recommended earliest age for starting MA
Hmm, for those of you guys with experience in teaching and in particular teaching children, what would be the youngest age a child can start?
I have a nephew who's 4 and going to be 5. And I've seen most dojos with an after school program for children 5 and older. In the case of my nephew, I would prefer to wait until he is 6, but my sister is seriously considering it (I'll explain later.)
For my nephew, I'd prefer he go to a judo school nearby, but my sis will most likely take him to a krotty school (after considering her own work schedule and driving distance and **** like that.) If it keeps my nephew active and teachs him something... anything, I guess it's fine.
I your experience, what's the youngest age you would recommend for a child?
Now, this is the catch. My nephew suffers a bit from autism and ADD. He excells at doing things on his own, puzzles, painting, spelling, etc. And he follows most instructions. But he sometimes choses NOT to focus on following instructions (either he choses not to or he has a hard time focusing... ADD for ya), and in the presence of other kids sometimes he becomes a bit hyperactive (jumping, hugging and tackling kids.)
His pre-school teachers suggest he needs to be immerse more with children his age (more than what he is experiencing in pre-school). This is one of the main reasons my sisters wants to enroll him in a martial arts school ... plus she is determined to give him a healthy sport-based lifestyle. Whether it's MAs, football, **** even ballet. Whatever it happens to be, it will be a fitness-oriented lifestyle.
Sooo, what do you guys think?
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I don't think it would be a bad idea. We've got kids that sound a lot like your nephew at our dojang, and it oftentimes helps them.
I personally wouldn't worry too much about which martial art he was doing this early. At his age, feeling comfortable at the school, liking the feel of the place and the teachers, and not getting scammed by outrageous prices are more important than training for hardcore application. Of course, you don't want somewhere that would make him think he could fight when he couldn't, but I think that at a young age the training is more about building attributes that will make it easier to train for "real" later.
Of course, I don't mean that the training should all be feel-good games and what have you. If that was the case, it would be daycare, not training. What I mean is that a program that will help him develop physically and mentally in a solid direction is more important than one that teaches him to break people. The breaking people part comes when he's a little older.
I've seen chinese kids start Kung Fu at 4. Depending on how the kids motor skills are developing. My cousin at 2 was already running around causing trouble and imitating funny moves he picked up from wathing ultraman and power rangers and crap like that.
You and your sister should go around to the various schools that offer the program for young kids and see what the instructors, and the class are like.
MA might be just the thing for an ADD kid.
there's an under 40lbs division (gi and no gi) at local grappling tournaments. there's no earliest age for training, per se; there are just common starting points for different things. breakfalls and tumbling for the youngest, positioning and grip fighting once they can talk, submissions and strikes when they're old enough to understand the danger, etc.
to my mind, the best thing you can do for young kids is send them to gymnastics. teach them good balance and safe falling *now,* not when they're a clumsy ass adult.
(and yeah, formal training is great for giving add/aspergers kids a structure within which they know how to behave. one of the reasons i like karate so much)
Last edited by pauli; 6/25/2006 2:03pm at .
The most important thing is to find a good teacher, even if it's Krotty you want someone who can get the kids to pay attention and keep it fun at the same time.
MA training for kids should not be the same training for adults.
The sensei at my dojo is awesome with kids, one of the best I have ever seen.
Originally Posted by El Macho
You might already considered it. But I find Judo the best MA for kids (w/ and w/o autism).
Edit: Oh **** I missed it, you already want Judo: Oh well, this is why I agree I guess.
1. There is contact. No punch the air and standing in Horse Stance. They can
"play" around with each other, keeping their interest.
2. Focus of Nage Waza rather then Joint locking prevents joint injury in young kids. (Developing Joints and all)
3. Kids bounce.
Our dojo runs a very successful Kids(5-8) and Pre-Judo (3-5) class. In fact in the Fall they are planning to open an after school Judo program, so kids that have to wait for their parents to come pick them up can just do Judo instead of playing games in school cafeteria. I teach the class on occasion and the kids always have a great time. Whether is balance drills, randori, and just working throws.
Last edited by plasma; 6/25/2006 3:35pm at .
I've got a slightly different take on it. I really don't think you can put an age on when a kid is ready for martial arts. I think you can expose them to it at an early age, but I don't see any point in starting their training until they ask to do it on their own. It will make life easier on everybody (the kid, the instructor, fellow students, and the parents) if the kid is there because he's actually interested.
It's cool that your sister wants him to be involved in athletics, but why not wait until he expresses his own interest in something, then help him pursue that? Anyway, that's the plan I have for my kids. I hope whatever she decides to do works out.
Originally Posted by El Macho
That makes me happy.
i just mentioned this discussion to my mom (a first grade teacher), who pointed something else out: some schools, unpon enrollment of a child, send a questionaire to their teacher at school, so they can be aware of any behavioral concerns ahead of time (and so the teacher knows to watch out for wayward karate chops in class). something to look for, i suppose.
Depends on the kid.
Some kids will only be whiny and end up hating martial arts as a whole. Other kids will embrace it and make it something they dedicate a large portion of their lives to.
Ultimately the question should depend on whether or not he enjoys it. Let him try it out for a bit before committing.
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