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Is it ever ethical to teach children?

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    Is it ever ethical to teach children?

    Okay,

    Kiddie black belts and "self-esteem classes" are one thing - but is it always wrong or unethical to teach children martial arts?

    Is it wrong to teach kids "street techniques" such as low kicks and elbows? What if they live in a rough area and their parents really want them to be tough? Are you ruining their innocence by teaching street-fighting styles? Are you giving them techniques they are NOT READY to learn? Or is this sort of "honest" training the only ethical way to instruct children?

    Thoughts?

    -SK

    #2
    First of all you have to define "kids". At my school kids with single digit ages are taught a dumbed-down version of the curriculm that is easier to do and replaces moves like a chop to the throat with a back fist to the nose. The idea being that nothing the kid is likely to enocunter, that he has the capability to handle himself, is going to be serious enough stuff to warrant "street techniques". After a few years they end doing the same stuff the adults do.

    Even then I think martial arts should be primarily a recreational activity for children up to at least highschool. There is always exceptions, but I consider 16 the rule of thumb as far as when someone can realistically start training seriously.

    Comment


      #3
      Good points. Thanks for the input.
      -SK

      Comment


        #4
        It is never wrong to teach kids how to fight, how to shoot, etc...it's wrong not to teach responsibility.

        *Note - not sure how to define "kids". Forcing a 6 year old to go through the motions of shooting a rifle or break an arm is probably odd....but teaching an interested and willing kid of say 10 or up seems fine.

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          #5
          I teach my kids pretty much what I teach my adults, I refuse to teach weapons to kids, we grappel, strike and condition just as the adults do. 8 Years of teaching with no outside incidents related to my instruction style. I drill ethical and humble behavior, we also hold them to a higher standard than non students. I think it's only unethical if you train your kids to fight for your own profit, or without teaching them when, where and how to apply thier knowledge.

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            #6
            It's important for kids to be able to stand up for themselves. As Osiris said, kids are gonna fight. Do you want your kid to always lose because he's smaller than the bully? No. So you have to teach him to fight well. It is equally important to teach responsibility and make sure that the kid doesn't abuse his knowledge. Of course, kids don't always understand the responsibilty thing, so don't teach them to maim or kill.

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              #7
              how on earth is it unethical?

              Unless you are telling them to use their newfound d34dly skills to bully other kids then whats to lose?

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                #8
                Master Po says it is only unethical to refrain from teaching children how to defend themselves.

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                  #9
                  Originally posted by MUT
                  how on earth is it unethical?

                  Unless you are telling them to use their newfound d34dly skills to bully other kids then whats to lose?

                  My original concern was based on the two extremes of "training kids". On the one hand, giving kids "black belt birthday parties" and "self esteem" courses is clearly just a way of fleecing money from mom and dad.

                  At the other extreme is training kids in how more "realistic" techniques such as elbows or low kickings (even kicks to the genitles etc...)

                  As has been posted above, it seems the concensus is: as long as you're training kids responsibly while providing contexts for each of these "realistic techniques" you're not doing anything unethical.

                  -SK

                  Comment


                    #10
                    i am responsible for helping my instructor teach kid's classes. we essentially take the adult curriculum, divide it up a bit to make the "chunks of material" smaller, and grade them with a Jr. ranking (i.e. Jr. Green Belt, etc).

                    we teach them applications, do various empty hand forms, show them how to do throws, teach some ground, let them spar, and allow them to do weapons forms (very few in the lower ranks, the first several ranks are limited to some nunchaku spins, a bo form and a short stick form). we make a big deal about teaching responsible use, etc, of their martial arts and do not show them any subs, limb breaks, chokes, etc due to their lack of control.

                    while we believe that self-esteem from sports is great for kids (as true of MA as any sport), it is actually doing a disservice to them to promote them when they have not earned it. accordingly, my sifu lets each child know as soon as they have their material and think they are ready to test, they may, but he expects them to be able to do it properly, show progress, effort, etc.

                    the goal with the kids program is to have them complete their Jr belts by the time they are ready to take their black belt test when they hit their teens. that is a difficult transition and tends to be rare (to date i know of only 3, 2 brothers who do OK, and a 16 y.o. who i am convinced will be a bad-ass as he gets older and more RL experience).

                    as with any kid's activity i really recommend each parent decide if a given program is right for their child.
                    Locu5
                    combat sports hobbyist

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                      #11
                      Morality/right and wrong should come at the dinner table at home. No such thing as deadly techniques or weapons, only deadly people.

                      If you feel that martial knowledge will be abused, send them back to mom and dad until the parents do a better job in teaching discipline and morality to them.
                      Kung fu is translated as "stand around and talk."

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                        #12
                        > Morality/right and wrong should come at the
                        > dinner table at home. No such thing as deadly
                        > techniques or weapons, only deadly people.
                        Disagree.
                        There are deadly weapons, and I've read about children who shot other children/ their parents/ whoever in an accident or a game or a temper tantrum far too often.

                        Likewise, there are techniques that can cause permanent damage or death.

                        I agree there are deadly people. The question is, is MA training likely to turn a child into a more deadly person? I don't know. Children are impressionable... I remember that watching pro wrestling as a kid was fascinating, and I felt a temptation to try the moves. (I wrecked my bed with an elbow drop at one time :) ) So if you teach them dangerous moves without drilling into them that they are for self-defense only, who knows what happens?

                        Even teaching the serious stuff exclusively for self-defense is doubtful. If a child is attacked by an adult, chances are the moves won't work anyways. If the attacker is another child, on the other hand, all-out destruction is usually not called for.

                        I would encourage any future children of mine to learn judo or wrestling *as a sport*, and when they are mature enough, teach them how to apply the stuff *responsibly* in self-defense or schoolyard brawls.
                        There are no wrong threats, only wrong answers. (Strategy game truism)

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                          #13
                          I don't think it's wrong, to teach MA for fitness, self-esteem, etc. But some of these kids got an ego when mom isn't around and can even pick on other kids since "they know karate". Which may become an issue.

                          I think instead of being taught street fighting techniques kids should be taught de-escalation techniques to talk their way out of situations, and therefore, establish a good base of which to start when they get older, if they still wanna continue in the MAs...

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                            #14
                            Beatdown Richie, if the behavior of the child is improper, that is the fault of the parents. I was raised in a house full of deadly weapons and was instructed to use firearms (rifle, carbine, pistol, shotgun) from age 6 on.

                            I had no inclination to harm anyone as I was not raised that way. Children who are properly instructed are as safe around deadly weapons as they are around vacuum clearners.

                            Teaching kids to hit, kick, throw and wrestle is no different than teaching them to shoot. A proper foundation of morality and discipline must be instilled.

                            I do agree that something like Judo is a wonderful system for a kid. My 6 year old nephew loves it.
                            Kung fu is translated as "stand around and talk."

                            Comment


                              #15
                              when you take a kid hunting you teach gun safety.
                              When you teach children MA, you teach discipline and self-control.
                              To do otherwise is not only irresponsible, it should be considered criminal.

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