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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a dd (age 12) that has wanted to take martial arts for a long time. We've never been able to justify the expense of money and time before, but I'm wondering if any other parents have seen distinct attitude or behavior improvements as a result of their child taking martial arts lessons.<br><br>
The schools always talk about the self-discipline and respect that they teach, but I was wondering if anyone has seen some real improvements in those areas after enrolling their child in lessons.<br><br>
DD is a good child but we struggle in some areas. I've been thinking that if it would help her behavior (specifically self-discipline, respect and confidence), we may be willing to give it a try. She currently participates in other sports (soccer right now), so I am looking for feedback specific to martial arts.
 

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My own son is too young for lessons, but my husband used to study intensively in the martial arts. I can tell you that it really can be true, it makes a huge difference in a lot of people.<br><br>
I would also mention that self defense skills can't in any way be a BAD thing for a young woman <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
Anywhere you want to sign her up should give a free couple lessons to try it out before committing so you can both get a better idea of what it's really like.
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/truedat.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Truedat"> What she said!<br><br>
My DH has a black belt in Isshin-Ryu Karate, taught for some time, is now teaching our 6 yo. and she loves it - like pp mentioned, I want my daughters to be able to defend themselves. He has refused to teach our 9 yo (NLD - a neurological disorder) due to her attitude, enjoying hitting, not wanting to learn the appropriate attitude.<br><br>
The dojo my DH went to, you could see it in the kids who went there, how respectful and disciplined they were. They carry themselves well - they learn respect for themselves, as well as for others.<br><br>
Definitely check out anywhere you are considering, watch a few lessons, talk to other parents there, then get in on a couple "try it" lessons. There is a wide variety of styles, approaches, and teaching method
 

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as someone who has practiced martial arts for many years, i can honestly tell you that it saved my life. the discipline...i really needed.<br><br>
the mental discipline you take is amazing. there's not a way to even explain it...but the absolute control you must have over your body transfers over into your daily life. my grades shot up, my confrontations with others shot down...my self-esteem improved immensely.<br><br>
if she's interested, by all means, get her in! especially since she's right on the cusp of those lovely teen years...this could make all the difference in the world.
 

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My younger brother is now 18 & he's been doing various martial arts since he was 8 or 9. It gave him a sense of focus, a safe place to take out the anger he had in a safe way, a sense of purpose, and really calmed him down. Now he does Lotus Kung Fu, Thai kickboxing, and one other one that I can't remember. At one point he was also doing Judo and Tang Su Do, for a total of five; he had practices every night, and M/W was two, and it was great for him. He focuses most on the Kung Fu now and I <i>think</i> he's up to a purple belt at this point, while in the others he goes not for the moving up in the ranks but the awesome workout and the sense of focus and purpose he gets. My mom was really hesitant to let him at first, especially since my dad's been a brown belt in Tae Kwon Do (sp?) for a long time but he can't get his black belt because he broke some kid's hand when he was teaching because he was sparring without pads, so my mom thought it was dangerous & whatever. But if you don't have an idiot for a teacher (my dad's a dim bulb at best), it's safe. She'll get a really intense workout, strengthen her core, gain confidence as she moves up and gets better at sparring, and if the dojo is anything like my brother's and the others I've been to, there is a philosophical question posed at the end of every session, to get the mind working as hard as the body has been.
 

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subb'ing to hear the responses......<br><br>
I've been thinking about signing DS up for lessons. DP trained for a while and really liked it, but thinks DS isn't mentally ready - maybe later this year. I actually want to sign up for lessons where DS and I can go together. It's always been something I've wanted to do.
 

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Highly recommend it. Both kids take it. DD is almost a black belt. Ds is a purple. As pp as said, it can make a huge difference in a kid's life. At least for my dc, where they take class has become a second home.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
thanks so much for the responses, this is very encouraging. after talking to my partner I think we'll check out a few test lessons at a school that other parents have recommended to us.
 

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Most dojos here welcome you to come and observe, and then allow a free lesson. If the teacher does not think your child is ready for martial arts, she will tell you. My daughter was involved in Issin-Ryu Karate from 4th through 9th grades, and the first few belts involved proficiency in the katas. Sparring didn't take place until later, and great care was taken to ensure that sparring ONLY took place on the mat, during class time, and under supervision.<br><br>
Martial arts helped my daughter's self-confidence tremendously! In addition to being good exercise, it boosted her self confidence, her self-respect, and her respect for others. We found it to be just as much about respect and discipline as it was about self-defense.
 

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Personally I think it really depends on the dojo and the art. Some martial arts have a lot of agression (judo, jujitsu) not that the overall philosophy is wrong, but sometimes in training, people, especially beginners tend to react in an overly aggressive way. Taekwondo I have found has some of the same problems, but mostly the problem I have had with Taekwondo is that often it embraces the strip-mall mentallity, very little of the meditation, philosophy, and attitude of the original art are preserved in most of the classes I have seen/attended.<br><br>
The best martial arts I have seen/taken in urban/suburban america have been Karate and Aikido. I have found that almost all dojos seem to try at least superficially to preserve the siritual harmonious balance that is so key to the sport as a philosophy and art.<br><br>
I am especially fond of aikido because<br>
1) there are no competetions<br>
2) the primary goal of Aikido as a fighting style is to prevent physical harm to yourself AND your attacker.<br>
3) there are no punches and almost no attacks at all, it is the ultimate defensive art<br>
4) Every Aikido dojo I have ever seen, read about, and visited has preserved the vision and spirituality of balance and non-violent defense. <a href="http://www.aikiweb.com/general/founder.html" target="_blank">http://www.aikiweb.com/general/founder.html</a><br>
5) Aikido is often cheaper.<br>
6) Aikido requires a partner, this means it can be a parent-child activity, a social activity for the child, and it also means that usually dojo members are welcome to come to as many classes as they wish, because head count is key.<br>
7) Aikido, since it focuses on converting attacker energy and not strikes, is ideal for self defense where the attacker is much bigger than the defender, this makes it particularly useful for a young girl to use for real life self-defense.
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lurk.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lurk">:
 

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Have to agree w/ShaggyDaddy - my DH studied aikido for some time, but when we moved he hasn't been able to find a dojo. Even before we moved, he was driving about 45 minutes each way, but he felt it was worth it. This was after he achieved black belt in Isshin-Ryu karate.<br><br>
enkmom - did your dd go to Rocky's? We used to live in the Far West 'burbs!
 

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Our whole family takes TwaeKwon-Doe, even my mother and my cousin!<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> My oldest ds started when he was almost 10yo, that was 3 years ago now. I had resisted because he was prone to agression and I thought it might enforce that. The opposite happened. The outlet, disipline and structure was terrific for him. I was so impressed that the rest of us started. It has made a positive impact in all of our lives. I can't say enough about it! I have a very limited income and it is expensive but worth every penny. Ds is now a blue belt, I am a green belt, dd is a green stripe and ds is still in the Little Dragons program. Oh, and my newest dd participates strapped to my chest or back!<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"><br><br>
In my area there are 3 different TwaeKwon-Doe schools and they are radically different from each other. While I am in love with ours I have heard things about the other ones that do not impress me. I think checking any school out throroughly is a good idea.
 

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We do aikido--ds who's 6.5, and myself, and occasionally my hubby and 4 yo ;-)<br><br>
it's really been a HUGE help in our lives--dealing with the aggression in the 6 yo, my anger generally, and in our relationship.<br><br>
glad you are going to check it out. I hope you find a great school / dojo.
 

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My middle son wanted to study martial arts for what I think are all the wrong reasons - had a friend who did, thought it looked cool, etc. I rejected the American run chain facilities very quickly. But when I found a Tae Kwon Do studio run by an old grand master I thought I would give it a try.<br><br>
I find that when the study sticks more closely to the "self-defense only," meditation, self-discipline aspects of the art form it is good for everyone. But even the grand master can indulge in sexist "be a strong boy" "boys don't cry" crap I find harmful. All three of my sons now do it and I think it is mostly a very good experience for them - they gain a sense of mastery and it is very good exercise - but some of the other kids who study have sterotypical sideline fathers and are very competitive and too rough. My kids have been injured a few times. I have had to have several firm talks with the grand master about how he is allowed to talk to my sons and I have even told him that I would take my kids off the mat if one of his teachers (a macho American guy in his early twenties who once told one of my kids to "walk it off" when he had broken a growth plate in his foot) was put in charge of the class. I don't have my kids belt test as often as most of the other kids but at this point, because my kids have not burnt out as so many have, my kids are some of the longest lasting students.<br><br>
My completely biased view - it can be great but watch carefully and don't go near a program run by an American or run by a chain.
 

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My boys have been going to a Kyushindo Karate class locally for a term now which they really enjoy. Neither of them are 'sporty' but this mixed class for 5 year olds to 70yo is very different to the usual cut and thrust of team sports which their friends take part in.<br><br>
They were able to visit a couple of times and see what they thought and ds2 is still not a club member.<br><br>
I wasn't looking for any change in their behaviour from attending the class per se but ds2 said that he used some of the breathing colours technique they practice there to calm the horrible feelings he had in his stomach when we all suffered a gastro bug in the holidays.<br><br>
I am also happy that they are doing something alongside dads, mums, the guy from Domino Pizza, older girls from school, younger children of my own friends and other people from our small town. There seem to be few activities which are so multi-generational and all-welcoming.
 

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This is a great thread. Both of my kids (almost 10 and almost 13) are in Kuk Sool Won - a Korean form of martial arts. They have been going for a little over a year and it's been a wonderful growing experience for us. The studio where they go is a close knit group and they all look out for each other. My kids have formed very close friendships and they've developed a healthy respect for their teachers.<br><br>
What I love most about martial arts is that it's skill based. As your skills improve, you start training the newer students, so there is a sense of responsibility that they gain. When my kids first started, they were often trained by a 7 year old who was almost a black belt. It really taught them to respect people for their abilities and not just because of their age or rank.<br><br>
They recently started taking the weapons class which made me nervous at first, but it's been great to see them sharpening their skills. They're not anxious to hurt others, but they do take pride in their skills.<br><br>
I would suggest taking your child to a trial lesson first to see if they like it. We went to two different schools and the first was very good, but dd really connected to the 2nd one.
 

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Our family is really enjoying Martial Arts. The director is family focused, gentle with the kids and understands that all kids are at all different places. His class room structure (in a gym) has space for disciplined excersise and working on kada's (forms), and he has all kids teaching all the other kids.<br><br>
My kids have taken this for one year. The year before, they took Taikwondo, and I did too. We really loved this particular martial arts, and for both Taikwando and Karate, we have made many wonderful friends, adults and children. My kids even attended the Karate Summer Camp this year, and I think they felt a little depressed after it was over! One of my daughters would really like to do soccer, and she would be good, but with Karate, Bharatanatyam (Indian Classical Dance), Girls Scouts and my son's Boy Choir, our family is over flowing with wonderful things to do.<br><br>
If a child is interested in doing a martial arts (that is key) then I would highly recommend it. I only wish I could have defended myself when I was raped as a 17 year old.
 
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