Picking a martial arts class for your son or daughter can be quite challenging.
Your first thought might be to wonder which martial art is best for your child, but there are many other considerations that come into play – from understanding whether the school is safe to finding out how competent the instructors are.
Here is a list of things to consider before picking a martial arts class for your kids.
As a parent, it is only natural to be concerned about your child’s safety and well-being.
You should only enroll him or her in a gym that has proper equipment like mats, shin guards, headgear, first aid equipment, and other protective gear.
More importantly, the staff should know how to deal with emergencies. Most gym staff members are trained in first aid and CPR, but always ask to see their certificates.
You can also visit the gym and watch how instructors run their classes. Ask yourself this: are the instructors running a safe environment for my child?
Instructors’ Rapport With Kids
Keep a lookout for gyms and instructors who emphasize effort over results.
Learning martial arts can be an excellent way to develop your son’s or daughter’s self-esteem, but that can only happen if the teacher acknowledges and encourages the child’s effort.
Instructors may have the credentials to belong in the gym, but can they hold your kid’s attention during class? Your child will want to stay in the gym and learn, that is if he or she has a good relationship with the instructor.
ONE Championship bantamweight competitor Radeem Rahman suggests that parents put their kids in a trial session before signing them up.
“Take a look at how the class is, observe the instructor, and see how they interact with your kids,” he offers. “Is this someone you feel comfortable handing off your kid to? There is no better way to answer that question than being there in person.”
Check that the school has a tailored martial arts curriculum for your child’s age group.
Each parent has distinct reasons and motivations behind signing their kids up for a martial arts class. Think about the goals for your son or daughter, then see if the gym can develop him or her in those areas.
Rahman reminds parents that classes for the same martial art can be optimized for different purposes.
“Take jiu-jitsu, for instance. There can be two different approaches to teaching – one can be tailored more toward competition, whereas the other can be focused more toward self-defense,” he explains.
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“Even in Muay Thai, is there sparring or close contact? Or do the lessons revolve around learning how to throw the techniques? There is no right or wrong approach, it depends on what your child’s goals are.”
Look at class sizes, too. If the class size is too big, your child might feel neglected or left out, especially if he or she falls behind the other kids.
Knowing that the classes are well structured to fit the needs of your son or daughter will give you peace of mind.
The Right Questions
To help ease your concerns about whether a martial arts school will be right for your son or daughter, prepare a list of questions to ask the instructors.
If you wish to learn more about the individual instructors, visiting the academy’s website can help when researching credentials, but it will not give you a feel for who they are as teachers.
Talk to the gym owner and arrange for a quick meeting with the teachers in between classes. This will give you a chance to see how they work with the kids.
Ask about their background and experience. Ask them how long they have been teaching. Find out if your child will get the attention he or she deserves. Ask them what the class sizes are, and how many instructors will be in the class.
The answers to these questions will help you decide if a martial arts school can support the goals of your son or daughter.
If the instructor can make the classes interesting and fun for kids, children will be more excited about learning.
During your visit, watch the classes. Are the kids in the class having fun? Are they engaged?
If so, you can be sure your son or daughter will have a great time and absorb what is being taught to them.
Read more: The 5 Best Martial Arts For Your Kids