We know that the martial arts have amazing benefits for children & young people, over & above the physical skills aspects, so it is important to make sure that you take these into consideration when looking for a club to enrol in.
It can be a complex decision. What do you base it on?
Closest club to you?
A martial art that you've heard of or seen on TV?
A recommendation from a friend?
One the you did as a youngster?
Whichever one bubbles up to the top of an internet search listing?
Is one branch of the martial arts better than another? Should it be based on the rank or title of the instructor?
Whilst these factors are valid, they will not necessarily help you to choose a club that will give you the full range of martial arts benefits. Here are just five things to consider:
This is hugely important if you want your child to learn martial arts, rather than just send time hitting & kicking stuff. Whichever club you choose/try should have a proven structure. By this we mean:
How are the classes run? Simple things like do they run to time, is enough time given over to the various elements of learning and is there support for people to gain the skills they need, regardless of talent?
Do they use structured lesson plans, which build on skills over the course of time or is it just the same old stuff cranked out week-in, week-out? Ask to see the syllabus
Is there a here-to-there process in what they are learning? Eg: how do they teach a roundhouse kick to someone safely & effectively? How are those sills practiced & improved upon in class?
What type of additional benefits can you expect from enrolling in the club.
The type of martial arts style or discipline being taught will only have relevance when all these considerations have been met.
Our physical environment plays a big role in our focus and energy levels, so the training space has to support your learning. So look out for its cleanliness and neatness, is there equipment for students to train effectively and what is the wider environment like? Are things well organised? Does it look inviting enough that you would want to stay and train?
Whilst the physical environment is important, so too are the people within it - having friendly classmates to interact with completes the experience and will ensure your child will feel welcomed & comfortable.
Every child is different, but it is important to find an age-appropriate programme that is tailored to your child’s stage of development. Family Martial Arts Centres, for example, has Tiger classes that caters specifically to children ages 3 to 6/7 years old.
This ensures the activities, the skills and the vocabulary of instruction is appropriate for their age. It also means they can have fun with peers their own age in the process.
These are the people that your child will be looking to when it comes to their martial arts training, so they are crucial. You want the Instructors to not only be skilled, but also to be able to build connection with your child. Instructors provide guidance and at the same time be your child’s mentor.
The Instructors should be able to make a child learn without feeling like they are learning, so they will enjoy themselves more and should be able to retain what they learn for longer.
Most martial arts schools will have some type of trial class offer, which will help you to make a decision about whether the programme will be a good fit for your child. During this period you can also interact with other parents there to see what their experience has been.
Also, check out their social media posts & comments to see how the local community feels about them.
What do you think?