In the martial arts academy that I founded in California, I sometimes get calls from anxious parents, wondering if their children can begin taking classes with me. These parents want to allow their children the opportunity to experience some of the amazing benefits of the martial arts, but they worry that the classes will be too focused on violence, and their children will be injured in the process. While there is no universal age at which it’s best to begin learning, as each child is different and matures a bit differently, there are a few guidelines parents can follow when they’re debating this important question.
Martial arts lessons require a significant amount of concentration.
Instructors expect their students to watch the demonstrations carefully,
and then repeat the movements just as they have been shown. Very young
children often don’t have the ability to stay still and listen for long
periods of time, and these youngsters may find the classes to be
intensely boring. These children may begin to act up and act out, just
so they’ll have something to do and something to focus their excess
energy upon. Misbehaving children can be incredibly distracting and hard
to deal with, and frankly, many martial arts facilities just don’t have
the ability to provide child care for those little ones who are
uninspired and acting out. For this reason, I don’t think children
younger than 3 should attend martial arts classes, and children ages 4
to 5 could benefit, if they are children known for their adult nature
and respect for authority figures.
Children ages 7 and up I think are at just the right age to learn the
martial arts. This can be a tricky time for children, in which they’re
asked to maneuver the adult world when they don’t really have the skills
or the confidence to do so properly. Without a little help and
guidance, children at this age can quickly go astray, leaning on drugs
or alcohol or developing violent tendencies as they learn to deal with
impending adulthood. Martial arts can help these children to learn
discipline and self-control, and courses can provide students with the
confidence they’ll need in order to become healthy and happy adults.
Courses for students in this age group are almost invaluable.
About the Author:
Grandmaster Dr. Tae Yun Kim
is one of the highest ranking martial artists in the world. She began
her training at the age of 7, and now teaches a new generation at the
Jung SuWon Martial Art Academy in California. Grandmaster Dr. Tae Yun
Kim is also a respected author, speaker and business leader.