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Choosing a Self Defense / Martial Arts School: A Parents Guide
"Daddy, I want to take Karate!"
"Mommy, Jimmy on the bus hit me again today"
There are many reasons why parents want to sign their children up for Self Defense or Martial Arts classes. Once you have made the decision, now you are faced with many different options and questions. What style? How much does it cost? Is my child to young?
Martial Arts and Self Defense Styles
There are as many different styles of Martial Arts as there are religions in the world. You have probably heard of Karate, Tae Kwon Do, Jujitsu, and even Aikido, but there are still numerous styles and offshoots of the Major styles.
So what Style is the Best and what style should I choose?
In reality, it is this author's opinion that the style of Martial Arts your child will learn is not that important. What is important is the method of teaching and training that your child will undergo. With Martial Arts training your child should learn self-discipline, self-respect, and self-esteem, along with the confidence and ability to defend themselves.
The Instructor, (or Sensei) is the key. I suggest that all parents visit several locations with their children to observe the Instructor at work. Make sure you visit a beginner's class as well as an upper level class. The beginner's class is where your child will start.
Does the instructor's personality and philosophy match your morals and ideals? Does the class participate in any "Eastern Religious" practice that doesn't match your faith? Do you want your child viewing this instructor as a role model? Most children will look up to their Martial Arts & Self Defense Instructors as role models and will be in awe of their skills and abilities. Make sure that this person who will be dealing with your children matches your values.
It is also important to view an upper level class. The beginner classes are usually very tame, and the teaching philosophy is tailored to a younger audience. However, the older the student is, the "real" teaching and training methods are put into effect. You may feel comfortable with how the instructor "teaches" the younger beginning students, but may not be comfortable with how they handle the older students.
The majority of Martial Arts & Self Defense Locations (or Dojo's) run their business on a membership basis. Customers must sign contracts, where they are obligated to pay for a certain time period to participate. The locations are run like a gym membership, you pay for a certain length of time and may participate as often as you desire.
Unfortunately, rarely are the "hidden costs" discussed when signing up for a class or membership. What are the hidden costs? The most over looked cost is the "testing fee". In Martial Arts there are numerous skill levels that are equated to a belt rank. After a certain period of time and training, the student is ready to advance to a new level or belt in their martial arts style, and a "belt test" will be performed. This "belt test" almost always required the student to pay a "belt-testing fee". I have seen fees from $50 up to $500 depending on the belt rank. Parents, make sure you inquire about these fees and are comfortable with them before you sign any contract.
Another hidden cost is required items to purchase. Some locations require that you purchase a uniform with the schools logo. The average cost of these uniforms range from $30-$50. As the child advances in rank, protective sparring gear is required. Now this is normally mandatory for the child's protection and safety, but can be expensive. Normal safety gear for Martial Arts consists of Foot Pads, Hand Pads, Head Gear, Mouth Piece, Groin Cup, and optional Spar Vest. Depending on the style and sizes all this gear together cost about $150 retail or higher.
So Parents, factor in the total cost of classes, testing fees, and required equipment when making your decisions.
At what age should my child begin Martial Arts or Self Defense? Now this is an often-debated issue. I have seen children as young as 4 years old participate in Martial Arts or Self Defense training. Some have been successful while others it was just to young. The age of which a child should start Martial Arts or Self Defense classes should be judged on an individual basis and be determined by the parents. Some key points to consider. Does the child have a good attention span? Has the child participated and flourished in other group activities? Is the child comfortable in larger group settings?
If the child is currently enrolled in grade school and has no problem adapting to those settings or conditions then they should be considered old enough to participate and benefit from Martial Arts or Self Defense instruction.
Article written by Eric J Gehler & Jim Johnson
Permission is granted to publish all or any portion of this article. Author's name and website must appear with any publication.
So you are thinking of starting to train in okinawan karate. There are a lot of choices as far as okinawan karate schools are concerned. Which school do you choose ? What is the best school or system? If you are a parent, what okinawan karate school is best for your children?
This is our last installment on "defining" the parameters of COMBATIVES.
How to Relax During a Fight
I received a returned video from a well meaning, but severely misguided, former customer. This is a rarity since over the past 2 plus years and hundreds upon hundreds of videos shipped; I can only count 3 returns. One was unopened, one included a note that the recipient thought the videos would be something else, but he intended to buy the rest of the videos we offered, hmmm smells a little fishy (incidentally, this person has been banned from buying anything from us again). And lastly, this well-meaning person. The note inside prompted me to write this article. He identified himself that he was an orange belt in Krav Maga and that he has been instructed to "relax" and be loose during a life or death struggle. Now, I have not trained in Krav Maga nor do I know anything about the modern version of it. My focus is on the "relaxing" strategy; which I have heard from a variety of different "experts" during my 30 plus on the mat.
COMBATIVES? ...... Don?t Tell Me. I Know What That Is! (Part 1)
"Combatives" from the root word COMBAT ? "to fight in direct contact", "active fighting between enemies", "any fight or struggle".
A Samurais Power Is In His Little Finger, Not His Samurai Sword
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Fairbairn on the Fairbairn Method
Something for our shooting "enthusiasts" -
One of the 'mystical' aspects of the martial arts has always been the ability to feel another persons intention.
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The following are a few thoughts about how to decrease your chances of being a victim of a violent crime. I know a lot of times we focus on the nuts and bolts of a fight and we assume most of us know these things and this information is common knowledge for some of you, but it some times it's always good to review.
Martial Arts Strength Training
According to various sources on the internet, a 1996 article in Iron Man Magazine revealed Bruce Lee's workout. In addition to his cardio and karate workouts, Lee lifted weights three times a week and performed the following routine:
Is Aikido a Martial Art ?
Sensei Henry Ellis Co-Author of the new book Positive Aikido.- 2005. A direct student from 1957 of the legendary master Kenshiro Abbe Sensi 1915 - 1985..
Content, Are We?
I asked a simple question at the last seminar:
Are You Frustrated Yet?
I was talking to a parent recently and they told me that their son was not going to compete in wrestling because they were afraid they would get frustrated when he lost. The parent felt the child was far too sensitive to handle the frustration of failure and may get 'burnt out'. My response was, "What will they do when they get frustrated in life?" What happens when that kid has got to suck it up and go forward when it REALLY counts? Being a new parent, my daughter is 2 and I have another on the way, I only want the best for my child. What parent doesn't? It's obvious this parent I mentioned loves their child, but that's not the issue. The issue is what's best for everyone involved. What this child is being taught is to quit when things get tough. In an effort to protect the child, the parent winds up doing a disservice to the child. The result is undermining the ultimate goal- the training of the child.
Samurai Swords and The Swordsmiths
Back in the early times of sword manufacture, the production of super strong high-grade carbon steel wasn't even a vague dream. But we know, as history has taught us, that sword makers of ancient times still managed to produce superb quality, strong weapons.
Im Soooo Confused...
I was going to write about the BASICS of "practical unarmed combat". Things like a solid and productive core of strength training, development of real speed and power. Body conditioning and toughening, Stamina. A "never say die" iron will. You know "esoteric" stuff like that.
COMBATIVES A Rose by Any Other Name?....Part 2
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Martial Arts: Mind, Body and Spirit Presented Online
This Martial Arts website uses body, spirit and mind to construct an excellent example of the quality and amount of information you can put on your website.
Martial Arts Sparring and Training Protective Equipment
The benefits of Martial Arts has always appealed its practitioners. The disciplined training of the mind and body give a sense of well being but some aspects of Martial Arts training do present a problem.
What Can We Learn From What Has Already Been Done?
Pre-WWII Judo was a far different thing than what we see now.
Historical References to W.E. Fairbairn, E.A. Sykes AND Dermot Pat ONeill
FROM THE BOOK: "PIERCING THE REICH" AUTHOR: JOSEPH E. PERSICO
Shigeru Kimura Sensei 9th Dan Tani-Ha Shitoryu Shukokai had a punch that was like getting hit with a cannonball.
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