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Author Topic: Any opinions on martial arts for kids?  (Read 1276 times)

droog

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Any opinions on martial arts for kids?
« on: December 21, 2006, 05:48:20 PM »
My daughter is a feisty little thing, and when I asked her if she'd like to learn to fight she said "YEAH!"

I have my own ideas (which are probably stereotypes derived from popular culture), but I wondered if there are any practitioners out there who have an opinion on a good introductory art for a 5-year-old.

I'm leaning towards Thai kickboxing or pentjak silat, for cultural reasons. My wife likes capoeira. Feel free to criticise these choices.
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Spike

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Any opinions on martial arts for kids?
« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2006, 06:10:26 PM »
I dunno, Droog. I think Martial arts are fine, even for five year olds. Specific styles are debateable, but largely a personal choice.  Given the feild you've offered, I'd suggest Caopeiria, in the chance that when she grows older and may be less interested in fighting, she can always chose to focus on the dance side of things....


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JamesV

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Any opinions on martial arts for kids?
« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2006, 06:21:22 PM »
I dunno, coming from the gallery of the unexperienced, if I was gonna learn a martial art, I would be most interested in one that's practical and could teach me the most useful self-defence skills. Then again, I haven't been five for a long time, that might have bored the crap out of me then.
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droog

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Any opinions on martial arts for kids?
« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2006, 06:23:17 PM »
Yeah, I thought she might like to punch and kick bags.
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Silverlion

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Any opinions on martial arts for kids?
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2006, 06:31:42 PM »
SAVATE!

Ok not really I just like it myself. I'd probably go with Kickboxing or Tae Kwon Do mostly for health aspects.

If you can find someone to teach Capoera its dance style might be useful if she chooses to go into acrobatics/gymnastics or dance, or just kick ass.
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droog

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Any opinions on martial arts for kids?
« Reply #5 on: December 21, 2006, 06:55:37 PM »
There is a capoiera association here. I've seen them strutting their stuff at festivals. It seems like lots of gymnastics, but that would be good for an active kid, I thought. Her mum did gymnastics as a kid and so did I.
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James McMurray

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Any opinions on martial arts for kids?
« Reply #6 on: December 21, 2006, 07:41:53 PM »
IMO martial arts for children is much less about the art itself and much more about the philosophy of the dojo. I'd rather my kid learn Stooges-fu from Mister Miyagi then Dragonball-Z-jitsu from Cobra Kai.

TonyLB

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Any opinions on martial arts for kids?
« Reply #7 on: December 21, 2006, 07:42:40 PM »
Well ... uh ... not to put to fine a point on it, but are you sure you want to burden your five-year-old daughter with the ability to deliberately break bones and otherwise permanently injure her school-friends?

My recollection is that rough-housing at that age (particularly certain forms of boys vs. girls) can be all part and parcel of getting socialized.  They can get away with a lot of that precisely because they have no skills whatsoever, and are bouncy enough to generally escape grievous harm.  Kit out your daughter with even the rudiments of practical self-defense, and suddenly you've exiled her from that type of rough-housing.  Either she wisely restrains herself, or else she jumps in and brutalizes someone.

I really don't know what capoeira (or, for that matter, kickboxing or pentjak silat) are teaching their youth classes.  Maybe they've toned it down to a level of general fitness that won't add a burden of knowledge.  But I'd recommend asking.
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James McMurray

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Any opinions on martial arts for kids?
« Reply #8 on: December 21, 2006, 07:46:01 PM »
I was six when I started taking karate. If the child is the type to start fights then definitely don't do it, but generally speaking it should be ok, assuming a teacher that emphasizes respect over power.

TonyLB

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Any opinions on martial arts for kids?
« Reply #9 on: December 21, 2006, 07:59:38 PM »
Quote from: James McMurray
I was six when I started taking karate. If the child is the type to start fights then definitely don't do it, but generally speaking it should be ok, assuming a teacher that emphasizes respect over power.
Oh, hey, a test case!  James, would you satisfy my curiosity (particularly as my eldest son is coming up on this age himself) and talk a bit about how you viewed the rough-housing I talked about, given the skills you'd picked up?
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Nicephorus

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Any opinions on martial arts for kids?
« Reply #10 on: December 21, 2006, 08:12:18 PM »
For some kids, 5 is a little young.  The main thing is that they have to be old enough to pay attention and do what they're asked without goofing off.  

The style wouldn't be important as finding a school/teacher who has experience teaching kids and whose outlook is compatible with yours.

James McMurray

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Any opinions on martial arts for kids?
« Reply #11 on: December 21, 2006, 08:36:43 PM »
It didn't really cross my mind much. When we wrestled I'd sometimes to a hip toss or something, but for the most part I was just like the rest of the kids.  Of course, it wasn't some sort of intense training camp of how to brutalize your enemey, the classes were extremely focused on self defense. My sensei knew that kids needed a chance to use this stuff though, so we usually sparred a little each week. It gave us a chance to practice with people that knew how to fall down instead of looking for bullies on the playground.

I may not be a typical case though. I went to my uncle's dojo, although I never learned from him directly. I'm not sure if it was because our classes didn't mesh up or if he was avoiding a conflict of interests. If I had to wager I'd say the latter.

In any case, my dad knew from years of my uncle's experience that my sensei was good with kids and knew exactly how to teach them. When I go looking for a class for my son I won't have that benefit, so I expect to interview quite a few senseis and then spend some time watching them teach kids before I pick anyone.

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Any opinions on martial arts for kids?
« Reply #12 on: December 21, 2006, 09:44:55 PM »
Quote from: TonyLB
Well ... uh ... not to put to fine a point on it, but are you sure you want to burden your five-year-old daughter with the ability to deliberately break bones and otherwise permanently injure her school-friends?


Any kid can do this by default.

On the other hand, any legitimate formal training in self-defense includes valuable lessons on the proper use of force.
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James McMurray

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Any opinions on martial arts for kids?
« Reply #13 on: December 21, 2006, 10:17:41 PM »
Damn straight. If they're only being taught what to do and not when to do it, the teacher is bordering on the criminal IMO.

fonkaygarry

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Any opinions on martial arts for kids?
« Reply #14 on: December 21, 2006, 10:20:32 PM »
Capoeira would be a lot of fun for a little kid: loads of dancing and spinning and movement.

Something like judo might have a lot of use later in life, should she get interested enough to make her study lifelong.

Combat Sambo, Piper and 52 Blocks would be just dandy for making her into a pint-sized, preteen assassin. :D
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