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Old 05-30-2005, 12:10 PM   #1
ChrisHein's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido of Fresno
Location: Fresno , CA
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 1,646
Martial arts and Children.

Every time someone asks me what I do, and I say " I teach Martial Arts", they exclaim " Oh thats great, you love kids huh!" The first time I heard this I couldn't understand what they were talking about-"kids really don't have anything to do with Martial Arts". Then it just kept happening. Why do people attach the idea of children and Martial Arts? In my mind, kids don't really even get what Martial Arts are all about. It's hard to teach a kid the principal of Aiki, and it's even harder to find a child who cares about it.
Why are Americans so stuck on this idea, and do you think it's good or bad? I myself think it's ashame that people don't see the benefits that adults can gain from Martial Arts!

-Chris Hein
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Old 05-30-2005, 12:28 PM   #2
Jorge Garcia
Dojo: Shudokan School of Aikido
Location: Houston
Join Date: Jun 2001
Posts: 608
Re: Martial arts and Children.

I think that perception is due to the commercialization of martial arts in the U.S. and the "success" that some styles have had in creating cash flow. That cash flow creation came about through contract programs using tons of kids being run through a system. That is how the public perception was created. Almost everyone has a son, cousin, nephew or friend that knows some one who took blank blank do with Master C______. When they went to that school, it was about 100 kids and 15 adults. Ergo, perception created.

"It is the philosophy that gives meaning to the method of training."
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Old 05-30-2005, 04:33 PM   #3
Dojo: Aikidog Aikikai
Location: Massachusetts
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 199
Re: Martial arts and Children.

I agree, it's perception because of what's around the most. Here in Massachusetts, pretty much every town has a karate school and bigger towns and cities have more than one -- so we're talking about having a karate school every ten miles or less. And they're all primarily for kids, advertising that it teaches fitness and self-discipline and some say self-defense. So in general, when someone thinks of Martial Arts they think of karate -- and then they'll either think "Bruce Lee" (or "Jackie Chan") or if they're more realistic they'll think of all those kids taking karate.

I help teach at a karate school in town that has over 100 kids in classes all week and has maybe 20 adults. I have to say, the exercise, self-discipline, self-confidence and physical self-control it teaches these kids is good -- I can usually see a big difference in the kids after several weeks of classes. I can easily see that Aikido would have a similar benefit, but you're right that it's harder to explain to kids. But they do love ukemi!
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Old 05-30-2005, 07:03 PM   #4
Charles Hill
Dojo: Numazu Aikikai/Aikikai Honbu Dojo
Location: Three Lakes WI/ Mishima Japan
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 837
Re: Martial arts and Children.

Chris Hein wrote:
Why are Americans so stuck on this idea,
Please believe me, it is the same in Japan.

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Old 05-31-2005, 02:55 AM   #5
stuartjvnorton's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido Shudokan
Location: Melbourne
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 225
Re: Martial arts and Children.

Studies have shown that marital arts produce far more kids than martial arts ever have.
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Old 05-31-2005, 03:44 AM   #6
Location: Frederick, MD
Join Date: Sep 2000
Posts: 509
Re: Martial arts and Children.

It's a combination of marketing and survival tactics.

If you're running a commercial dojo, one of the easiest ways to maintain positive cash flow is to run children's classes. Sadly, many of those are essentially babysitting services, but there are some truly wonderful kids' programs.

Between the cattle-call style of business to keep the kids classes full, and the media proliferation of Mighty Mulching Powre Mowers and their ilk, it's no wonder that martial arts are identified as kid-centric.

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Old 05-31-2005, 06:55 AM   #7
Dojo: Shobu Aikido Cape Cod
Location: Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 152
Re: Martial arts and Children.

I have a small class on Cape Cod.I have had some kids in class. And people are surprised that there are not more kids in class. One of the issues is that kids want to kick and punch and do what they see on TV. It is difficult to tell a young kid that he/she do not have to learn how to pound another kid into the ground to be cool. So they move on to a karate dojo.
Not all other MA dojos that teach kids are only trying to produce a huge cash flow. I know a couple of Tang Soo Do instructors that have been teaching kids for so many years, that now, the kids of the original kids are studying under the same instructors.

But that, unfortunately, is not the norm.....

But if parents can find a school of any martial art that has a good set of instructors, who are more concerned with what they teach, and that the result of their teaching is a well rounded child, instead of the 30 dollars they will receive each time the child passes another belt/stripe test.....then the child will be very lucky.....

But.....the point of this thread is that many associate martial arts teaching and kids as one.
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