids with ADHD to focus (it did, a bit). He quit last August, after 6 years, even though he was a black belt candidate at that point. I was getting frustrated at always having to tell him to practice, always having to push him to get ready to go to class, so I gave him an ultimatum. I told him he had one month to prove that this is something he really wants. He thought about it for a day or two, and said, "It isn't really something I want." Being a slacker American mother, I allowed him to quit. It was always his choice, and I always made sure he knew that. When he decided he was done, he was done.

OT: Last summer he fell while roller skating, and fractured his wrist. He thought it was funny that with all those years in karate, he learned how to fall. But when he actually fell, the training went right out the window.

bovinekitti
01-26-2011, 12:57 AM
We have 4 DDs and 1 DS. My DH always wanted to do martial arts as a kid but was denied his parents assumed it would make him aggressive... We chose TKD, because the ShoShou teacher I had at our previous home/town recommended it over Karate for our area (he knew both centers). Our school is affiliated with the international TKD. TKD is gender-neutral making it easier to have all the kids there on the same days and just take turns in classes (based on age/belt level). It's wonderful for self-esteem, self-control, perseverance, listening skills, respect, etc. Our kids have fun, and they are learning useful techniques for self-defense. Our TKD also has day camps where the kids do an appropriate art activity (ie: origami), eat Korean food, and learn about Korean culture, history and language. It becomes more well-rounded of an experience than just a physical one.

MarkInMD
02-26-2011, 05:37 PM
I don't know if this will mean anything to anybody else, but today Hurricane attended a seminar given by martial arts legend Bill "Superfoot" Wallace at the dojo. Unfortunately I couldn't attend, but Hurricane got to kick Superfoot! That's a good memory for him. :)

Kylie
02-27-2011, 06:42 AM
Wondering if any of you can offer advice. I'd love my kids to do a martial art.....so my first question is, which one and why?

Secondly, what do I need to be looking for in terms of the dojo and the instructors......it is all very foreign to me and I just keep hearing about how some are more physical and violent than others.

Also one of my Christian friends kids want to try, but she is opposed for fear that offending beliefs will be raised whilst in the dojo...how much spirituality is brought into the lessons?

TamaraNC
02-27-2011, 07:15 AM
Kylie, in my kids' aikido dojo, they talk about spirituality a little in terms of showing respect for the ancestors, and the movements they do are very similar to prayer (holding the hands together, kneeling, and bowing the head to the floor). It's not at all violent, however. The moves are about defense, not offense. I'm not even sure they could be used to attack someone. I don't know how a Christian person would respond. I'm guessing it would depend on the flavor of religion and whether the person is open to exposure to different ideas and practices.

MarkInMD
02-27-2011, 10:10 AM
Aikido is a very non-violent martial art. It's about redirecting an attack rather than opposing it head-on. So that could be a possibility, as could tai chi, although that's seen as more of an exercise program.

Tae kwon do does have an offensive component, particularly in sparring classes. However, at least at our dojo, the kids in the introductory class are taught the code of ethics that is to carry them through their training, which includes things like, "We will never use our knowledge for selfish means." The lesson they're to take away from that is, don't take what you learn here and go beat up your friends at school or your brothers and sisters. I have never heard spirituality addressed overtly at all except in the definitions they're required to memorize that refer to Buddhist monks and things like that. I know that the vast majority of people at the dojo are Christian and don't seem to have a problem with what is taught. In fact, at Halloween the head instructor always asks if there is anyone there who doesn't celebrate Halloween, and if there is, then he doesn't really talk about it in the introductory class remarks. So I would say if anything they're very neutral about things like religion and spirituality.

I don't have experience with anything besides TKD, but I think it's a great martial art for all ages. I've seen great improvements in Hurricane's gross motor skills (which was the main reason we enrolled him), confidence, and physical conditioning. The sparring doesn't bother him at all, because they wear protective padding on head, hands, shins, and legs, with chest protection optional. The contact doesn't get intense until you're at or close to black belt level. Bear in mind, though, that this is only one dojo's practices. If you can, I'd ask to attend an introductory or early level class to see what the instructor is like, what the style is, and if the kids seem to be enjoying themselves while still getting a physical education.

dbmamaz
02-27-2011, 11:20 AM
We do tae kwan do also. Several people in the home school class i'm going to are pretty hard-core xtians, and they seem fine with it. I would definitely visit a few studios and get a feel for it. One of the places closest to me that offerred home school classes was run by a man and his sons who were home schooled, but i got a very conservative vibe from them that turned me off.

The guy who runs our school is just a hoot - he manages to give everyone one-on-one positive attention, i have no idea how. He talks about morals in a general way - the other day he said something like, its like throwing a ball at a wall, it will ALWAYS come back to you eventually - but this was in reference to sparring, and 'accidentally' hitting your partner. We do have to bow to the flags (US, Korean, and Martail Arts World) and bow to the instructors. We have to say a sort of pledge, too "Be honest and always stand for justice. Respect and help each other. Be loyal and courteous". We have to bow to the mat when we enter, to show respect for the school, and for martail arts themselves.

I find that nothing they say offends me or seems innapropriate. But again, every school is different, so its worth talking to them and watching or attending a class - many will let you come for free for one trial class

jess
02-27-2011, 03:23 PM
Wondering if any of you can offer advice. I'd love my kids to do a martial art.....so my first question is, which one and why? Secondly, what do I need to be looking for in terms of the dojo and the instructors......it is all very foreign to me and I just keep hearing about how some are more physical and violent than others.
This answer is going to depend partially on what you're looking for, and partially on the specific dojos in your area.

While you can make generalizations about the various styles, in the end, it's going to come down entirely to the philosophy and teaching style of the individual dojo. Some are great, some are "McDojos" that are primarily out to make a profit. You really have to look at reviews of your local studios and go and visit in person, observe some classes, and talk to people.

And even amongst good, responsible dojos, it's very likely that the teaching style and focus of one will be a better match for you than another.

Just for example - some people have mentioned Aikido and Tai Chi as less/non-violent. I've taken both, and in both cases, the instructors were very up-front about the more violent applications of the techniques ("First you use their own momentum to get them under control, then you smash their breastbone like this").Nonviolent resolution was the goal, but they weren't hesitant about emphasizing that this may not be adequate if someone has their mind set on hurting you. I know there are other dojos that have a more peaceful focus, though.


Also one of my Christian friends kids want to try, but she is opposed for fear that offending beliefs will be raised whilst in the dojo...how much spirituality is brought into the lessons?
As someone else said, most Asian martial arts include bowing towards pictures of the founders of the art as part of their opening/closing ceremonies. This is a show of respect, not worship, but may appear as worship to someone observing it out of context.

Many include some form of meditation, but this is clearing the mind, and generally does not have any sort of religious/spiritual focus.

Some Christians might have a problem with the level of physical contact between members of the opposite sex that occurs in many martial arts classes, and might prefer a studio that offers same-sex classes (with women-only being more common than men-only).

Some instructors get into talking about chi as a spiritual/supernatural power rather than applied physics, which could be a problem for some Christians. There's also martial arts studios run by Christians which may incorporate some Christian spirituality into it. It's another case where you just have to check out the individual studio and see what they do.

I know a lot of pretty conservative Christians who either do martial arts or have their kids involved in it. When I was in high school, I convinced the preacher-parents of a kid I was babysitting for to investigate the local dojo by telling them basically what I said above, and they ended up sending both their kids there.

Kylie
02-28-2011, 03:16 AM
Thank you for your lengthy replies, much appreciated. I better start making some inquiries, most places offer first class free and I even saw one that offered first month free.

MarkInMD
04-30-2011, 06:51 PM
Hurricane placed third today in the age 9-10 intermediate belt group in katas (forms) at the Maryland State Karate Championships. For a kid who couldn't jump with two feet until he was well into age 4, that's pretty good! :)

I'm especially happy that he got a trophy at this point in time, because he was starting to have some doubt creeping in now that he's getting to the advanced stages. It's been a real confidence booster today. Hopefully that feeling carries over.

hockeymom
04-30-2011, 07:03 PM
That's great, Mark! Way to go Hurricane!

dbmamaz
04-30-2011, 07:24 PM
we have belt testing again next week - i dread it . .. i'm glad it went well for you guys!