Author Topic: Martial arts for kids  (Read 8752 times)

Offline Grasshopper2Ant

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Martial arts for kids
« on: June 03, 2010, 03:53:04 PM »
First of all, I'm not in martial arts myself, but my 5 1/2 yo daughter has been taking Tae Kwon Do for a year.  My question is what do you recommend for martial arts for kids?  We just want her to be able to get away from bad guys.  After reading the thread on punches, I wonder if the palm heel strikes that they are teaching her are all that effective.

Thanks,
G2A

Offline ehicks727

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Re: Martial arts for kids
« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2010, 04:47:44 PM »
First of all, I'm not in martial arts myself, but my 5 1/2 yo daughter has been taking Tae Kwon Do for a year.  My question is what do you recommend for martial arts for kids?  We just want her to be able to get away from bad guys.  After reading the thread on punches, I wonder if the palm heel strikes that they are teaching her are all that effective.

Thanks,
G2A

I mean no offense, and I'm not wanting to start a martial arts peeing contest here, but TKD is one of the least effective martial arts for self-defense.  It's great for teaching kids discipline and some basics like that, but not really a good fighting style.   Personally, I practiced Kung Fu, and my instructor threw everyone right into sparring, which was how we applied what we were learning.   You learned real fast that all the forms and stuff are really for practice and muscle memory.  In a real fight, a lot depends on speed.

One effective combo (and is rather unique to Kung Fu, in that it's one of the few martial arts to combine kicks and punches simultaneously) is a back fist to the side of the face while simultaneously doing a toe kick to their knee.  They pay attention to the fist and don't bother protecting their knee as you crush it and take them down.

Power in punches comes from your 'root' (the ground).  The hips are the 'transmission' so to speak and transfer the power to your arm, or whatever you are hitting with.  If you practice punches (open or closed palm) and use your arm strength to generate your power, then you are doing it wrong.

That said, open palm can be devastating, if done properly.   Pretty much anything can be an effective weapon if you have good form and are fast.  One of my instructors favorite blows was a shoulder strike!  Who would have known that you could shoulder someone and take them out?   Well, he demonstrated in class and let's just say, I'd never want to be on the receiving end of that at full force (he was demoing at about 20%)
« Last Edit: June 03, 2010, 04:51:00 PM by ehicks727 »

Offline Grasshopper2Ant

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Re: Martial arts for kids
« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2010, 07:43:49 AM »
Well, all we have in town for kids is TKD or Karate.  We are thinking about transferring her to the Karate class because they don't require a one-year contract.  Not a lot of options here.

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Re: Martial arts for kids
« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2010, 08:05:52 AM »
My question is what do you recommend for martial arts for kids?

I've trained in martial arts for 30 years.  I currently run a Mixed Martial Arts gym where I teach Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.  I have a black belt in Taekwondo from one of the big 3 orgs.

TKD is totally appropriate for a six year-old girl.  What ehicks said is true.  There are much more effective martial arts than TKD.  Problem is, those martial arts are not appropriate for 6 year-old girls.  TKD is appropriate because the TKD industry has spent two decades custom designing programs especially for kids.  These programs are tuned to the attention span, physical abilities, and teaching methods that work best for small children.

Don't worry about my thread on punching.  That thread was for adults street fighting in life-and-death situations.  The bones of pre-adolescent children are durable and flexible.  They pretty much lack the upper body strength to punch anything hard enough to break hand bones.

Taekwondo is fine for now.  Your daughter can practice something else when she turns 13 or so.  Almost all of my adult Jiu-Jitsu students practiced TKD when they were kids.  They are better for it.

Offline ehicks727

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Re: Martial arts for kids
« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2010, 08:11:37 AM »
Well, all we have in town for kids is TKD or Karate.  We are thinking about transferring her to the Karate class because they don't require a one-year contract.  Not a lot of options here.

Understood.  If I had to choose where to place my son between TDK and Karate, I would choose Karate as well.

One thing you can do is buy some pads and practice with your daughter.   Get yourself a body shield and some mitt pads
http://www.karatedepot.com/body-shield.html

Let your daughter kick and punch the crap out of you with the pads on.   It's really about muscle memory.  If you really want your daughter to be able to defend herself, then she needs to get to the point where she doesn't have to think "I wonder what this will feel like when I throw a punch or kick"... she'll just do it and not think about it because she's thrown a thousand kicks and punches and won't think twice.   Make sense?  It's muscle memory.  In a fight, you just react, you don't think.

Also, get her a sparring set.  http://www.karatedepot.com/sparring-gear-sets.html
I'm not in the habit of hitting girls (although, my instructor made us spar with girls, but I always felt bad punching and kicking them) so I don't know how you'd handle this... but your daughter needs to know what it feels like to get hit so that if she is in a fight, she isn't surprised or taken off-guard if she ever gets hit.   I've seen many girls spar for the first time and they had no idea what was coming and they just freeze up.  You don't want that to happen to your girl.  You want her to just react and counter-punch and not think about the fact that she just got hit.

So get the shields and let her kick and punch the crap out of you, and then get the pads and teach her how to take a punch.  

I have to tell you, the girls in my class that have stuck it out are very well-rounded, respectful, and TOUGH!  There were two girls in my class that kick my butt in sparring all the time (and I'm 230lbs).  They're fast and fight like cats.

Good luck!  I wish you the best and kudos to you for wanting to teach your daughter self-defense.  You're doing the right thing.

Offline donaldj

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Re: Martial arts for kids
« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2010, 11:27:46 AM »
I would keep her enrolled in the best of the two schools that you have there.

Additionally, find some seminars or videos where you can see escape techniques from grabs, chokes, and holds. If there is a self defense seminar in the area, take her and get the knowledge (this is your job while there!)

Most escapes require an atemi (strike) of some type to loosen the attackers grip or to distract. The escape is then more effective, while an additional atemi might make it harder to follow/chase. She is learning atemi well in TKD or Karate.


Once you have the knowledge of these escapes, practice them with her in addition to her going to class. You aren't going to be able to add info you get from some video or seminar to your "tool box" without repeated practice and exploration of the techniques. Try a multitude of various grabs, from various angles, and let her work them out. Once she's older, more formal grappling arts can be introduced.
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Offline madcap1one

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Re: Martial arts for kids
« Reply #6 on: June 04, 2010, 12:03:24 PM »
I am not sure that I have the same professional experience as the other commenters here, but I have been practicing various arts for 24 years, and teaching for about 14 of those.

My simplistic recommendation - put her in a class and with other students and teachers/senseis that she loves, and will continue to attend merely for the social aspect of it. No matter what sort of expertise she might develop in one style or another - its pretty much a moot point if she doesn't enjoy and internalize the lessons.

When I am dealing with children, my primary goal is to entertain and keep them coming back (and btw, I am not a professional teacher but a volunteer - so no argument that I am just extending their parents paying me to do so.) I want those kids to have a positive experience, learn some discipline, practice going beyond their mental capabilities (not in gung ho fashion, but learning the joy of mastering a challenge they had previously thought impossible.)

I wholeheartedly agree that TKD has done some fabulous work on a global scale in deliberately aiming towards younger practitioners. I started with judo and TKD at the local YMCA 24 years ago, and it instilled a love of martial arts in me, mainly because I was hanging with my buddies, and the teacher was super cool. I have never used those arts directly, but they certainly gave me a solid foundation.

In terms of specifics, when we are discussing smaller kids, I would think that the main lesson for self defense is situational awareness, and E&E if the threat demands it. This doesn't require a dojo, it requires hands on but non-hovering parents. Honey, if you feel threatened, here is how to get away, here is why you are right to be cautious (without scaring the %$^% out of her) and here is an example of my response to your actions (a big hug and a kiddie size AAR.) Show me the biggest 9 year old, with 9 years of martial arts training, and I am still going to be able to sit on the kid as a bad guy.

The above paragraph aside, there are one or two non-traditional modern arts, which would give a 9 year old the capability to injure. I would not (and do not for my nieces and nephews in that age range) advocate teaching them to children as the cognitive ability to delineate when appropriate to deploy those tactics is questionable. If we were approaching TSHTF situation in which I deemed the general public a threat as opposed to isolated BGs, I might consider doing so. Much as you folks and I feel this world is spiraling down, even living in downtown Chicago, I do not teach 9 year olds how to debilitate adults by taking out knees, collapsing trachea, and eye gouging. I read the Chicago news, the cop blogs, am aware of predators - but am still hesitant to teach kids these things. I dunno - I am an uncle and not a dad - perhaps that might be the decisive factor. I DID however teach some of these things to my sister and brother in law, if they choose to train their kids that way as parents, that is their choice... I will just continue buying the kids ice cream when mom and dad say "No sugar..." 'Cause thats the sort of crazy uncle I am proud to be.


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Offline javabrewer

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Re: Martial arts for kids
« Reply #7 on: June 04, 2010, 12:28:33 PM »
The kids who do BJJ at my gym are always having a good time and the ones who have grown into the adult classes that I take are always top notch.  The earliest my gym starts children is 3 y/o and I'll sign my boy up then.  They really don't do much at that age other than roll around and learn some of the basics but they have a good time and it sets a great foundation for their future teachings in any MA.  When they are 7 or 8 they start to get very comfortable with controlling their movement and coordination and begin to really do well.  My teacher's son is around 11 y/o and he can hold his own against the blue-belts because of his good technique.

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Re: Martial arts for kids
« Reply #8 on: June 04, 2010, 01:09:50 PM »
BJJ for kids is great, but it's really hard to find outside a major metropolitan area.

Gracie Barra is doing some good stuff with kids.

Offline javabrewer

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Re: Martial arts for kids
« Reply #9 on: June 04, 2010, 10:29:45 PM »
BJJ for kids is great, but it's really hard to find outside a major metropolitan area.

This is so true.  There are a few reasons why I hesitate to move and one of them is the availability of a legitimate gym.  A few of my trainer's studnts have opened up gyms outside of town but they aren't at the same level especially for the kids programs.  I am not trying to knock them or anything like that it's just they don't have the experience or the participation that the more densly populate  areas offer.

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Re: Martial arts for kids
« Reply #10 on: June 05, 2010, 09:53:34 AM »
BJJ for kids is so dangerous I dissuade people from it unless the kid can attend a big, franchised school like Gracie Barra, Machado, Alliance, or something like a Loyd Irvin affiliate.  These places have a good kid's program, not just a kid's class.

In TKD kids can't really hurt each other much more than a bloody nose or black eye.  Badly done BJJ techniques create severe, life-altering injuries that last a lifetime.  I know because I suffer from them daily.

There is a jerk near Dallas teaching bicep slicers to 9 year-old kids.  I don't even let my adult men do that technique until they have at least a year of experience.  Predictably, kids at that school are breaking each others' arms and going to the hospital.  It's disgusting.


Offline ridge rover

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Re: Martial arts for kids
« Reply #11 on: June 05, 2010, 03:11:57 PM »
I've practiced TKD for many years. My instructor is Korean from the old, old school. There are many misconceptions running wild, although I have heard some good points mentioned here.

About the palm heel strike. In the old times of Korea, after WWII, there was a lot of gang activity and such. My instructor and his friends put their tecniques to the test. Each would spend a night fighting with an emphasis on a certain techniqe and report. Of all techniques, the palm strike was the most effective!


TKD is taught in many flavors. My instructor taught the value of softness in fighting. He studyed Chinese style before he came to America.


Personally, I spent a lot of time teaching kids. Many schools teach similar techniques to kids. Look at face contact with the hands, many Japanese style schools teach sparring similar to TKD. I'm only talking about kids. Adults are a different story.


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Offline sdcharger

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Re: Martial arts for kids
« Reply #12 on: June 08, 2010, 12:14:49 AM »
Niece and Nephew are doing TKD now and having a blast.  At this age, I suspect the QUALITY of the instruction and school are more important than the discipline.

Offline longshadow

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Re: Martial arts for kids
« Reply #13 on: July 24, 2010, 02:49:50 PM »
G2A,

When I was your daughters age I studied Yudo/Judo.  I'd suggest that you look around a bit more and give Judo a try. 

That said, I think that "Modern" TKD is a combative joke but as pointed out earlier it IS appropriate for a child of your daughters age.  When your daughter is around twelve years old I'd also recommend that you find an old TKD instructor who still teaches the older Japanese/Okinawa forms and enroll her in said instructors class.

BTW... I"m in my 40's now and I have studied Yudo/Judo, Hapkido, TKD, Japanese & Okinawan Karate, JJJ, Southern Kung-fu, Escrima/Arnis, Historical Fencing, Savate, La Canne, Sambo and no-gi BJJ.   I'm not a "MASTER" nor do I play one on TV...  I'm just a guy with a fair amount of MA training and experience.   

G2A, I've been around and my preferred strikes are openhanded and I'm a big, bruiser type guy.  I have seen too many Black Bellt's fracture the small bones in their wrist while punching with a closed fist.  If your daughters TKD instructor is teaching the children palm strikes I'd say +1!  It sounds like your daughter's current TKD program  is OK.  However, TKD is not Judo ;D
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Offline texmex

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Re: Martial arts for kids
« Reply #14 on: August 23, 2015, 10:05:02 PM »
Have you looked at the Gracie Bullyproof DVD's. My niece and nephew love doing them with me and it's nice because I can practice with them in my home. The games that are in the DVD's are a lot of fun and could help to keep a child interested. I enjoy learning braziliam jiu jitsu and I think like most martial arts it can be something that turns into a lifelong skill. I am not a long time practitioner and I'm currently a white belt, but based on how much my nephews enjoy it I will continue to learn with them.

Offline machinisttx

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Re: Martial arts for kids
« Reply #15 on: August 26, 2015, 01:19:59 AM »
When my instructor had his own gym, he had a dedicated kids class. Kids from 5 or 6 and up, learning Tenth Planet(no gi) jiu jitsu, Muay Thai, and boxing. Some of those kids were pretty good, some were obviously just there because their parents put them in the class. He no longer teaches Karate at all that I'm aware of, though he was trained in it from age 4 by two different South Korean Grand Masters(not at the same time) who lived in his home.

I haven't started my son in anything, but I'm going to let him try everything that's available locally(except maybe eskrima and Kali) and see where he ends up since he has expressed an interest.
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Offline Marinesg1012

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Re: Martial arts for kids
« Reply #16 on: August 26, 2015, 05:57:50 AM »
I have my soon to be 4 year old son in Jujitsu, he took an interest in Ninja turtles and wanted to do "ninja" training we took him to karate and he wasn't a fan, when we left he said he wanted to wrestle. I called around and found a jujitsu place that would teach him (the instructor has a daughter his age so he can roll with her) my son loves it and would go every day if there was a class. The instructor has now started a kids group, before that he started at age 7 I think. There are 5 or 6 kids his age now and its great for them to get roll around. Him and his sister have both been in Gymnastics since they were about 2 which I think is a great starting point. It really helped them know to listen to another adult and work on thier skills plus they are both physically stronger then the other kids their age. Obviously them having an interest is the first priority with  finding a good instructor a close second.
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Offline acer72390

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Re: Martial arts for kids
« Reply #17 on: December 16, 2015, 02:02:35 AM »
Tommy Jefferson is right. I started off in Shotokan Karate as a kid which is similar to TKD. Now I teach Combat Sambo. I honestly think your best bet as an adult for self-defense is any of the following: Judo, Muay Thai, BJJ, or my favorites Sambo and Systema. I think that for now anything is great for a kid. To me the most important thing you are doing right now is putting values in place that will last a life time.

Offline shadowalker_returns

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Re: Martial arts for kids
« Reply #18 on: November 28, 2016, 08:59:48 PM »
For young kids, I find TKD and Karate very appropriate. There are well developed programs for kids that are safe for all ages and fitness levels. The real key for any strike based Martial Art is Targeting. A properly executed strike to an appropriate target will be effective. The long term goal isn't street tough but street survival. This can be taught in TKD/Karate/Kung Fu or any of the modern arts. Its based primarily of the focus of the school. For younger children combatives is not really a good focus, "survival" is. The physical conditioning, confidence and close contact training will provide the foundation to build effective combative techniques . For my own children I've chosen Shotokan over MMA/BJJ or TKD. I dont find MMA/BJJ appropriate for any pre-teen kids. The risk of injury if the instructor is not really on the ball is simply to high. Also most MMA/BJJ Gyms in my area cater to the Testosterone crowd. Not the kind of people I want influencing my kids view of the martial arts (your experience may differ). In the end I went with Shotokan because I found it to be an ideal foundational art. I studied it when I was younger and it allowed me to transition into other combatives as I grew older and my needs and understanding of Martial Arts grew. For me the real purpose of the Martial Arts for youngsters is to provide physical conditioning, build self-confidence, increase willpower and instill a certain moral strength that will serve them throughout their lives. Most Karate/TKD Dojos with competent instructors can help accomplish this.

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Offline Chemsoldier

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Re: Martial arts for kids
« Reply #19 on: November 30, 2016, 04:32:28 AM »
For young kids, I find TKD and Karate very appropriate. There are well developed programs for kids that are safe for all ages and fitness levels. The real key for any strike based Martial Art is Targeting. A properly executed strike to an appropriate target will be effective. The long term goal isn't street tough but street survival. This can be taught in TKD/Karate/Kung Fu or any of the modern arts. Its based primarily of the focus of the school. For younger children combatives is not really a good focus, "survival" is. The physical conditioning, confidence and close contact training will provide the foundation to build effective combative techniques . For my own children I've chosen Shotokan over MMA/BJJ or TKD. I dont find MMA/BJJ appropriate for any pre-teen kids. The risk of injury if the instructor is not really on the ball is simply to high. Also most MMA/BJJ Gyms in my area cater to the Testosterone crowd. Not the kind of people I want influencing my kids view of the martial arts (your experience may differ). In the end I went with Shotokan because I found it to be an ideal foundational art. I studied it when I was younger and it allowed me to transition into other combatives as I grew older and my needs and understanding of Martial Arts grew. For me the real purpose of the Martial Arts for youngsters is to provide physical conditioning, build self-confidence, increase willpower and instill a certain moral strength that will serve them throughout their lives. Most Karate/TKD Dojos with competent instructors can help accomplish this.

Regards,
Shadowalker

The experience my family has had with my daughter and BJJ has been positive so far (3 years).  I don't know if it is the rise of Rhonda Rousey or what but over 50% of her kids class is female.  I am sure there are places we would not want to do but we have had a good experience with the two places she has gone (switched locations due to moving, not any dissatisfaction). 
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Offline Chris Gilliam

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Re: Martial arts for kids
« Reply #20 on: November 30, 2016, 07:23:28 AM »
Boxing.
I spent almost 9 years in prison. The guys that could box beat the crap outta karate kid types.
Me? I like kickboxing. Better stance.

Offline Davew223

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Re: Martial arts for kids
« Reply #21 on: December 02, 2016, 04:35:25 AM »
Judo, track and cheerleading:

Strikes from a little girl won't have any effect.  Kicks, maybe if she is very lucky but would probably just get her off balance and in more trouble in the real world.

The object is for her to get away.  A good bit of judo is about using the opponents inertia and strength against them, not allowing them to get a good grip, and getting out of pins and holds. 


"Judo is derived from Jujutsu. It was created by Professor Jigoro Kano who was born in Japan on October 28, 1860 and who died May 4, 1938 after a lifetime of promoting Judo. Mastering several styles of jujutsu including Kito-Ryu and Tenjin-Shinyo Ryu in his youth he began to develop his own system based on modern sports principles. In 1882 he founded the Kodokan Judo Institute in Tokyo where he began teaching and which still is the international authority for Judo.

The name Judo was chosen because it means the "gentle or yielding way". Kano emphasized the larger educational value of training in attack and defense so that it could be a path or way of life that all people could participate in and benefit from. He eliminated some of the traditional jujutsu techniques and changed training methods so that most of the moves could be done with full force to create a decisive victory without injury. The popularity of Judo increased dramatically after a famous contest hosted by the Tokyo police in 1886 where the Judo team defeated the most well-known jujutsu school of the time. It then became a part of the Japanese physical education system and began its spread around the world. Dr. Kano, President of the University of Education, Tokyo, dedicated his life, studied these ancient martial art of Jujutsu and integrated what he considered to be the best of their techniques into what is now the modern sport of Judo."



Judo gets her loose, track gets her away and what's louder than a cheerleader to bring attention.

If you are searching for "martial arts" there is a good chance you will not find judo, do a search for judo and your town.