View Full Version : Starting out (children in the MA)

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5/21/2003 7:52am,
Hi, I am new to these forums. I am looking for some advice as to which Martial art I should start my 5 y/o son out in.

I am not looking for the best Self defence martial art, or the ultimate fighting art. I am looking for an art which will be good for his physical and mental development as well as being a good foundation to any martial arts training he chooses to take in the future.

I myself practice Latosa Escrima, but because of the heavy weapons emphasis it is unsubtable for children. There are Akido, wushu kwan, Muay Thai, wushu and Wing chun schools close to my area which teach children. I'm sure if I looked I could find Karate and TKD schools, i am personally not fond of either art but my training needs are quite different to those of my son.

Any advice is welcome.

5/21/2003 8:01am,
i've been thinking about this same question. I don't have any children, but i often think the training that i do is not always applicable to chuldren. My BJJ instructor has a four year old son who knows arm bars, rear naked choke and others. I think a grappling art for children might be better than a striking one since (1) a child will most likely nned to restrain and not hit another child, and (2) though i have no idea, i assume it is harder for children to break the joints of other children than to punch a kid in the face....who knows...

"you think you're tough? try riding on the back of a moto in downtown Phnom Penh"---jzf

"i left my heart in laos, but my wallet in cambodia

Zujitsu Ka
5/21/2003 8:33am,
My personal opinion would be to get him involved in a Mixed Art. Karate /Ju Jitsu. This way he learns not only a striking art but how to manipulate and control someone even bigger than he. Many times a child who is being bullied can put an end to it with one quick strike to the belly. It worked for me at a young age when I was being bullied. I have a daughter and when she is old enough I will train her myslef ( I have a school) Our base in Goju,Ju Jitsu a little TKD grappling and ground fighting. It is important to diversify your training as I am sure many here will admit as well

5/21/2003 8:48am,
I think that this is one of those cases where the school and instructors are more important than the art being taught. I'd personally look for NVQ qualified coaches, and evidence of police background checks for the instructors. I'd also expect the club to encourage parents to watch while their children train.

Whereabouts in London are you ?

5/21/2003 10:31am,
Whatever MA you decide to enroll your kid in, go talk with the teacher first. Ask him what he teaches his students.Also, pay specific attention to the fact if the teacher is teaching them correct techniques and I don't mean MA techniques, but whether or not he lets the kids overextend their arms for example.

That will mess up their joints beyond belief. It's very important that you pay attention to that.

Also, if it's exercises and foundation you want, go Wushu. It's not much of a real fighting art, but it really develops flexibility, coordination, strength and endurance.

I've done Wushu for a year and it's made me very flexible and it provided a very good basis for TKD for me.

Hope this helps.


5/21/2003 10:37am,
Karate is an excellent foundation art go with that.

Out of doubt, out of dark to the day's rising
I came singing in the sun, sword unsheathing.
To hope's end I rode and to heart's breaking:
Now for wrath, now for ruin and a red nightfall!

5/21/2003 10:42am,
I personaly feel that grapplig arts are best for small children. A five year old chils is not going to be coordinated enough to be able to perform karate, MT, wushu, or whatever moves. Kids are natural grapplers, however. The enjoy it a lot, they are a hell of a lot better at it, and ultimately it's much safer. I think something like Judo or Sambo would be perfect for your son. Not only will it teach him a viable and realistic method to take care of himself, but he is also much more likely to enjoy it and excell in it.

Good luck,


I remain, Hapko3

5/21/2003 10:49am,
ZK, I would disagree in letting children get into a jujitsu class at such an early age. Their body is still developing and exposing them to some of the joint locks and such could actually hurt their growth and cause long term damage. There is a study on this somewhere. I will have to look and see if I can find it. However, later on down the road I would definetly agree that a mixture is best.

I teach a lot of the 5 year olds at our school. I strongly advise 1 of 2 things: 1) start at a park district or YMCA that does not have contracts. Kids may want to be Bruce Lee one moment and the next they want to be John Wayne. This way you won't be roped into something that he just doesn't want to do after the 2nd week. If he is still excited about training, then move him into a more structured school. Many of the TKD schools have great kids programs. Just sit down and talk to the instructor. Like you said, it is not for your training it is for his, so you have to go in with that mindset. If not, then there will be no school good enough to teach your kid. :)

Jeremy M. Talbott

5/21/2003 11:07am,
sanchin -
"I think that this is one of those cases where the school and instructors are more important than the art being taught."

This is the BEST advice.

It may go against prevailing opinion but,
Tai Chi would be great for its movement and concepts .
By the time a young body has grown stronger, miguksaram's concerns, they can take a harder style, whatever, and will already have skills far beyond other students.

"My opinions may have changed, but not the fact that I am right."
Ashleigh Brilliant

5/21/2003 11:11am,
Great points regarding evaluating the teacher more than the style. Putting your child in a positive (and safe) learning environment will help to keep his interest and encourage a sport/activity/hobby that could last a life time.

As a note: the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends NOT allowing development age children to participate in boxing. Because repetitive blows to the head "may result in serious brain and eye injuries" during critical developmental periods. Tending to error on the side of caution, extend this to any striking based art (at least any with contact to the head allowed during regular practice).

Given that: how about judo? A nice sport and quite applicable to primary school combat.

5/21/2003 11:15am,
As long as you are not worried about self defense, I agree with putting him in Wushu. By the time he is 12 he would be doing some awesome stuff. And since it is a CMA they would also probably focus on discipline. Later, if you wanted, you could take him out and put him in a real martial art. He would already have good flexibility, balance, and increased strength, which would be a great foundation for any art.

Zujitsu Ka
5/21/2003 11:23am,
Good Points about checking out the teacher. Watch a class see how the students interact with each other. DO they show respect for one another ? They should. Do they show respect for the teacher ? They should. Are they having fun ? They should . If not having fun they will not stick it out.

miguksaram, I hear what you are saying but I respectfully disagree. A childs joints are much more flexible than an adults and when trainined properly and under proper supervision I see no problems with this at all. My opinion anyway. If you do find some studies that suggest otherwise , contact me I would love to see them....Never to old to learn someting new


Zujitsu Ka
5/21/2003 11:25am,
As far as not being able to handle Karate as afr as coordination is concerned, thats one of the prime reasons parents get their kids involved in MA. To help them devlop...

5/21/2003 11:27am,
For children, I feel quite strongly that Judo is maybe the best. It was designed as a toned down version of Jiu-Jitsu so It could be practiced safely by children. I've heard that it limits it's joint locks, because of the risk of wrecking the joints of young children and messing up their growth. For that reason, JJJ or BJJ might be a bad idea. Judo also has a strong emphasis on competition and good sportsmanship, very important for young kids. I think competition is great for kids, and it gives them some confidence being able to compete and win. And unlike Wushu, Judo is fairly effective for self defense.

And I agree with all that about kids being better grapplers than strikers.

"An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind"

Sam Browning
5/21/2003 11:44am,
I agree with elipson about judo and would consider BJJ if the instructor is not a hyper aggressive head case. That way the kid gets to learn some grappling which they can take from one martial art to another and if they get into a scrap at the school yard they may throw or pin the other kid but won't accidently do something like take out an eye.

5/21/2003 11:44am,
I started out in judo when I was 6, and I do jujistu now (i'm 16) and I believe Judo is a good foundation for a future in MA

How many Zen masters does it take to change a light bulb?

> Two. One to change it, and one not to change it.