Choosing a Self Defense / Martial Arts School: A Parents Guide
"Daddy, I want to take Karate!"
"Mommy, Jimmy on the bus hit me again today"
There are many reasons why parents want to sign their children up for Self Defense or Martial Arts classes. Once you have made the decision, now you are faced with many different options and questions. What style? How much does it cost? Is my child to young?
Martial Arts and Self Defense Styles
There are as many different styles of Martial Arts as there are religions in the world. You have probably heard of Karate, Tae Kwon Do, Jujitsu, and even Aikido, but there are still numerous styles and offshoots of the Major styles.
So what Style is the Best and what style should I choose?
In reality, it is this author's opinion that the style of Martial Arts your child will learn is not that important. What is important is the method of teaching and training that your child will undergo. With Martial Arts training your child should learn self-discipline, self-respect, and self-esteem, along with the confidence and ability to defend themselves.
The Instructor, (or Sensei) is the key. I suggest that all parents visit several locations with their children to observe the Instructor at work. Make sure you visit a beginner's class as well as an upper level class. The beginner's class is where your child will start.
Does the instructor's personality and philosophy match your morals and ideals? Does the class participate in any "Eastern Religious" practice that doesn't match your faith? Do you want your child viewing this instructor as a role model? Most children will look up to their Martial Arts & Self Defense Instructors as role models and will be in awe of their skills and abilities. Make sure that this person who will be dealing with your children matches your values.
It is also important to view an upper level class. The beginner classes are usually very tame, and the teaching philosophy is tailored to a younger audience. However, the older the student is, the "real" teaching and training methods are put into effect. You may feel comfortable with how the instructor "teaches" the younger beginning students, but may not be comfortable with how they handle the older students.
The majority of Martial Arts & Self Defense Locations (or Dojo's) run their business on a membership basis. Customers must sign contracts, where they are obligated to pay for a certain time period to participate. The locations are run like a gym membership, you pay for a certain length of time and may participate as often as you desire.
Unfortunately, rarely are the "hidden costs" discussed when signing up for a class or membership. What are the hidden costs? The most over looked cost is the "testing fee". In Martial Arts there are numerous skill levels that are equated to a belt rank. After a certain period of time and training, the student is ready to advance to a new level or belt in their martial arts style, and a "belt test" will be performed. This "belt test" almost always required the student to pay a "belt-testing fee". I have seen fees from $50 up to $500 depending on the belt rank. Parents, make sure you inquire about these fees and are comfortable with them before you sign any contract.
Another hidden cost is required items to purchase. Some locations require that you purchase a uniform with the schools logo. The average cost of these uniforms range from $30-$50. As the child advances in rank, protective sparring gear is required. Now this is normally mandatory for the child's protection and safety, but can be expensive. Normal safety gear for Martial Arts consists of Foot Pads, Hand Pads, Head Gear, Mouth Piece, Groin Cup, and optional Spar Vest. Depending on the style and sizes all this gear together cost about $150 retail or higher.
So Parents, factor in the total cost of classes, testing fees, and required equipment when making your decisions.
At what age should my child begin Martial Arts or Self Defense? Now this is an often-debated issue. I have seen children as young as 4 years old participate in Martial Arts or Self Defense training. Some have been successful while others it was just to young. The age of which a child should start Martial Arts or Self Defense classes should be judged on an individual basis and be determined by the parents. Some key points to consider. Does the child have a good attention span? Has the child participated and flourished in other group activities? Is the child comfortable in larger group settings?
If the child is currently enrolled in grade school and has no problem adapting to those settings or conditions then they should be considered old enough to participate and benefit from Martial Arts or Self Defense instruction.
Article written by Eric J Gehler & Jim Johnson
Permission is granted to publish all or any portion of this article. Author's name and website must appear with any publication.
The Economics of Self Defense
The following is a recent email I received; I thought I should respond to the list rather than to the individual because this situation is common:"I'm a 52 year old guy who has been pretty active lifting weights for about 20 years but about a year ago I found myself in a situation where a guy suckered me and I friggin was so intimidated that I walked away with my tail between my legs. Thankfully the only damage was to my ego cause I totally wimped out in front of my buddies who were there.
Samurai Sword Facts
The first samurai swords we're actually straight bladed, single edged weapons imported from Korea and China known as chokuto, which were later replaced with the curved blade variety at the end of the 8th Century. The name of the curved blade swords which replaced them was Tachi.
Fun Games for Children Training in Martial Arts
Keeping children interested in their Martial Arts training requires an element of fun and games. Traditionalists are usually only concerned with the discipline and structure of their training, but incorporating fun games involving proper techniques will add to the value of training and keep the kids interested.
Fairbairn on the Fairbairn Method
Something for our shooting "enthusiasts" -PRELIMINARY STATEMENTBackground:"Prior to my association with the armed forces of Great Britain and the United States I served as Assistant Commissioner in Command of the Riot Squads of the Shanghai Municipal Police Command from 1925 to 1940. During this period, our force handled over 2000 riot calls of all types and descriptions, including shooting affrays, many of which were against armed robbers and kndnappers.
Who Created Tai Chi Chuan (Tai Chi Boxing)?
I have read a number of books, articles, and novels, and have watched movies and television series that touched on the origins of Tai Chi Chuan (Tai Chi Boxing), and the question, "Who Created Tai Chi Chuan?" made me concern very much!Although knowing the origins or the source of Tai Chi Chuan is not going to have much effects on your learning and practicing of the art, it is my responsibility to share with the masses of what I have found out. And understanding the origins of something that we loved so much about will make us appreciate the understand it better, if not improving our skills.
The Shocking Truth About Stun Guns
If you are outside the world of law enforcement, chances are you haven't had much "hands on" work with stun guns. Stun guns are as popular today as they have ever been and with the newer smaller packages like cell phone/stun guns, their popularity continues to grow.
Safety Awareness & Self Defense: Circle of Safety
Safety Awareness & Self Defense is the responsibility of each individual. Knowing your surroundings and being aware of potential dangers is your first step towards self-defense.
Learning the Modern Dynamics of Judo
You may have the erroneous idea that force is not necessary in judo, especially when you see a sixty-year-old instructor throwing many young- and strong men seemingly without effort. Dynamics, however, denies this illusion.
Why Every Cop Should Study Judo Part 1
Up until 30 years ago, JUDO was the martial art. Then with the introduction of the more mysterious martial arts with more of a "killing" edge to them this coupled with the focus of the USJF/USJI (the leading Judo organizations in the US and the world) focus on Olympic competition and the simple fact that training in judo is painful and to this day, very difficult to get a black belt rank in it, especially if you are in a competitive area.
Most people have only been exposed to John Styers work through the book "Cold Steel".It is important to remember that first and foremost this book outlines a BASIC course of close-combat instruction.
The Fallacy and the Myth
It's always amusing when "know it alls" dismiss certain methods out of hand as being useless or "unworkable". One "victim" of this line of thinking is the "cross arm" or "X" block (for lack of a better term).
Interesting Facts on Samurai Sword Manufacture
A samurai's sword is his most sacred and prized possession. Not only did the samurai rely on his sword to defend him, but spiritually the sword held greater significance as the samurai actually believed his soul inhabited the sword.
How To Defend Against A Knife - Dont Use The Stuff Taught In The Dojo!
Defences against Knife attacks, Firstly if at all possible get yourself and anyone else out of the potential danger area..
Elements of Unarmed Combat
Custom build your own personal "system":Useful areas of training and study to find, train and develop the various "parts" -To develop STRIKING:Western BOXINGSavateMuay Thai (Burmese Boxing)Jiu Jitsu ATEMIOld style KEMPOTo develop GRAPPLING:Catch/Freestyle WrestlingGreco-Roman WrestlingJUDOSambo (Real SAMBO/SOMBO)Brazilian JujutsuA comprehensive study of the above will provide methods applicable to ANY so-called "ranges" of combat.They will also provide ALL "techniques" necessary -Striking, punching, kicking, knees, elbows, headbutts, biting, gouging, ripping, clawing, crushing, joint breaking(from the neck to the ankles), throws, trips, take-downs, strangles, chokeholds, and other assorted "nasties".
Martial Arts and The Zone
On the occasions you delivered the perfect strike; blocked without the need to think or performed a near flawless kata, did it feel difficult? Or did you get the sense it happened by itself? The 'zone' is a place where athletes describe this sort of experience. Studies suggest its a state of 'effortless merging of action and awareness'.
Aikido Philosophy: An Oriental Concept of Energy, Self, and Mind
PrefaceThere are many different ways to understand Aikido philosophy and perceive, utilize, and benefit from energy. What I offer here is one of many ways.