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Sam Turnage
12-11-2007, 01:25 PM
Ok to me it is very important to me or fundamental to my kids leaning or education that they learn self-defense and or a marshal art for many reasons. To me it is just as important as learning to read and write. I have two kids as of now and they are 9 and 5 years old. Autumn is 9 and is an orange belt and my boy Sayer just started two months ago.

Now I really believe that Aikido is ďthe wayĒ, however, I have a little background in Judo and system 5 karate and I have realized that unlike other arts you canít just take it for 6 months to a year and be able to defend yourself pretty good it seems to me that it could take like 15 years or so before you could use Aikido very well for self defense. I also question how it works against other types of attacks from more or different skilled people such as a boxer with quick jabs or the type karate attack were one never fully commits to the atemi like quick guarded strikes and kicks etc and does not try to grab you.

So I have been thinking for some time now, that it might benefit my kids to cross train in something else. I am thinking of Judo or BJJ in part because of Aikidoís ties to Judo and BJJ is also an evolved form of Judo that seams to be similar in the way your taking advantage of your opponents mistakes etc. and the fact that most scraps end up on the ground. So what I am asking is this:

What do you think about this? Is this a good idea or bad one and why?

Pros and cons to cross training?

Judo or BJJ and why? Both Ö..Judo early and BJJ when they are older maybe?

All input welcome thanks
Sam

Pierre Kewcharoen
12-11-2007, 01:37 PM
Aren't BJJ and Judo the same? with one being the art and the sport? BJJ is good for cardio and fitness and important for ground fighting and considered the last resort if the aikido or punching and kicking doesnt work out. If you looking for self defense for you kids, Id look into kickboxing/muay thai which actually teaches how to punch and kick, but thats just me. Aikido is supposedly and advanced martial art and kinda expected to be taken after a lower form. ex. karate taekwondo etc. If you are worried about your kids getting into real fights and needing to defend themselves, just go to youtube and search for video of teens/kids fighting and from that you can see real life scenarios. Choose the martial art that would best suit your needs.

DonMagee
12-11-2007, 01:53 PM
Aren't BJJ and Judo the same? with one being the art and the sport?

Both are sports. Both are good for self defense.

I would not teach young children striking. Why? Because kids punch and kick when they are mad, the wrestle for fun, so grappling will be much more natural and they will be less likely to try to use it in some school yard tussle. Would you rather your son tackle the kid to the ground and hold him there till he calms down, or round kick him in the face? When a kid becomes older (teen years) then introduce him to striking. Plus because sparing is a must for striking to be effective, young children will not be able to train effective striking. They are simply not built to cope with getting hit.

Personally, I would go with judo. Throwing, falling, and pinning are all very important skills and much easier to learn when you are young. As they get older they will learn submissions and then they can decide to move into high school wrestling (something else I really would push for), a striking art, bjj, higher level judo competiton, or anything else (yes even aikido) and have a major skillset advantage over 'normal' humans. The judo focus is good for self defense (learning to throw people much bigger than you, learning pinning and top control, the agressive physical fitness, the high speed reactions, and escape from bottom position in groundwork). Also dangerous techniques like chokes, armbars, etc are not taught until the child is mentally able to cope with using such damaging techniques.

Young children in bjj are really just doing stylistic wrestling. They too do not usually learn submissions as it is too dangerous until they understand what can happen. So they start on their knees, and work for pins. So you can see why judo is better for a child. They starting standing, learn throws and pins and it is easier being young, made of rubber, and invincible. Learning to throw and fall as an adult is much harder.

Aristeia
12-11-2007, 02:05 PM
what Don said.

gdandscompserv
12-11-2007, 05:34 PM
The instructor is WAY more important than the art. I would also train with the kids rather than "send" them. If cross training is good enough for your kids it should be good enough for you. I would hesitate to entrust my kids to another MA instructor unless I had personally trained with them.

Sam Turnage
12-11-2007, 06:24 PM
Judo and BJJ the same, no

Not really, Judo came from jujitsu and BJJ came from Judo kind of the way that Aikido came to be.

Again thank you for any and all input but IMO I donít think that kickboxing/muay thai is right for my kids. First the kickboxing/muay thai is like a complete opposite of the way or teachings of Aikido I donít see how they would blend well. I must find something that improves or compliments there Aikido not something that will confuses the way they engage an adversary; I donít want them to rely on physical strength and its limitations as I do. There will always be someone bigger and stronger especially for Autumn, I want them to learn to use the enemyís own strength and aggression against them. Also like Dan said I donít think it is a good idea to teach kids to young to strike. My little 5 year old boy already thinks heís a Spartan warrior or something. Anyway when they get a little older I can teach them the basic strikes kicks and blocks. And when the time is right I will also teach them where and how to take out or kill an adversary. Right now though its hard enough just trying to teach them not to hit or push people or each other etc. Those of you with kids will now what I mean.

And in my experience I was in many scraps as a kid and teen and always won, if there is a winner in a fight. And almost every time I would take him down or flip him then pin him in some way (head lock, judo hold, rear naked chock etc.). If I use my Karate at all it was the blocking. I once stopped an attack from a Black belt in TKD. He tried a snap kick to my nuts; I broke his foot with a simple block.

I believe and will try to teach my kids that fighting is not a game, and should be avoided at all costs try to talk your way out or walk away etc. But when they must I want them to take the opponent out or down, not box them.

Funny you suggested wrestling I was planning on seeing if Sayer would like to do wrestling when the time comes too.

Should I not have them doing both Judo and Aikido at the same time?

Sam Turnage
12-11-2007, 06:34 PM
The instructor is WAY more important than the art. I would also train with the kids rather than "send" them. If cross training is good enough for your kids it should be good enough for you. I would hesitate to entrust my kids to another MA instructor unless I had personally trained with them.

Good point Ricky thanks

I take Aikido with them now but working in something like Judo too might be real hard both in time and money.

Aristeia
12-11-2007, 07:07 PM
my own personal experience of doing judo and aikido concurrently (albeit only for a short period of time) was that the footwork was different enough to interfere with each other. Which was one of the reasons I preferred BJJ

Kevin Leavitt
12-11-2007, 07:22 PM
My son is 7. I study BJJ and Aikido. My BJJ professor in Brazil who has studied it his whole life advised me to have my son study Judo first. So I am.

I think at this age it is better simply to learn the balance, tumbling, kuzushi aspects and not so much the self defense stuff.

I have been working with my kids since they were infants in this stuff. Things such as balancing them on my feet, hands, having them roll around on me, explore fulcrums, center etc.

My son perfected the clinch and seat belt before he started kindergarten. He will do it instinctual now. If he gets on your back, he puts hooks in by habit. He doesn't even know he is going it!

The point is, that any of these arts with a good instructor that will teach them really, really good basics is what is needed. Not punching, kicking, fighitng...just tumbling, understanding their bodies and themselves and the relationship to others.

I think Judo typically has decent kids programs that are mature and well rounded.

Lots of schools are teaching wrestling and grappling these days too! At NAGA you can watch these little guys go for it! It is amazing.

Lots of room and ways to get them going!

Good luck!

DonMagee
12-11-2007, 08:10 PM
Personally, I would not put my kids in more than one martial art at a time. Kids need to focus, splitting that focus will only slow their progress. Not to mention kids take what adults say to heart. Imagine what would happen if the aikido coach said something about how judo is easily defeated, or if the judo man said judo is the best art. Conflicting role models will lead to confusion, even if it is not done on purpose.

Marc Abrams
12-12-2007, 08:28 AM
My son started Shotokan karate under a true Japanese master (8th dan and direct student of Okano Sensei) when he was in first grade. The main emphasis is on proper form in kata rather than sparring. My son is now in the 7th grade and will be taking his nidan exam sometime next year. My son started training under me in Aikido this past year.

I agree with the idea of studying one art until you reach a certain level and age. I think that it is very important that a child learns proper striking and defense.

My son has been studying Aikido with me for almost one year now. He has learned to maintain a relaxed center and move from that point during kumite. He has always excelled in that area (granted, I have always worked with him in teaching him what really works in kumite and fighting), but it is reaching new levels. His Aikido is solid (passed his 8th kyu test with flying colors). I am really liking what I am seeing in his budo development.

Currently, I am working with him on changing from percussive punching to energy punching. When he used his energy punches, the effects are remarkable.

Marc Abrams

Michael Douglas
12-12-2007, 09:17 AM
Funny you suggested wrestling I was planning on seeing if Sayer would like to do wrestling when the time comes too.

Should I not have them doing both Judo and Aikido at the same time?
I would recommend wrestling, matched with sprinting and strength training of a light sort. Judo my second choice. BJJ third choice.
I would NOT recommend aikido until they are adult and good at standing and ground grappling, shooting, and weapon offense. :blush: What I mean is, don't teach aikido until they can defend themselves competently.

Sam Turnage
12-12-2007, 10:38 AM
LOL….thanks again for all you input but, I think I am at this point more unsure or confused than ever.

I guess what I am looking for is the best way to train my children or provide them with a strong platform. I am well aware that if I start them early in life in anything or something is better than nothing. For instance Grass Valley Aikiki has a good children’s program and Sensei is willing to start kids younger than most and she is very good with them too, as are the older teacher students. If fact Sensei has a couple of students 18 – 19 that have been trying only in Aikido since about 9 years old one is a black belt and I think that they could defend themselves very well. I have started my kids even younger and I know that it would also work in Judo or Karate too. This is more than most kids will have but I want more still. And I was hoping that I could find a even better way to train them. Did O Sensei or have any of the Aikido masters addressed this issue (talked about or documented what they thought would work the best)etc.? One of the cool or unusual things about Aikido is that we are so close to the teachings of O Sensei because it was invented or conceived not that long ago in comparison to other MA forms, some were derived so long ago that it is hard for us to comprehend.

At this point I am still leaning or my brain is telling me the BJJ is the answer for us because I think that it can be studied without causing harm or confusion to the kids or there Aikido. There is now another Aikido dojo in town and one of the instructors has a son that is training there and he holds a brown belt I think in BJJ I will talk to the son about this. Also when I get the chance I am going to visit a BJJ in town to talk and check it out. I need to find out more info.

I would also like to share that event how I feel Aikido is the best way and that’s what I what my kids to learn I never intended for them to start in Aikido. Based on my experience and my gut feelings I really feel that even given the fact that I had much more training in Karate over the years and as a older boy the small amount of Judo (Only about one year to the level of Green Belt) I had at age 7, I think helped me the most. I don’t know how or why, it just did. So when my oldest turned about 61/2 I started looking I called the only Judo dojo in town and talked to the sensei. I told him what I was looking for and why and that I wanted my kids to start ASAP as far as there age. He told me that he doesn’t take kids until the age of 9 and I also got the impression that he felt that Judo was the best and only way. He told me that both his son and daughter had been or was the national Champaign and he proceeded to tell me that because I did not compete in tournaments I did not learn real Judo. My instructor did not push the tournament thing it was taught from a self defense point of view. He was not going to bend on the 9 years old thing and I just didn’t get a good feeling from him.

Sam Turnage
12-12-2007, 11:06 AM
I would recommend wrestling, matched with sprinting and strength training of a light sort. Judo my second choice. BJJ third choice.
I would NOT recommend aikido until they are adult and good at standing and ground grappling, shooting, and weapon offense. :blush: What I mean is, don't teach aikido until they can defend themselves competently.

Shooting for sure and Autumn is about ready for that too...

No Aikido until they learn somthing first.....I don't know about that...Sensei has some girls that are very good, confident etc. I some pervert or muger tries something with one of them they will be sorry. Do you mean that they will be open to attack as a kid until they get to that level? That is a consern.

Qatana
12-12-2007, 03:02 PM
I don't see any information her on how your kids feel about training at all.Put them in a program that they have not expressed desire to participate in, they will not participate.
And if you DO train with your kids, keep the training in the dojo and remember that you are not their teacher. .

Sam Turnage
12-12-2007, 04:08 PM
I don't see any information her on how your kids feel about training at all.Put them in a program that they have not expressed desire to participate in, they will not participate.
And if you DO train with your kids, keep the training in the dojo and remember that you are not their teacher. .

Well the first part of your post is very true it is not a factor in how I chose to parent my children. FYI my son loves and begged me to let him take or go to Aikido I finally said I would what Sensei has to say about it. He also wants to take Karate, and loves everything fighting or wrestling etc. He really likes to play fight or wrestle his dad. Autumn on the other hand if she had her way would not go most of the time she just having fun and sometimes that really shows but when she wants to be there or she gets more serious she is very good and I am very proud of her and she is just a kid.

Like I said before learning a MA to me is an essential part of my kidís education as important as learning to read and write. It is a matter of survival and self preservation maybe more but nothing less. So there is a very big difference in say forcing your kids to play sports or a sport that they donít like or want to and making them study hand to hand combat or self defense.

If your kid didnít feel like going to school what would you say?
If your kid didnít want to brush his teeth what would you say?
Most kids donít really like vegetables so why even try right?

I say who is the parent? What does a kid know about what he needs to eat or study to succeed in life? Or what is right, or what is wrong? Or what is fact and what is fiction?

You are the parent; you are not his or her friend!

It is your duty to love, guide and teach them. When they are an adult then they can do what they want to. I will stop my rant now but I could go on and on about this.:disgust: :mad: :sorry:

I have my way of dealing with this anyway, I award Autumn by taking her shooting or to sushi she love sushi and or just spending extra time with her, she is a daddy girl after all. :)

Kevin Leavitt
12-12-2007, 04:56 PM
Sam wrote:

There is now another Aikido dojo in town and one of the instructors has a son that is training there and he holds a brown belt I think in BJJ I will talk to the son about this. Also when I get the chance I am going to visit a BJJ in town to talk and check it out. I need to find out more info.

If his son is under 18 it is doubtful that he holds a brown belt in BJJ under the IBBJF. They do not recognize or promote to Brown Belt until 18. In fact you cannot get even a Blue belt until 16. They have a completely different system for kids under 16.

http://www.ibjjf.org/graduation.htm

Sam Turnage
12-13-2007, 09:01 AM
Sam wrote:

If his son is under 18 it is doubtful that he holds a brown belt in BJJ under the IBBJF. They do not recognize or promote to Brown Belt until 18. In fact you cannot get even a Blue belt until 16. They have a completely different system for kids under 16.

http://www.ibjjf.org/graduation.htm

I though he was 18 or 19 but he is now 21. My bad it is not BJJ but another type SJJ. I talked to him about it last night a little. He had taken Aikido for 6 years or so before he started taking JJ and he feels that it has only sharpened his Aikido skills and made him a more confident fighter.

Sam Turnage
12-13-2007, 10:09 AM
Again I wanted them to do Judo first but it just wasnít meant to be. Feel free to correct me if I am wrong but, I think that or it seems that most people think you need to take another MA or learn some other arts before you study Aikido. This is mainly IMO because of these facts. First off, Aikido was born this way in that O Sensei had to learn other arts such as JJ in order to improve it and etc. It seams logical the one should learn to defend and attack in they normal way that most people will before you learn the more advance or evolved way of using ones anger, strength, and aggression against them. People that have had some MA training or experience usually do better or seem to learn Aikido faster than those that have not for obvious reasons. I canít imagine what it would be like to try and learn Aikido at my age without the basic MA background that I have. I would be so lost. Aikido is difficult and slow to learn. People want to see quick results and especially younger people want to learn to strike. People usually need to grow up a bit before they learn that someday they will run into someone bigger and stronger then they are and that sometimes you donít want to hurt someone just control him, before they can see how cool this stuff is.

Maybe it is good or ok to learn other skills later too. At least I feel good that my kids are doing something in a good program with a good Sensei.

Michael Douglas
12-13-2007, 12:02 PM
You now seem to be steering your thoughts towards aikido, or at least mentioning japanese martial arts as the only choices.
Wrestling could be better with its emphasis on strength and toughness, judo second.

As for why I suggested getting your kids a competent defence before aikido, well, that's the way ueshiba took his best students as far as I recall from the articles. Also, the skills and strengths which I feel might allow aikido to be effective defence in a wide range of assault scenarios aren't easily developed until adulthood.

What is SJJ? Scottish JiuJitsu? Spanish?

You said this ; Sensei has some girls that are very good, confident etc. Does this mean they are competent at defending themselves?

Sam Turnage
12-13-2007, 02:52 PM
You said this ; Does this mean they are competent at defending themselves?[/QUOTE]

Yes most definitely I feel that they would be able to defend themselves very well.

I am well aware of the cons to training in only Aikido for self defense but I am also aware that it is an incredibly evolved art and concept and one of the most effective or Dangerous MA in the world. All MA have pros and cons.

They were taught from a young age when they were little sponges (there is a lot to be said about this). They are advance students (one is a Black belt the other is black belt level) why cant they?

Kevin Leavitt
12-13-2007, 03:01 PM
Sam wrote:


I though he was 18 or 19 but he is now 21. My bad it is not BJJ but another type SJJ. I talked to him about it last night a little. He had taken Aikido for 6 years or so before he started taking JJ and he feels that it has only sharpened his Aikido skills and made him a more confident fighter.

Yes, I concur with his experiences...it has served to help me as well.

Kevin Leavitt
12-13-2007, 03:12 PM
Sam wrote:

Again I wanted them to do Judo first but it just wasn't meant to be. Feel free to correct me if I am wrong but, I think that or it seems that most people think you need to take another MA or learn some other arts before you study Aikido

Be careful with your logic. It is a tricky area that is dependent on many factors.

Aikido can be a complex and frustrating art to learn. I think that you can make great strides in aikido by studying other arts, especially for youngsters. Grappling arts really help with understanding core and center.

Naturally studying ANY kinestic/physical practice will improve your aikido and put you ahead of someone who does not do that or does no athletic activities at all.

I think it is bad logic to conclude that it is better to study something else other than aikido to improve your aikido.

Again it depends on your goals.

I have studied with people that have only studied aikido for 10 or more years. They are much better at aikido and many other things martially than I am with the breadth of experience and perspective that I have gained through cross training. They are not at a loss for NOT having cross trained or developed a base in something else...from an Aikido standpoint.

However, if you want to have a BREADTH of experience and perspective...it might make more sense to spend time in other things that teach center/balance/core and then do Aikido.

Absolutely...I think it stands to reason it would advance you in aikido to some degree.

Does not mean that studying aikido alone as your soul practice is wrong or anything.

It depends on many factors as any thing in education!

The learning process is realitively asynchronous. I think modern society likes to regiment us on a timeline that says "by this time you should be here or you are not doing well". It makes the system efficient, but not necessarily good for the student!

I home school my son. He learns asynchronously. He might be very interested in math at 7...and not so much into writing. So we let him explore his passion for math and get really good. So he is not up to speed on writing like others his age.

What is the difference if at 18 everything balances out?

You will typically find that those that explored their passions in a certain area are happier, more well rounded, and excel at what ever they do.

So, I don't think it matters if you pursue aikido, judo, or BJJ and at what time you do it at in the process...as long as you do something and you have good instruction!

Sam Turnage
12-14-2007, 01:33 PM
Kevin thanks for all your help and for being such a good parent too. One of the problems with our country is the fact that the people that should not be having kids, are the ones have 5 kids and the ones that should be or would be good parents donít have any. Also anyone that quotes Gen. Patton is my kind of guy.

I do understand how important it is that people be passionate or really want to learn or be there. I guess I thought that like reading and writing I could provide a foundation for them and then let them study or pick something that they really want to do.

Autumn is ok I think, she really like weapons and she wants to do gymnastics I see no harm and it should be good so I just need to find a way to make it happen.

My little boy Sayer however, right now is ok but I worry that he will get board with Aikido. He wants to learn to kick and punch, wrestle etc. I have two kids that are not the same age and are different genders and people.

On the subject of learning center/balance etc. I do agree that learning how to fall, center/balance etc. is the most important thing right now. But I feel that they are learning that at our dojo. And with Aikido the way we are taught.

Regards
Sam

Sam Turnage
12-14-2007, 03:33 PM
You now seem to be steering your thoughts towards aikido, or at least mentioning japanese martial arts as the only choices.
Wrestling could be better with its emphasis on strength and toughness, judo second.



I am sorry Michael I thought I typed up a response last night and posted it but something didnít work apparently. So I will try again. First of all and this is coming from someone that was one of the strongest and best athletes around when I was in school I am looking to certain types of MA because I now what was most efficient or how my instinct tolled me to fight and I have a very strong opinion based off of my experiences and those of friends of mine that were in the Special Forces that have enforced my belief of the best ways two engage and take out or down or down and out an adversary. Every CC Combat fighting system that I have see teaches techniques from arts like Aikido, JJ, Judo etc. The difference is there intent is to kill or take someone out of the fight. The other thing is that they always simplify the system by only teaching a few techniques this I would assume makes it easier to learn and more instinctive.

Donít get me wrong when I was a kid I was lifting weights when the other kids were still playing with GI Joes. Strength and tuffness is an important thing in a warrior but far from everything. I found that in football from me the bigger they were the harder they fell. Learning or just somehow knowing when to capitalize on an opening and ether gain control or strike in key areas and ways are much better tools then muscle. Not to mention Mr. Glock

I think that a lot of people are talking about Wrestling, BJJ, and MT or kickboxing because of what they see on tv in a MMA cage fight. Now these proven MMA skills may be a little more useful than say learning only Aikido for real world self defense but a MMA cage fight is nothing like what happens in a real world self defense situation in the parking lot or a escalating argument that turns into a fight etc. So different, think about it.

Qatana
12-15-2007, 10:04 AM
"Autumn is ok I think, she really like weapons and she wants to do gymnastics I see no harm and it should be good so I just need to find a way to make it happen.

My little boy Sayer however, right now is ok but I worry that he will get board with Aikido. He wants to learn to kick and punch, wrestle etc. I have two kids that are not the same age and are different genders and people."

This was exactrly my point.

Ketsan
12-15-2007, 10:18 AM
Ok to me it is very important to me or fundamental to my kids leaning or education that they learn self-defense and or a marshal art for many reasons. To me it is just as important as learning to read and write. I have two kids as of now and they are 9 and 5 years old. Autumn is 9 and is an orange belt and my boy Sayer just started two months ago.

Now I really believe that Aikido is "the way", however, I have a little background in Judo and system 5 karate and I have realized that unlike other arts you can't just take it for 6 months to a year and be able to defend yourself pretty good it seems to me that it could take like 15 years or so before you could use Aikido very well for self defense. I also question how it works against other types of attacks from more or different skilled people such as a boxer with quick jabs or the type karate attack were one never fully commits to the atemi like quick guarded strikes and kicks etc and does not try to grab you.

So I have been thinking for some time now, that it might benefit my kids to cross train in something else. I am thinking of Judo or BJJ in part because of Aikido's ties to Judo and BJJ is also an evolved form of Judo that seams to be similar in the way your taking advantage of your opponents mistakes etc. and the fact that most scraps end up on the ground. So what I am asking is this:

What do you think about this? Is this a good idea or bad one and why?

Pros and cons to cross training?

Judo or BJJ and why? Both Ö..Judo early and BJJ when they are older maybe?

All input welcome thanks
Sam

If you're worried about them being bullied then I'd teach them muay thai or karate. They need to be able to put down the bully before his mates get up the courage to jump in cuz other wise they're be in a six on one judo match.

lbb
12-16-2007, 06:34 PM
I may be alone in this, but I think there's something wrong if a parent sends a child to a martial arts school to learn self-defense. Either the parent is wrong about the threat to the child, and is responding inappropriately (by addressing a threat that does not exist)...or the parent is responding to a real threat, but IMO not in the right way. If a child -- remember, we're talking 9 or 5 years old here -- is threatened, it should not come down to that child's ability to fight in order to be safe. Parents, teachers and other responsible adults should be taking action; if they leave it for kids to fight it out among themselves, they're abdicating their responsibilities. Think it's a solution for your kid to learn to fight? Okay, but what if the (hypothetical) bigger, stronger kids who are bullying him/her also learn to fight? The bully wins, that's what. Any tool that your children can learn to use, the (hypothetical) bullies can learn to use too; therefore, this is an entirely inadequate solution.

I have serious reservations about children being taught martial arts for any reason. Dress it up however you like, you are teaching a child fighting skills, at an age where the lack the judgment to use these skills appropriately. It's thin ice at best, and when you do it out of the mindset of preparing your children to fight, IMO that's asking for trouble.

Kevin Leavitt
12-16-2007, 06:51 PM
I think taught in the right way, with proper mentorship, and guidance, that martial arts are fine to teach to children.

Years ago I used to teach a karate program to a group of 7-10 year old "at risk" youth.

I worked with a team including a social worker.

These were kids that faced violence in the home, at school, and around the neighborhood. The fact was...the lived in a world of violence.

I think we did good teaching them values, how to be strong, and face conflict. That they had better alternatives that fighting. We role played alot about how to skillfully handly bullies and conflict.

Dr. Terrence Webster-Doyle with the Atrium society has a decent curriculum that covers just this.

Violence is a fact of life for many of us and our children sadly. We need to not stick our heads in the sand and pretend that it is not there.

Conversely, we should not be teaching them that punching and kicking is a way to solve problems of this nature.

lbb
12-16-2007, 07:26 PM
Violence is a fact of life for many of us and our children sadly. We need to not stick our heads in the sand and pretend that it is not there.

Violence was a fact of life for some of the at-risk youth you taught. It is not a fact of life for most suburban children. Furthermore, back to my earlier point: if it is a fact of the child's life, there are more effective and appropriate responses than teaching the child self-defense. If you send a child to a martial arts school to learn self-defense, but do nothing else to address the threat of violence in the child's life, that's like driving a car with no brakes and installing an extra-big airbag as a solution.

gdandscompserv
12-16-2007, 07:49 PM
Violence was a fact of life for some of the at-risk youth you taught. It is not a fact of life for most suburban children.
I couldn't disagree more.

Kevin Leavitt
12-16-2007, 08:02 PM
Mary,

there are more effective and appropriate responses than teaching the child self-defense.

This is where we probably have a different view point in general on Martial Arts and budo arts in general.

I think they are a very poor and inefficient mechanism for teaching Self Defense, to kids, women, and anyone regardless of age.

For example, I personally have never, nor do I see myself teaching a women's self defense class using empty hand martial arts. I think most would walk away from my class feeling like I taught them stuff they already knew.

I think most of the Women's self defense classes give a false sense of security about what they will actually face in a violent encounter or rape.

Anyway, I can understand your concerns that we are sugar coating a violence and trying to turn it into something it is not.

Really isn't that the paradox of aikido?

If you honestly believe in the message and intent of aikido for adults...that is Peace and Harmony....Then why would you practice something that you would not like your kids to experience???

Again, I think budo in whatever form it comes in has little to do with self defense.

I do agree, if you are teaching it from that perspective or that emphasis, that you are sending the wrong message.

Joseph Madden
12-17-2007, 01:59 AM
I may be alone in this, but I think there's something wrong if a parent sends a child to a martial arts school to learn self-defense. Either the parent is wrong about the threat to the child, and is responding inappropriately (by addressing a threat that does not exist)...or the parent is responding to a real threat, but IMO not in the right way. If a child -- remember, we're talking 9 or 5 years old here -- is threatened, it should not come down to that child's ability to fight in order to be safe. Parents, teachers and other responsible adults should be taking action; if they leave it for kids to fight it out among themselves, they're abdicating their responsibilities. Think it's a solution for your kid to learn to fight? Okay, but what if the (hypothetical) bigger, stronger kids who are bullying him/her also learn to fight? The bully wins, that's what. Any tool that your children can learn to use, the (hypothetical) bullies can learn to use too; therefore, this is an entirely inadequate solution.

I have serious reservations about children being taught martial arts for any reason. Dress it up however you like, you are teaching a child fighting skills, at an age where the lack the judgment to use these skills appropriately. It's thin ice at best, and when you do it out of the mindset of preparing your children to fight, IMO that's asking for trouble.

Children should be given any and all skills they may require to make it through life. Sometimes a child may use his/her quick wit to get out of a situation. Sometimes quick witted children may need to use their skills in a fighting art to survive. Adopting the mindset that my child may use these skills for things other than self defense seems to me to be the failure of the parent. Most bullies that I dealt with in school didn't have any martial arts training,,just a reputation. I do agree that in certain circles, a child would be better off not using physical self defense, but use the resources of a school, community centre, local law enforcement etc to deal with an escalated situation. Otherwise, physical exercise and fighting skills (if needed) to boot. What's wrong with that. Especially when we have a continent filled with obese children. With regards to cross training, if the child is mature enough let them have it (if you can afford it, and it doesn't affect their grades).

DonMagee
12-17-2007, 05:57 AM
I found in my childhood that getting a parent, or a teacher only made my life worse. Dropping that kid who was picking on me stopped all the bullys for good. To deal with bullying you have to think like a kid. What is one thing kids can't stand, kids who 'tell' on other kids to adults.

"Oh what, you need your mommy to protect you?"

If I ever have kids, they will be taught to walk away, until it's time to fight. And when it is time to fight, to leave no doubt in that kids mind that he was schooled.

Joseph Madden
12-17-2007, 06:06 AM
True Don. True.

Will Prusner
12-17-2007, 10:56 AM
Violence was a fact of life for some of the at-risk youth you taught. It is not a fact of life for most suburban children. Furthermore, back to my earlier point: if it is a fact of the child's life, there are more effective and appropriate responses than teaching the child self-defense. If you send a child to a martial arts school to learn self-defense, but do nothing else to address the threat of violence in the child's life, that's like driving a car with no brakes and installing an extra-big airbag as a solution.

I couldn't disagree more. Kid's fight. At least, healthy one's do. It's part of proper development. Look at nature, living beings on this planet fight to survive every day. Martial arts simply refine that basic instinct into a repeatable series of techniques, in order to give the one who trains an advantage over the one who doesn't. Who wants to give their kids less of an advantage in life? That, in my mind is irresponsible.

This kind of reasoning reminds me of the folks who claim that violence on tv, in movies and videogames is what makes society violent. But society was violent long before any of these things. It's a violent society, so it creates violent images in games, movies and on tv because that's what it likes to see. I don't think that it's good or bad, it's just an observation. It's also an observation that kids are going to fight regardless of training or not. The least we can do is teach them to do it correctly and maybe try to instill some good moral, ethical and spiritual principles at the same time.

Ketsan
12-17-2007, 11:43 AM
I If a child -- remember, we're talking 9 or 5 years old here -- is threatened, it should not come down to that child's ability to fight in order to be safe.

But what if it does? Since we know it does happen does it make more sence to prepare the child for it or to say "It shouldn't happen" and let the child discover it does happen for itself?


Think it's a solution for your kid to learn to fight? Okay, but what if the (hypothetical) bigger, stronger kids who are bullying him/her also learn to fight? The bully wins, that's what. Any tool that your children can learn to use, the (hypothetical) bullies can learn to use too; therefore, this is an entirely inadequate solution.

Ah the "He might be better trained than me so I'll just die" solution.
As my dad drummed into me: Winning the fight isn't as important as making sure they never want to fight you again.
The bully might be trained. Then again they might not, The opponent you might face is irrelvent, how you prepare to face them is all important. Bullies pick on weak people who aren't going to defend themselves, the point of training your child is to make sure they don't fall into that category.


I have serious reservations about children being taught martial arts for any reason. Dress it up however you like, you are teaching a child fighting skills, at an age where the lack the judgment to use these skills appropriately. It's thin ice at best, and when you do it out of the mindset of preparing your children to fight, IMO that's asking for trouble.

Not really. The thing about children is that they believe everything you tell them. When my dad taught me he hammered into me a belief that I shouldn't use what he was teaching me unless I really had to. If you end up with a violent child there's only one place to look: the mirror.

Sam Turnage
12-17-2007, 11:51 AM
I may be alone in this, but I think there's something wrong if a parent sends a child to a martial arts school to learn self-defense. Either the parent is wrong about the threat to the child, and is responding inappropriately (by addressing a threat that does not exist)...or the parent is responding to a real threat, but IMO not in the right way. If a child -- remember, we're talking 9 or 5 years old here -- is threatened, it should not come down to that child's ability to fight in order to be safe. Parents, teachers and other responsible adults should be taking action; if they leave it for kids to fight it out among themselves, they're abdicating their responsibilities. Think it's a solution for your kid to learn to fight? Okay, but what if the (hypothetical) bigger, stronger kids who are bullying him/her also learn to fight? The bully wins, that's what. Any tool that your children can learn to use, the (hypothetical) bullies can learn to use too; therefore, this is an entirely inadequate solution.

I have serious reservations about children being taught martial arts for any reason. Dress it up however you like, you are teaching a child fighting skills, at an age where the lack the judgment to use these skills appropriately. It's thin ice at best, and when you do it out of the mindset of preparing your children to fight, IMO that's asking for trouble.

I could not disagree with this logic more. First of all thought out history Martial arts were developed and taught for not only self-defense but family, race, and nation etc. in both armed and unarmed hand to hand combat. Now I am well aware that different people take Martial arts for different reasons and benefits other than ďself-defenseĒ. These other benefits are great and I welcome them too but for me learning any Martial art is 75% for self-defense. We could start a whole thread on the other benefits to learning a Martial art but the first things that come to mind for me would be better discipline, awareness, improved balance and flexibility, an understanding of center, chi and or ki, and most importantly learning how to fall or role without getting hurt. These skills later in there childhood and life will help them to have fewer accidents and injuries, also most likely making them more successful in anything they do in life especially sports if they choose to etc. So a just donít see why you wouldnít teach your kids martial arts.

Another thing, I am not worried about my kids getting bullied nor am I really worried about some little scrap that my 5 or 9 year old gets into on the playground but I am worried about the scrap they might get into at 17 or later in life. We are not teaching kids to fight, they already know how from instinct and TV etc and they are going to no matter what we do. Fights and fighting is human nature, giving your kids the knowledge to out fight, and or avoid a fight is just smart. Preventing kids from learning martial arts is not going to stop school fights anymore than taking guns away from law abiding citizens are going to stop crime and shootings.
:p

Pauliina Lievonen
12-17-2007, 12:06 PM
IME kids who do aikido tend have more self discipline than your average kid, and they seem to be less likely to end up in fights.

kvaak
Pauliina

Kevin Leavitt
12-17-2007, 02:47 PM
Okay, here is the paradox for me, and it might sound like I am contradicting my previous post....

I do not agree that it is healthy or right for kids to experience violence. I have tried to keep my own kids from being exposed to violence for as long as I possibly can.

We don't have cable TV. We don't allow them to watch the news. It bothers me to go to restaurants and have stuff blasting on the tube that my kids should not see. I have a right I believe to not have my kids exposed to violence.

I personally do not watch alot of action films any more because of the violence that is in them. I personally think it also does me harm as an adult.

That said, I also have to realize that I cannot raise my kids in a vacuum!

It has been interesting. We don't allow toy guns in my house. I have finally relented on the whole sword/stick thiing some. The neigborhood kids would play "war" and my son always had to be the "medic" or something because I really don't like roleplaying games where you game is to kill people.

However, he and his friends play with sticks, and things, and after a while...it really becomes an issue.

"How long or how much to you try and prevent them from doing these things????"

At what point do you become fundamentalist and extreme?

By not allowing them to sort through issues of control, fear, and power are you actually going to do them harm, make them a "wierdo", or what not?

I don't have the answers, but I have grown to think it is inevitable that, at least boys, will play games of power. They will want to be wizards, soldiers, heros. they want to be strong, powerful, and influence power of things.

At least my non-violent, vegetarian, home-schooled son does!

He is aware of how we feel about violence. He understands the difference between fantasy and play. We don't allow any computer games where someone or something is hurt in the house. We don't watch it.

So, he plays with his friends and acts out stuff on a limited basis. We discuss it with him from time to time, making sure he is aware, and has compassion.

I am doing some bokken stuff with him now, and he is starting Judo.

I think it is important to accept that kids sometimes have to work through these issues. And what is important that we manage violence in a way that allows them to deal with it appropriately based on their growth and development.

What is not appropriate is to pretend that it does not exsist and to ignore it.

I think we tried this a while ago with sex education.

Now my daughter is 2. maybe it will be different for her! She already is into the princess and hello kitty thing! You try and raise them equally, but why they gravitate to boy and girl things...I don't know!!!

Anyway. I don't think martial arts can be harmful. What is important is that we don't delude our kids into thinking that it is something that it is not. I think this is Mary's concern...and it is mine as well. We should not be empowering our kids to think that hitting and kicking is a way to solve problems.

I never taught it this way to kids, but did find it was a constructive way to channel violence and let them work through their fears and concerns.

Maybe it is not for every kid, but for mine, I think it is the right path for now!

Kevin Leavitt
12-17-2007, 02:54 PM
On another note, I was teaching the clinch to my son from about age 3 on. In Kindergarten he had a kid pushing him around on the playground, and kinda bullying him.

Well the got into it one day, he clinched up on the kid, and went down on top of him. They never fought, or nor was anyone hurt. ( I never taught him how to punch...only to clinch in a fight to avoid punches etc.)

Anyway, the kid was so overwhelmed by what happened that he never again tried to do anything. No one got hurt, and no feelings were hurt.

In fact they became friends.

When I asked him about the incident with the boy that he has having problems with, he said, "well he tried to push me, but I clinched him like you taught me and we fell down." He ran and told the teacher, but the other kids told her that he grabbed me first."

DonMagee
12-17-2007, 03:44 PM
On another note, I was teaching the clinch to my son from about age 3 on. In Kindergarten he had a kid pushing him around on the playground, and kinda bullying him.

Well the got into it one day, he clinched up on the kid, and went down on top of him. They never fought, or nor was anyone hurt. ( I never taught him how to punch...only to clinch in a fight to avoid punches etc.)

Anyway, the kid was so overwhelmed by what happened that he never again tried to do anything. No one got hurt, and no feelings were hurt.

In fact they became friends.

When I asked him about the incident with the boy that he has having problems with, he said, "well he tried to push me, but I clinched him like you taught me and we fell down." He ran and told the teacher, but the other kids told her that he grabbed me first."

Sounds like the judo defense. "Well he grabbed me, then in a fit or rage fell down, honest."

Qatana
12-17-2007, 04:32 PM
OK, lets homeschool our kids, isolate them from the media & the internet & send them to gender segregated colleges.
Won't they be surprised when they discover what the world is Really like.

I think kids Should study martial arts. Because its fun.

Along the way they will develop character, spirit, physical ability, self-confidence and strong, healthy bodies, and probably grow up to become the kind of person the nobody wants to attack.And they will be able to defend themselves if necessary.

Ketsan
12-17-2007, 05:23 PM
I found in my childhood that getting a parent, or a teacher only made my life worse. Dropping that kid who was picking on me stopped all the bullys for good. To deal with bullying you have to think like a kid. What is one thing kids can't stand, kids who 'tell' on other kids to adults.

"Oh what, you need your mommy to protect you?"

If I ever have kids, they will be taught to walk away, until it's time to fight. And when it is time to fight, to leave no doubt in that kids mind that he was schooled.

Amen

Kevin Leavitt
12-17-2007, 06:42 PM
Jo wrote:

OK, lets homeschool our kids, isolate them from the media & the internet & send them to gender segregated colleges.
Won't they be surprised when they discover what the world is Really like.

Not sure what that really means. I can tell you that it does not apply to my son for sure. at 7 years old, he has been pretty much around the world, spent time in China, Poland, Czech Repbulic, went to a German School for 2 years (speaks German), and has a pretty appropriate level of exposure to how things work in the world for a 7 year old.

What he is not grappling with is adult situations an violence that is way above his pay grade.

He can tell you about the civil war. He can tell you about conflict and how it pretty much works.

He knows how rifled weapons work, and how dangerous they are because he has fired my M-4 with all my special stuff outfitted on it to kill the "bad guys". He has seen Ranger units, and special operations units train and understands that they do some pretty complex things that keep us safe.

Again, what he does not know is about the holocaust, about racial prejudice (although we are getting there at an appropriate level of education), he does not know about extreme hate and how mean and violent people in the world can be.

He does know about poor people, oppression, and that there are people in the world that do not have much. He has interacted with kids from other cultures and walks of life, and is not afraid of them, nor does he pity them. We have talked about compassion.

He gives up his old toys for Goodwill. He uses his own money to buy toys at Christmas time for a child his own age.

Not bad I think for a kid that leads a sheltered, home schooled life for the first 7 years of his life!

Marc Abrams
12-17-2007, 08:40 PM
Kevin:

I truly empathize with you on the difficulties in raising children. We have four kids: 30, 27, 24, 13. The trials over the years have been "interesting!" I, like you, have been considered a dinosaur as a parent, in comparison to the "other parents." I come from another perspective, as a psychologist and someone who spent most of his life in martial arts and fighting sports. We both share very similar concerns as to what our children are being exposed to, and when.

A number of years ago, my wife and I were on a scuba trip in a remote part of Mexico, near Belize. We met a family who had been living on a sailboat for several years, boat-schooling their children. Their daughter was 11 years old. It was jarring to see how she was an innocent 11 y/o girl who had not been overly exposed to the nonsense that they get exposed to in the NYC area. She was still a child. This was so healthy and refreshing to see and at the same time, it made me sad to think that this was what it took to allow a child to remain a child and not have to grow-up too quickly. Our society asks children to be too much like adults too soon. In terms of gender identity, aggressiveness, competitiveness, etc...

I have always insisted on certain basic tenets in my household. The most important, is that there may be no violence through word, or deed (that did not include fantasy play) in my house. Another is that people can express differences and agree to not agree, but violence is not an acceptable option under those circumstances. The violence that they were exposed to was talked about in terms of finding better ways to deal with situations. They understood that some friends and family who were L.E.'s and military had to deal with violence as part of their jobs. The children also got to know those people to see that they were kind, caring people who had tough jobs to do (as opposed to being viewed as violent people based upon chosen professions).

My children have all been exposed to very select martial arts teachers. Those teachers have always emphasized that martial arts was for self-defense and protection and never allowed for aggression. I have always been against exposing children to too much violence on tv, or even through martial arts for tot's programs. This type of exposure stylized violence in an unhealthy manner and sets-up the mindset of aggressive responses to conflicts. It is interesting that only my youngest has really shown a long-term interest and natural gift toward martial arts (my oldest boy is a naval reserves intelligence officer and up&comer at Dept. of Homeland Security and the physical contact was not for him- go figure). My youngest child (son) has been studying Karate for 8 years, and now finishing his first year of Aikido under me. He, of all of the children, displays the best control, composure and judgment when faced with potential conflicts of all four children. I truly believe that the martial arts that he has been exposed to has played a big role towards this positive development in his character.

My wife and I have always struggled with helping our children learn that freedom means the responsibility to have choices. Watching the choices that my children made/make during times of duress and conflicts have always been accurate barometers for me as to the nature of my children's character and moral compass. I would like to think that their exposure to excellent role-models in martial arts has helped them towards developing the character necessary to make good choices during difficult times.

Ushiro Sensei made a very powerful statement this summer when he said that it was better to spend three years looking for a good teacher than spending three years training with a bad teacher. With children, this is all the more important. Those early years are the foundations for the rest of their lives. Martial arts should hopefully instill in our children confidence to not have to resort to violence when faced with conflicts. It takes a good teacher to see that this lesson is learned. The proliferation of McDojo's selling their false wares to children and their parents leaves a bad taste in my mouth.They sell martial arts as effective conflict resolution and delude the parents and children that they are competent at protecting themselves.

Marc Abrams

ps.- I am now enjoying the role as a grandfather- IT IS SO MUCH EASIER THAN PARENTING!

Qatana
12-17-2007, 08:40 PM
We have a saying, in the religion that my ethnic group embraces.
"Never Forget"

What is going to happen when you r son is exposed to prejudice? When he is exposed to the hate and the meanness that most of humanity seems to have been practicing for however many thousand years.
He knows how a gun works but not that the reason for the gun's existence . He knows there is a military, obviously, but not the reason we have it?
He knows that people are hungry but not that there is enough food to go around, except that it is controlled by people who have no qualms about depriving starving people of food or medical care because of the almighty Profit.

We have to experience negativity in all its many aspects in order to rise above it. I am not doubting your son's open heart and generosity and commend you for encouraging this character. But that, combined with innocence, is , to me, a recipe for the kind of person who can get hurt, and hurt badly, when they are finally forced to confront cruelty and hate.

Its right there in Ecclesiastes.

Kevin Leavitt
12-17-2007, 09:27 PM
I tend to try and let a 7 year old boy be a 7 year old boy. Contemporary society exposes kids to way too much before they have the emotional maturity to deal with things.

Ironically, I think providing kids a home where they can know and understand what unconditional love is all about, an environment where they can learn to empathize and learn to be compassionate, and caring is what helps and gives them the strength to deal with cruelty and hatred.

If the converse is watching MTV, watching CNN when snipers are taking people out in schools, going to schools with metal detectors, being bullied, dealing with drugs etc.

That is a better environment?

Obviously there is a middle road, and most kids in the U.S. are probably on it. Some lean more to one side or the other.

My leanings is to trying my best to provide my kids an environment of my choosing, one in which I think they will deal with issues and the world in a timely manner when they have the faculties, lessons, and developed the wisdom and rational to deal with them appropriately.

I think Rousseau had some very good thoughts a while ago concerning education. Let children play and take time to grow up, there is plenty of time to learn, and they will.

lbb
12-18-2007, 07:13 AM
I find it interesting that all those disagreeing with what they call my "logic" are male. With different perspectives, to be sure, but it's interesting to hear not just similar so-called "logic", but even similar phrasings. Somehow I don't believe it's because this POV you all are espousing is a self-evident truth.

Let me try this again. Think, please, just for a minute, about the situations in which you think a child might need self-defense. Think about it honestly. Once you've discarded however many of those situations that, on reflection, really could be solved by the child some other way, you're left with a number of other situations ranging from playground scuffles to serious bullying to stranger assault (which, I believe, is by far the least likely threat of violence to a child, particularly a suburban child) to assault by someone who is known and trusted (and whom the child is told by its parents to trust and obey). In each and every one of those situations, I assert, to teach a child self-defense as the solution is like spitting on a fire. It might put out the fire...if it's a very small one. But in all cases, the fire could have and should have been prevented -- by adults. In nearly all cases, it is beyond the child's resources to solve the problem comprehensively. And yet parents march their children off to dojos for the warm and fuzzy feeling it gets them, that now their child will learn "self-defense", and gosh, at the same time will learn this "self-discipline" thing, and all those other good buzzwords. They can almost never articulate exactly what they mean by these things, they cannot describe the problem in detail or provide a sensible and logical descrption of how they think martial arts training would solve it. Maybe the sad truth is that the "problem" parents are trying to solve is their own feeling of discomfort, and if an unsupported belief that your child is learning "self-defense" will alleviate that feeling of discomfort...then the problem is solved.

Lest people continue to misunderstand my position, I'm not completely opposed to kids training martial arts. For the most part, I think it doesn't do much harm and may do some good, much as any socializing physical activity would. What I am against are unrealistic parental expectations, and parental failures to grapple with either real threats to a child's safety or their own unrealistic fears of same.

DonMagee
12-18-2007, 07:36 AM
I still think of the years I lived in fear of bullys, without friends, being picked on and beat up every single day. And how the teachers and my parents made it worse by talking to those kids parents, putting those kids in detention, and having 'sit down talks' with us. Had I had known to just put the hurting on that first kid, I would of had a happier child hood. Instead it took me till 7th grade to figure that out. Had I not figured out the solution, I'd probably been one of those kids who went terribly wrong. All the consoling, therapy, teacher intervention, and parent intervention did absolutly nothing to solve my problems, and made everything worse. Plus it did it at a time where everyone was developing faster then I was, was bigger than I was, and while I was trying to learn exactly what was going on with my place in the world. A lot more problems could of been solved a lot faster with a good quick punch to the nose.

If I ever have kids, I will teach them to knock down bullys first, and take the punishment that goes with it. And not be sorry for what they do to solve the situation.

lbb
12-18-2007, 08:11 AM
I still think of the years I lived in fear of bullys, without friends, being picked on and beat up every single day. And how the teachers and my parents made it worse by talking to those kids parents, putting those kids in detention, and having 'sit down talks' with us.

Don, I hear ya, but what that says to me is that the adults in your life didn't handle the situation effectively -- not that they shouldn't have handled it at all.

DonMagee
12-18-2007, 09:31 AM
I've thought about it a long time. I can't think of anything they could of done to solve the problem. By the time a bully is a bully, it is too late to talk him out of it.

Joseph Madden
12-18-2007, 10:44 AM
Mary, can you give us some more insight into how bullies can be more effectively dealt with, without resorting to violence. You've said that the adults have failed both groups of children. If this is the case, then why do human beings breed in the first place. If we have the gift of foresight and we know that children have been "bullied" since humanity swung from the trees, how to you stop one group from picking on the other. From an anthropological standpoint, we know that the only primate species that doesn't resort to violence as a rule when dealing with aggressive situations are the bonobos. They are a species of chimpanzee that are lead by a matriarch and that solve problems of aggression through mutual lovemaking and masturbation (current studies are ongoing). Until humanity reaches that level of understanding, the vast majority of incidents with bullies will be intervention and if that doesn't work, physical violence. That's just the way it is.

lbb
12-18-2007, 11:52 AM
Mary, can you give us some more insight into how bullies can be more effectively dealt with, without resorting to violence.
'
Did I say "without resorting to violence" anywhere?

You've said that the adults have failed both groups of children. If this is the case, then why do human beings breed in the first place.

That's a rhetorical question, one not connected to the previous statement in any way that I can see. When bullying of children is allowed to continue, then yes, adults have failed both bullies and victims. Somehow you've taken that to mean, "...and they will always fail."

If we have the gift of foresight and we know that children have been "bullied" since humanity swung from the trees, how to you stop one group from picking on the other. From an anthropological standpoint, we know that the only primate species that doesn't resort to violence as a rule when dealing with aggressive situations are the bonobos. They are a species of chimpanzee that are lead by a matriarch and that solve problems of aggression through mutual lovemaking and masturbation (current studies are ongoing).

I'm not a chimpanzee, and I don't believe in raising a child with chimpanzees as role models.

Until humanity reaches that level of understanding, the vast majority of incidents with bullies will be intervention and if that doesn't work, physical violence. That's just the way it is.

Oh, so now we've got something called "intervention" as an option? Funny, a short while back I thought that "self-defense" was the only option. Now we're getting somewhere! So what is this "intervention" of which you speak? I suspect it's something to do with -- wait for it -- adults getting involved, and not allowing the situation to proceed unchecked. Hmm, what was it I was talking about earlier?

Michael Douglas
12-18-2007, 12:02 PM
Did I say "without resorting to violence" anywhere?
You go girl! :)

Joseph Madden
12-18-2007, 12:17 PM
I may be alone in this, but I think there's something wrong if a parent sends a child to a martial arts school to learn self-defense. Either the parent is wrong about the threat to the child, and is responding inappropriately (by addressing a threat that does not exist)...or the parent is responding to a real threat, but IMO not in the right way. If a child -- remember, we're talking 9 or 5 years old here -- is threatened, it should not come down to that child's ability to fight in order to be safe. Parents, teachers and other responsible adults should be taking action; if they leave it for kids to fight it out among themselves, they're abdicating their responsibilities. Think it's a solution for your kid to learn to fight? Okay, but what if the (hypothetical) bigger, stronger kids who are bullying him/her also learn to fight? The bully wins, that's what. Any tool that your children can learn to use, the (hypothetical) bullies can learn to use too; therefore, this is an entirely inadequate solution.

I have serious reservations about children being taught martial arts for any reason. Dress it up however you like, you are teaching a child fighting skills, at an age where the lack the judgment to use these skills appropriately. It's thin ice at best, and when you do it out of the mindset of preparing your children to fight, IMO that's asking for trouble.

Mary, You've consistently advocated in all of your posts how children should not be taught how to defend themselves and that you obviously believe that using physical violence is not the way for these situations to be resolved. Intervention only works on occasion.
And not all schools have intervention programs. Not every adult has the time in their lives to spend every waking hour with their children or the children they teach. Some children choose to commit suicide rather than confronting their fears. You are essentially committed to a world where everyone lives in peaceful co-existence. For the time being, that is a fantasy. By the way, do you have any children?

lbb
12-18-2007, 12:26 PM
Mary, You've consistently advocated in all of your posts how children should not be taught how to defend themselves

No, I have not. Please stop misrepresenting what I have said.

Joseph Madden
12-18-2007, 12:33 PM
I find it interesting that all those disagreeing with what they call my "logic" are male. With different perspectives, to be sure, but it's interesting to hear not just similar so-called "logic", but even similar phrasings. Somehow I don't believe it's because this POV you all are espousing is a self-evident truth.

Let me try this again. Think, please, just for a minute, about the situations in which you think a child might need self-defense. Think about it honestly. Once you've discarded however many of those situations that, on reflection, really could be solved by the child some other way, you're left with a number of other situations ranging from playground scuffles to serious bullying to stranger assault (which, I believe, is by far the least likely threat of violence to a child, particularly a suburban child) to assault by someone who is known and trusted (and whom the child is told by its parents to trust and obey). In each and every one of those situations, I assert, to teach a child self-defense as the solution is like spitting on a fire. It might put out the fire...if it's a very small one. But in all cases, the fire could have and should have been prevented -- by adults. In nearly all cases, it is beyond the child's resources to solve the problem comprehensively. And yet parents march their children off to dojos for the warm and fuzzy feeling it gets them, that now their child will learn "self-defense", and gosh, at the same time will learn this "self-discipline" thing, and all those other good buzzwords. They can almost never articulate exactly what they mean by these things, they cannot describe the problem in detail or provide a sensible and logical descrption of how they think martial arts training would solve it. Maybe the sad truth is that the "problem" parents are trying to solve is their own feeling of discomfort, and if an unsupported belief that your child is learning "self-defense" will alleviate that feeling of discomfort...then the problem is solved.

Lest people continue to misunderstand my position, I'm not completely opposed to kids training martial arts. For the most part, I think it doesn't do much harm and may do some good, much as any socializing physical activity would. What I am against are unrealistic parental expectations, and parental failures to grapple with either real threats to a child's safety or their own unrealistic fears of same.

Perhaps in another few thousand years we will get to the point that the bonobos have reached or rather are trying to attain. In case you hadn't notice Mary, I wasn't advocating that you raise children as a chimpanzee, but that perhaps the bonobos had the right idea with regards to how to deescalate a violent situation. Nor was I comparing you to a chimpanzee. I was using the chimpanzee analogy to show how little humanity has evolved with regards to its use of violence. I, for one, would hope all adults would use any and every tool in their experience to help a child from being a bully and from being bullied. But for every good intention, sometimes the child must rely on his or her strength to make it through life.

DonMagee
12-18-2007, 12:37 PM
In my case adults got involved. First my parents called the school. I was taken to the principles office. He offered to help me. I told him the names of the children. He had a talk with them (no idea what was said). I was then beat up after school for having 'told on them'. At this point kids are suspended. I was then beat up that weekend again for 'crying to my parents'. Now my parents contacted their parents. Their parents punished the kids. Again I am beaten up. Now we are all taken into a conference room with the school admin to talk about 'the problem'. After talking about our feelings and how nobody is a loser, we are sent home and a week later I am again being picked on for being a 'dork' and a 'crybaby wuss who tells on people". Then I made the horrible mistake of wearing a martial arts shirt to school. I got beaten up for 'thinking I was tough'. The kids got in trouble, and I got beaten up for 'telling on them'. This eventually trains me to bottle up and not tell anyone I am getting beaten up because then I'll get beaten up worse. My grades suffer, I just become anti-social. My mom even took me to see a therapist. Mind you this is not just a couple kids, It wasn't as simple as kicking a few kids out of school. This is how boys operate. There is a hierarchy, and I was at the very bottom.

Finally, I get one good adult who tells me the best advice ever "You want to stop a bully, you can't let him win. You fight him with everything you got. If you lose, you come back the next day and you fight him again until eventually you beat him. Even if that means cheating." The next time I got picked on, I challenged the kid instead of sulking. He pushed me into a corner and tried to punch me in the chest. I took all that bottle anger and I whooped him good. So good he didn't come back to school for a few days. I got sent home, suspended, and NEVER picked on again for the rest of my school career. I wasn't Mr. Popular, but the lack of kids picking on me turned my attitude around, I made a lot of friends and had a great time in highschool. All because I beat up 1 bully.

That lesson holds with me to this day, I have never backed down to a bully. And most bullys seem to know this, and they don't even try to begin with.

I won't try to preach non-violence to my kids if I have them. I will tell them the same thing that was told to me about bullys. Knock em out, knock em out hard.

The biggest problem is adults do not understand the social structures of children. They seem to think kids behave rationally, or intentionally. Especially with boys, there is a need to develop a physical social structure. Anything adults try to do to upset that structure is only going to lead to the kid who 'told' being lower on the totem pole.

Joseph Madden
12-18-2007, 12:38 PM
I may be alone in this, but I think there's something wrong if a parent sends a child to a martial arts school to learn self-defense. Either the parent is wrong about the threat to the child, and is responding inappropriately (by addressing a threat that does not exist)...or the parent is responding to a real threat, but IMO not in the right way. If a child -- remember, we're talking 9 or 5 years old here -- is threatened, it should not come down to that child's ability to fight in order to be safe. Parents, teachers and other responsible adults should be taking action; if they leave it for kids to fight it out among themselves, they're abdicating their responsibilities. Think it's a solution for your kid to learn to fight? Okay, but what if the (hypothetical) bigger, stronger kids who are bullying him/her also learn to fight? The bully wins, that's what. Any tool that your children can learn to use, the (hypothetical) bullies can learn to use too; therefore, this is an entirely inadequate solution.

I have serious reservations about children being taught martial arts for any reason. Dress it up however you like, you are teaching a child fighting skills, at an age where the lack the judgment to use these skills appropriately. It's thin ice at best, and when you do it out of the mindset of preparing your children to fight, IMO that's asking for trouble.

Were you misrepresented here?

Joseph Madden
12-18-2007, 12:39 PM
Violence was a fact of life for some of the at-risk youth you taught. It is not a fact of life for most suburban children. Furthermore, back to my earlier point: if it is a fact of the child's life, there are more effective and appropriate responses than teaching the child self-defense. If you send a child to a martial arts school to learn self-defense, but do nothing else to address the threat of violence in the child's life, that's like driving a car with no brakes and installing an extra-big airbag as a solution.

Or here?

Joseph Madden
12-18-2007, 12:40 PM
I find it interesting that all those disagreeing with what they call my "logic" are male. With different perspectives, to be sure, but it's interesting to hear not just similar so-called "logic", but even similar phrasings. Somehow I don't believe it's because this POV you all are espousing is a self-evident truth.

Let me try this again. Think, please, just for a minute, about the situations in which you think a child might need self-defense. Think about it honestly. Once you've discarded however many of those situations that, on reflection, really could be solved by the child some other way, you're left with a number of other situations ranging from playground scuffles to serious bullying to stranger assault (which, I believe, is by far the least likely threat of violence to a child, particularly a suburban child) to assault by someone who is known and trusted (and whom the child is told by its parents to trust and obey). In each and every one of those situations, I assert, to teach a child self-defense as the solution is like spitting on a fire. It might put out the fire...if it's a very small one. But in all cases, the fire could have and should have been prevented -- by adults. In nearly all cases, it is beyond the child's resources to solve the problem comprehensively. And yet parents march their children off to dojos for the warm and fuzzy feeling it gets them, that now their child will learn "self-defense", and gosh, at the same time will learn this "self-discipline" thing, and all those other good buzzwords. They can almost never articulate exactly what they mean by these things, they cannot describe the problem in detail or provide a sensible and logical descrption of how they think martial arts training would solve it. Maybe the sad truth is that the "problem" parents are trying to solve is their own feeling of discomfort, and if an unsupported belief that your child is learning "self-defense" will alleviate that feeling of discomfort...then the problem is solved.

Lest people continue to misunderstand my position, I'm not completely opposed to kids training martial arts. For the most part, I think it doesn't do much harm and may do some good, much as any socializing physical activity would. What I am against are unrealistic parental expectations, and parental failures to grapple with either real threats to a child's safety or their own unrealistic fears of same.

Or even here? Your last statement seems to advocate that your not really opposed to martial arts training as it may do some good. Would that good include teaching the child how to defend themselves? Or that the child use said arts to defend themselves in case they are attacked? Or do you believe it will just give them something to do on a Saturday morning like soccer practice.

Joseph Madden
12-18-2007, 12:47 PM
In my case adults got involved. First my parents called the school. I was taken to the principles office. He offered to help me. I told him the names of the children. He had a talk with them (no idea what was said). I was then beat up after school for having 'told on them'. At this point kids are suspended. I was then beat up that weekend again for 'crying to my parents'. Now my parents contacted their parents. Their parents punished the kids. Again I am beaten up. Now we are all taken into a conference room with the school admin to talk about 'the problem'. After talking about our feelings and how nobody is a loser, we are sent home and a week later I am again being picked on for being a 'dork' and a 'crybaby wuss who tells on people". Then I made the horrible mistake of wearing a martial arts shirt to school. I got beaten up for 'thinking I was tough'. The kids got in trouble, and I got beaten up for 'telling on them'. This eventually trains me to bottle up and not tell anyone I am getting beaten up because then I'll get beaten up worse. My grades suffer, I just become anti-social. My mom even took me to see a therapist. Mind you this is not just a couple kids, It wasn't as simple as kicking a few kids out of school. This is how boys operate. There is a hierarchy, and I was at the very bottom.

Finally, I get one good adult who tells me the best advice ever "You want to stop a bully, you can't let him win. You fight him with everything you got. If you lose, you come back the next day and you fight him again until eventually you beat him. Even if that means cheating." The next time I got picked on, I challenged the kid instead of sulking. He pushed me into a corner and tried to punch me in the chest. I took all that bottle anger and I whooped him good. So good he didn't come back to school for a few days. I got sent home, suspended, and NEVER picked on again for the rest of my school career. I wasn't Mr. Popular, but the lack of kids picking on me turned my attitude around, I made a lot of friends and had a great time in highschool. All because I beat up 1 bully.

That lesson holds with me to this day, I have never backed down to a bully. And most bullys seem to know this, and they don't even try to begin with.

I won't try to preach non-violence to my kids if I have them. I will tell them the same thing that was told to me about bullys. Knock em out, knock em out hard.

The biggest problem is adults do not understand the social structures of children. They seem to think kids behave rationally, or intentionally. Especially with boys, there is a need to develop a physical social structure. Anything adults try to do to upset that structure is only going to lead to the kid who 'told' being lower on the totem pole.

Don, I think you and I were failed by the system. We had to take care of the problem ourselves. At least we didn't do it with automatic gun fire in a cafeteria.

DonMagee
12-18-2007, 01:22 PM
Luckily the guy who gave me the advice that solved my problem was a old teacher who was sick of watching the 'PC' approach to helping kids. So I guess the teachers did indeed help me. Just goes to show that the old ways are sometimes the best ways.

Joseph Madden
12-18-2007, 01:49 PM
Strange that you mentioned how your teacher helped you in the end. In my case while attending junior high, the day I fought back took place in music class. The bullies couldn't believe I had reacted that way and complained to the teacher. The same teacher they had bullied into crying one day by ignoring her and picking on her. Suffice it to say, the incident went unreported and I was never bothered by those bullies again. I could tell by the look on her face that she was happy that somebody finally dealt with them. I guess in the end, the system failed both her and I until I took action.

Ron Tisdale
12-18-2007, 01:50 PM
Haven't read the whole thread yet, but after reading a couple of Don's posts, I have to say they resonate with me.

The thing about standing up to a bully, is even if you lose, you get respect just for standing up. After a while, most bullies get tired of it, and leave it alone, knowing they'll take some hits, you'll get respect for standing up for yourself, and everyone else gets bored.

Sometimes though, more drastic options are called for. And once you start down that path, it just takes a stubborn bully for an escalating war to start. Who knows where that can end? The world is a very different place from when I was that age.

When I was faced with a bunch of idiots stoning me in the woods, I went home, put my german shepherd on a long chain, and went hunting :D Nobody ever threw rocks at me again.

Today, someone might go get a gun. Not good. I'm really not sure what I would tell a child today, but it might well be something like what Don said if it was in the suburbs. In the city?? Like North Philly? No way...

And that is really the shame of it. Kids will be kids, should be kids, and pretty much need to work out some of their issues on their own. But when it gets to the point where that involves gunplay, knives, and other types of leathal encounters...I think our society has failed kids in a major way.

Best,
Ron

Joseph Madden
12-18-2007, 01:53 PM
Excellent points Ron. It is a different age. The incidents of female on female and even male on female/female on male violence had risen significantly in the past few decades. And this is with intervention techniques. We now have cyber-bullying. How does a child deal with that? Perhaps we can create a form of cyber-self defense?

lbb
12-18-2007, 02:13 PM
Perhaps in another few thousand years we will get to the point that the bonobos have reached or rather are trying to attain. In case you hadn't notice Mary, I wasn't advocating that you raise children as a chimpanzee, but that perhaps the bonobos had the right idea with regards to how to deescalate a violent situation. Nor was I comparing you to a chimpanzee. I was using the chimpanzee analogy to show how little humanity has evolved with regards to its use of violence. I, for one, would hope all adults would use any and every tool in their experience to help a child from being a bully and from being bullied. But for every good intention, sometimes the child must rely on his or her strength to make it through life.

I think we're a lot closer to agreement than we are to disagreement, really. I think that if someone feels the need for a child to be taught self-defense, clearly there's a problem -- and it's a specific problem, not just the vague pathos of the human condition. The problem could be in one of several areas:

1. The parent (or whoever) could have a distorted idea of threat to the child. This isn't as bad as the kid getting stomped, but it is a problem.

2. The parent (or whoever) could perceive a real threat to the child, but be turning to self-defense as the solution of first (or early) resort. That's a problem, too. The kid may be able to learn adequate self-defense against some schoolyard bullies, but not against an assailant who is significantly larger, and meanwhile you've conveyed to the kid that adults are powerless to help (or will not help) -- it's up to you and your fists.

3. The parent (or whoever) could perceive a real threat to the kid, and be turning to self-defense as a solution after things have gotten to a very bad state. Again, I don't think that the level of physical self-defense a child can learn will be adequate here.

In summary, I don't think it's the best solution for a real or perceived threat to a child, and when people turn to it as a solution, I have to wonder -- what else have you done to address the problem? What was the result, and why do you think this will work better? That's one reason why I have reservations about kids training martial arts.

lbb
12-18-2007, 02:16 PM
Or even here?

Joseph, how can I be misrepresented by my own words? You misrepresent them when you say that I said something I didn't. Now, can you please leave off the copious and repeated cut and paste? Address my points; don't just keep cutting and pasting and repeating the same thing.

Ron Tisdale
12-18-2007, 02:20 PM
Hi Mary,

I think your original statement was reservations about kids training martial arts for self defense. I think I share those specific reservations. More than that, whenever friends with kids who know I train ask, I tell them to get their kids into a judo program or wrestling or boxing first. Then, if they want to do a "MA" later, sure. Later pretty much being in the teens. I think martial sports are great for kids, and give a more realistic background for martial art in any case.

Self defense? That is a tough nut, for children or adults. Not sure I would recommend the German Shepherd approach to anyone... :D

Best,
Ron

gdandscompserv
12-18-2007, 03:18 PM
We have a pretty good example of a youngster postively implementing skills I believe he attained at the dojo right here:
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=12436&highlight=silver+valley
I agree that it is the adult's responsibility to make school a safe environment for all of them. That clearly isn't happening. I also feel it advantageous to give youngsters alternatives. Teaching youngsters martial arts should not be an alternative to creating safe schools, but I feel like it gives them a set of tools to deal with situations like bullying and other types of aggressive behavoir. I am unable to have as much impact on school policy, and believe me, I try :D ,) as I am on the youngsters I teach. The kids seem much more open and receptive to learning than the administrators I have dealt with.

Faith Hansen
12-19-2007, 08:15 AM
Right on Ricky. :)

Also, I disagree with you Mary and I'm a female. I don't think its only the male perspective that disagrees with you. They just happen to be vocal at the moment.

The world should be kept safe for children, by the adults. But we have to realize that it doesn't always happen. I know from my experience teaching kids Aikido how good martial arts can be for children. It is a great tool for them. And what they get from it isn't all "self defense".....its balance, control, respect, courage, loyalty, honor....I can go on and on about the benefits. I could get testimony from every single one of our many parents about how much their kids have benefited from martial arts. Kids have a right to be able to stand up for themselves. And they have the right to have the tools to do so. We can't assume that every day, every single minute, every single instance that there will be an adult present to handle every bad situation that a child gets into. Plus, isn't that part of growing up? Learning to stand up for yourself and handle your own problems?

Ron Tisdale
12-19-2007, 10:29 AM
I'll just point out Faith that most of your points do not pertain to a child physically defending themselves from an attack, which was Mary's main point.

Especially since most (I know, not all, your 12 year old BB is the exception) MAs for kids = Kiddie Day Care in Angry White Pajamas (KDCAWP [TM]), if I may borrow the phrase... :D

Best,
Ron

Faith Hansen
12-19-2007, 10:48 AM
That is true Ron, you caught me....:). I wanted to make the point that aside from the "self defense" aspect (which I personally think is valid) many martial arts for kids have many, many other aspects to them. And yes, many can be kiddie day care. :)
A case in point for Kiddie Self Defense:
One of our 7 year olds was being hassled at school and was grabbed from behind at school. He executed a technique we had taught him, and escaped the grab. The other child was not injured and didn't bother him again.
We have a bunch of accounts like this. The experience always gives the kids a good boost in self esteem.
Plus, martial arts can also teach many good aspects in Self Protection for kids......so they are more apt to keep themselves out of fights. Eh? :)

Joseph Madden
12-19-2007, 12:32 PM
I'll concede that teaching someone as young as 5 or 6 years old a martial art is a waste of time. The most you can expect the child to receive is physical exercise (which most of us will agree is a good thing). However, once the child has reached adolescence I think the self defense aspects of a martial art can be of great benefit, with regards to protecting the young person from threats, if the system fails them which it can on occasion. As I stated previously, any tools we can give the child the better, as long as they receive guidance from capable people.

DonMagee
12-19-2007, 12:58 PM
Last night I went to judo. I am unable to train because of my injury. Instead I helped teach the kids so the usual kids teacher could join in the throw line. We have some very young kids, I think they are 7 at the tops, probably 5 or 6. They mostly play a lot of games for physical fitness and do very little actual judo (this is the YMCA and our coach really focuses on the kids who want to learn judo, the rest he lets play sumo and other games). I decided that we were going to do only judo if I was teaching it. So we did ogoshi, osoto gari, kouchi gari, and ippon seonage. Now the kids knew the first two, but they had never been show ippon. So we worked it for about 10 minutes, same with kouch gari. I had them do 20 uchi komi of each throw on each side. So 40 total for each throw.

During this we had 2 boys really fall in love with a throw, one boy picked up seonage and was actually teaching another boy to throw it better. Another boy did the same with kouchi gari. Both of these kids were 7 or under (I think, I'm not good at judging ages, but they are very little kids, so small I can carry 5 or 6 at a time) and neither of them had been shown these throws before. Then we worked on pinning, and did some positional sparing on the ground. With one kid trying to escape the pin, and one kid trying to hold the kid down, then switching. Then we practiced one pin escape, and did some more sparing. With about 10 minutes left in the class, I asked my teacher if we could allow the kids to do randori, which is something I have not seen the young kids do before (usually the 10 and 12 year olds do). He agreed so I paired them up and got them to it.

The kid who had taken to seonage literally walked up the other kid ran up to attack and he would grab the kid and throw him within a split second. He threw every single time, each randori being easily under 5 seconds. I actually had to tell him after the 4th or 5th round that he was not allowed to do seonage until the next class. It was only then that he started getting into a struggle and was thrown a few times. Another kid has mild success with kouchi gari, but he had problems keeping his weight in the right direction and usually fell down with his opponent on top of him. By the end of the class, then were asking the first kid for help with seonage, he was helping them and they didn't play a single 'game' the entire time I worked with them. Their martial art practice was no different that an adults and they learned valuable skills for defending themselves against schoolyard bullys.

I think children should start in judo as young as possible. As soon as they can follow basic instruction. By the time they are 12, they will be a force to recon with for kids their age trying to hurt them and even to some adults. One of my best training partners was winning adult judo events at 14.

Sam Turnage
12-20-2007, 11:15 AM
No Judo in the Grass Valley Nevada City/ Auburn area anymore that I can find.
:freaky: :crazy:

Marc Abrams
12-20-2007, 01:59 PM
Don:

Good story! I truly believe that the quality of the teacher makes more of a difference than most martial arts or sports. I have seen similar results with children being well-schooled in karate, wrestling, and Aikido.

I think that one of the important advantages of teaching children Aikido is that they easily pick up the paradigm of not-fighting in order to stop conflicts. Our society easily teaches a fighting/competitive paradigm to children at a very early age. I know, I was a product of that teaching. I am simply impressed to see how children have been able to use the principles of Aikido to have more "tools" to handle conflicts.

That being said, my youngest son still trains in karate and in Aikido. I believe that the more tools that we have to handle life, the better decisions we learn to make. I find that he has become a much better fighter as well, now that he is better at being centered. He not giving away "information" and reacting to movements.in kumite.

Marc Abrams

Kevin Leavitt
12-20-2007, 07:23 PM
Yesterday morning I went to my 7 year old's Gymnastic class for the first time to watch. You know about half the class could have been a kids judo class. Not much difference at that age between the classes. Both work on developing core abilities of balance and strength. Also listening, respect, and all that good stuff too!

Again, about half the class was the same. Obviously when they start focusing on the technical stuff, well gymnastics does gymnastic stuff and judo does judo.

The point is, that there is a basic curriculum that should be taught in all these types of classes to develop the skills needed for physical activity.

If it does not do this, and they spend all the time kicking and punching or doing all that cool stuff...then I'd say that they are probably being too focused on technique.

I just went back and read Gakku Homma Sensei's book. Good book on "Children in the Martial Arts". Lots of good stuff in there, again, it supports what I just said above too.

Marc Abrams
12-21-2007, 06:54 AM
Kevin:

My school has been open almost one year now. The number of parents who called to enroll their young children (under 6 years of age) in a martial arts was astounding. I spoke honestly to the parents as a martial arts teacher and a psychologist (post-doc in child psychology as well) and recommended STRONGLY against children under 1st grade being enrolled in a martial arts program. I STRONGLY recommended gymnastics as the best way to help a young child develop coordination, strength, agility,.... Heck, it worked for my kids.

Marc Abrams