Parents who enroll their children in martial arts discover youths learn a great deal more than self-defense techniques. And the idea of an extracurricular activity other than video games and screen time can be quite appealing.
Depending on the age a parent decides is appropriate to learn self-defense, many of the core teachings are equally valuable. If you are considering signing your child up for self-defense classes, these are things to consider.
What is the Best Age for a Child to Start Martial Arts?
There is no perfect age to begin self-defense instruction. If we were to use martial arts masters as examples, many household-name people started at very different ages. Jean-Claude Van Damme started training at around 11 years old, while Texas favorite Chuck Norris was 18. Michelle Yeoh, star of the “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” film, didn’t take instruction until she was 22 years old. By contrast, Jet Li, Jackie Chan, Steven Seagal, and Grandmaster Rhee Ki Ha were between 6-8. And the legendary Bruce Less was 13 when he first entered a Dojo.
Today, many parents bring their children to self-defense studios as early as 3 years old for the purposes of encouraging physical fitness, socialization, and improved focus. And youths 10 and older typically train traditionally in the various disciplines. Parents may be best served by considering their child’s maturity and willingness to attend classes regularly and apply themselves. If you are unsure, speaking with a self-defense instructor could prove insightful.
What Do Youngsters Learn at a Self-Defense School?
There are self-defense techniques and physical fitness regimens involved for youngsters of every age. Overall, children tend to absorb the core values that are deeply embedded in martial arts. These include the following:
- Respect: The fundamental relationships at work in a martial arts studio revolve around genuine respect for instructors, other students, and themselves. The importance of respect and the role it plays in a community remains an ongoing theme.
- Self-Discipline: Minor children are too often instructed to do as they’re told without a deeper meaning. A martial arts instructor provides a complete educational picture of why discipline ranks among the highest values. Discipline helps youngsters refrain from succumbing to peer pressure and taking actions they know are poor choices.
- Confidence: Developing self-esteem may be more challenging than ever before. Minors are subjected to online bullying and cultural messages focused on short-term gratification. Few things focus on personal growth or long-term accomplishments. Martial arts allow a youngster to experience incremental achievements that blossom into higher belt rankings. School-aged children who practice self-defense also garner praise for their good manners, work ethic, and patience. These add up to a more confident person.
- Ability to Focus: Today’s obsession with electronics and screen time appears to be robbing children of reasonable attention spans. Television shows, music, and digital information are doled out in short, fragmented morsels. Self-defense classes require a laser focus on the task at hand. This can be a game-changer in terms of improved focus at school.
Achieving goals in a martial arts studio requires significant effort on the part of instructors and students alike. As a part of an organization, every member is invested in supporting each other. But each individual must put in their own work to grow as a whole person. With encouragement and support, children understand succeeding in life requires superior effort. They will take that philosophy with them into adulthood.
How to Enroll Your Child in Self-Defense Classes
It’s essential to understand that learning a martial art from a reputable organization generally ensures appropriate ethical practices accompany the physical techniques. If you are weighing the options for your child, consider your family’s values and discuss age-appropriate options with a certified martial arts instructor. For more information, contact United Studios of Self Defense in Vancouver, WA.
Contact USSD Vancouver
The United Studios of Self Defense (USSD) Vancouver offers world-class instruction in three different types of self defense and martial arts: Tai-Chi, Kung Fu, and Shaolin Kempo. We offer both group instruction and one-on-one classes to fit your schedule and instruction needs. We offer classes for all skill levels, from beginner to advanced in each of the above three disciplines. Classes are available for both adults and children.
Contact us today to learn more about our martial arts programs or to set up a time to visit one of our classes in person. Our instructors work with students at every age and stage of martial arts development and are dedicated to helping you cultivate self defense skills that meet your goals and make you feel great about yourself.
"*" indicates required fields