Martial Arts After School
Martial arts enrichment classes at local schools do make sense, they are convenient, they are inexpensive, they are generally fun, but if you want your child to learn to defend themselves, they don’t work. I can tell you this firsthand as we did have a martial arts enrichment program at a couple of local area schools for three years. Our students who have attended similar enrichment programs at other local schools have made comments saying what was taught, “was not real martial arts”. OUCH!
The fact is that by sheer definition “Martial” – of, relating to, or suited for war or a warrior 1
implies regular, disciplined training. A place suited for such activities. With the proper training and safety equipment, as well as personnel to ensure proper execution of techniques.
Think about the military for a minute, they have specific places to train, and sophisticated simulators that are regularly used in training. They train and practice hard to achieve a level of competency to be some of the best. Law enforcement is no different, countless classes, practice on the range. This is not entertainment, it’s a way of life. It’s not much different in martial arts training.
So before you sign your child up for Martial Arts Enrichment at a local school ask yourself this question:
What do I want my child to get out of this?
- If self-defense or self-protection is any part of the answer, find an alternative. Well developed, traditional programs with specific curriculum are your best bet.
- If it’s to see if they have an interest in martial arts, that’s fine, just know what they will learn does not translate well to regular classes.
- If it’s something different for my child to do then go right ahead.
If you are serious about equipping your child for their future, they need activities that teach them discipline, respect, focus, perseverance, humility, and loyalty. There is no better way for a child to learn this but through martial arts training. BUT it’s got to be the right program, interview as many schools as you can. Observe a class. Pay attention to not only what they are being taught, but how it’s being taught. Are the students seated during class? Find out why. Are the classes only 30 to 45 minutes? Find out why. Are the instructors invested in the style. Find out what training in the style means to them. Can they explain the history of the style? Be wary of, “just a Blend” of this and that.
Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of fine martial arts schools that do this sort of thing, have done it for years. This should be about finding the right martial arts school for your child. The “right” school will make a positive impact on your child and their future success.
1 Merriam-Webster Online