Which martial art should I study?
How do I choose a school?
Should children study martial arts?
Rankings/Color Belt Systems
Are all martial arts spiritual, or religious?
How is training at a Christian school different and why is it important?
In general, yes. There are many valuable life-skills to be learned in the martial arts school. Among these are: learning to control aggression, the development of self-respect and self-control, a focus on fitness for life, as well as learning effective self-defense skills. Reputable schools teach students to avoid confrontation and violence if at all possible. Proper martial arts instruction should always focus on teaching the individual control - control of self and, if necessary, control of a harmful threat. Anger, cruelty and revenge have absolutely no place in the martial arts.
How old does my child need to be to begin?
The marital arts industry standard is five years old, however, there may be younger students who have the attention span and maturity to begin. Shockingly, some schools start students as young as two years old! It is the opinion of our Master Instructor (whose college background is in Developmental Psychology), that these schools are wasting the time and money of the unsuspecting parents. Our three through six year old class has been specifically designed by our Master Instructor for the cognitive and developmental levels of the younger student. Much as we would like to train any child, our conscience requires us to advise that at age two, the child would be better off in a gymnastics or tumbling program.
What about injuries, and all the violence in martial arts?
It's important to remember that television and the movies often portray martial arts in a distorted, violent way. In real life, nothing could be farther from the truth. If you've ever seen one of those full contact, no-holds-barred or "Ultimate Fighting" matches on TV, relax - that's not what you're signing your kids up for. Most schools require full safety gear when sparring, and allow only light contact to sharply defined areas. As a result, injuries are rare ( see reference above in Liability section).
I worry about my child turning into a bully…
The martial arts simply are not for bullies. The hard work and repetition of classes tend to weed out those who might merely wish to learn how to hurt others. There may be some bad martial arts schools or instructors who encourage abusive behavior, but most consider their primary responsibility to be character development, not aggression development. Abusive behavior should not be tolerated inside, or outside the martial arts school, and most instructors take their responsibility seriously. Some will periodically request feedback from parents and schoolteachers about the student's behavior outside the martial arts school.
What style is best for children?
This can best be answered by considering the desired outcomes of the training (refer to section 2: Which martial art should I study?). The main concern with children in the martial arts should be the knowledge, experience, and integrity of the teacher and the school. Since the joints and connective tissues of children are more vulnerable to injury than those of adults, be sure to keep this in mind, and discuss it with the instructor when interviewing a school. Schools that allow aggressive joint locks to be applied to children, or that don't train them to avoid snapping or hyper-extending joints should be eliminated from your consideration.
The Academy of Fighting Arts offers classes for all ages. We believe Tae Kwon Do can be beneficial to everyone, regardless of age, or ability. We have a history of physicians recommending our program for conditions such as ADD, ADHD, Cerebral Palsy, and Aspergers Syndrome (a mild form of autism). We also have had some experience teaching the hearing and vision-impaired.
We have a long-standing reputation of excellent training for children. Our instructors are mindful of the physical and psychological differences in younger students – as previously mentioned, our master instructor holds college degrees in the Behavioral Sciences. We offer age-specific classes for kids of all ages, and we have even custom designed one just for 4-6 year olds. While these classes also teach values and fundamental martial arts principles, we mix in a healthy dose of fun exercises and group games. For more information on our children's programs.
The combined experience of our staff of black belt staff exceeds 150 years. The majority of our instructors have completed college degree programs.
What else will my child learn at the Academy of Fighting Arts ?
While self-defense may be a big reason many people start taking martial arts, it is actually one of the least of the many benefits the martial arts have to offer. Some of the others that our programs specifically focus on are:
Martial arts training, belt tests and tournaments are intensely challenging and rewarding. Kids who learn how to face these tense situations develop confidence that they will benefit from their entire life. Good martial arts instructors remind their students that, having faced and triumphed over such challenges, they have nothing to prove to anyone. This gives martial arts students - even children - the confidence to walk away from confrontation, taunting, foolish dares and so on.
Imagine trying to get a bunch of 4 - 6 year-olds to stand at attention like a row of statues! How about getting teens to do chores at home, and not to complain or talk back? This is one of our goals, and part of our partnership with the parents of our students. Students quickly learn to listen, pay attention, and to work hard. Normally hyper, distracted kids can learn to concentrate and stick with a task to a degree many adults might envy.
Trash talk, mouthing off to officials, foul language and the like have, sadly, trickled down from professional sports into college, high school, and even little league sports. We do not tolerate this sort of behavior. We teach our students to treat one another, the instructors, and their own families with respect. The same attitude and respect shown at the martial arts school should also be demonstrated at home, and we encourage parents to let us know how things are going.
GameBoy, the Internet, television and other forms of passive entertainment are turning our kids into a nation of couch potatoes. Children who study martial arts aren't among them, though. Our workouts are designed for cardio endurance, as well as proficiency in technique. Our students typically score above average on fitness tests given in their academic schools. In Tae Kwon Do they are expected to train hard, and they learn to value fitness as a life habit.
Many parents cheer their kids on in a sport. But how many parents can practice and compete in the same activity with their kids? The Academy of Fighting Arts has many family members who attend classes together. Not only family relationships, but also quality friendships are developed in the Dojang (Korean word for school). What better group of friends for your child, than other kids who are learning the same self-discipline and values? Our goal is to maintain a family environment where people train together, encourage each other, and make new friends. That's why one of our mottos for the last twenty years has been: “The family that kicks together, sticks together!”
Self-defense is only partly about physical skill. The other major part is a combination of attitude and brains — the courage and confidence to stand up to bullying or violence and the wisdom to foresee and avoid it. Though we teach our students countless ways to overcome physical conflict, we also teach conflict resolution. The best way to protect yourself, and others, is to stop a conflict before it gets physical. Only when there is no other alternative should physical self-defense be required.
Seeking more information about classes? Private instruction/personal training? Martial arts birthday parties? Please email us at: email@example.com
Trapped in a school you're not happy with but you're paid up on a contract? Bring a copy of your contract in, and you can train for FREE at the Academy for the duration of your time. No strings attached!
T-shirt days are a great opportunity for students to have a "cool" workout wearing an ACADEMY t-shirt. These are available for purchase starting around $10 in our Pro Shop. Please see Dawn behind the counter for more information.