School for a 4 1/2 year old?

Discussion in 'Beginners Corner' started by brandond, Jan 30, 2013.

  1. brandond

    brandond White Belt

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    Hi everyone - first post. I've spent some time in the stickied items, and also looked at the FAQ, but still need some help getting started.

    My son is 4 1/2 and really wants to learn martial arts. He's talked about it almost every day for the last year. Alas, I know absolutely nothing about martial arts, and have some questions.

    First, are there schools that take children this young? Secondly, does anyone have a recommendation for a school in Chicago?

    I plan to visit the schools, I'm just having a hard time knowing where to start.

    Really appreciate any advice, and sorry in advance for the basic question!

    Best,
    Brandon
     
  2. rlobrecht

    rlobrecht Brown Belt

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    The school I attend has a program called Little Ninjas for 4-6 year olds. It's 30 minutes twice a week of something I like to call Martial Play. Yes, there's a uniform, and even a belt system, and there's some punching and kicking, but its not really martial arts.

    I can't help you with Chicago.

    One thing I'd like to recommend is for you to find a school where you and your son can both train. You're going to be there anyway, its generally a good work out, is a lot of fun, and its very rewarding to do a program like this together.

    Good luck with your search.
     
  3. EddieCyrax

    EddieCyrax Blue Belt

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    Clarifying questions:

    - Where has your son gotten his exposure to martial arts, as it appears your family is not currently training in one?
    - What does he (your son) think martial arts is? He was 3.5 when he started talking about it? (KungFu Panda?)
    - What do you want/expect out of introducing your son to martial arts?
    - You understand that all martial arts are based on combat? Some schools are geared towards the sport, some self-defence, some in between.

    My general advise would be you google or pull out a paper phone book and look for schools in your area. Then I would go visit them all. You will be able to ask your questions, expose your son to how the schools are run, and determine as a parent if you believe you son is mature enough.

    At this early age, many kids interests vary quickly. Training is not as glamorous as movies and cartoons. Repetition, drilling, and exercise, although excellent for the body and its development, are not always as interesting once tried.

    4.5 is very young. My school begins at 5, and I would argue a handful of the ones we have at that age are not mature enough.

    My 2 cents.
     
  4. Monkey Turned Wolf

    Monkey Turned Wolf MT Moderator Staff Member

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    I cant help out with chicago, but I would suggest finding a school with an instructor you like. Most schools have a little dragon program, and at that age, the style honestly doesn't matter since they can grow to be good in any martial art, and most likely will not even have any care about this style vs. that style. Just find a school with an instructor who looks like he's good with kids and the kids are having fun, and have him try it out. Pretty easy to tell if a kid likes it or not :)
     
  5. sfs982000

    sfs982000 Master Black Belt

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    I would definitely check out a few different places to find a school that you both like, the majority of schools nowadays have some sort of children's program. I would also recommend looking into one that you might like to join yourself most places offer a trial membership that you can both try out and see if you like it.
     
  6. Gemini

    Gemini Senior Master

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    There are many Yong-In schools in the Chicago area. They are Kukkiwon affiliated Taekwondo and have programs designed specifically for little ones. Tiny tigers, etc..As mentioned by rlobrecht above, these programs seem more like playtime, but are very effective by keeping kids engaged while introducing them to a martial arts culture. Two of my three boys started at that age and have actively trained ever since. If you want to give me a more specific area you're looking in (Chicago is a big place :)), I may be able to assist you in locating a school. Feel free to PM me if I can assist further.
     
  7. Steve

    Steve Mostly Harmless

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    If your child is physical, consider a judo school.
     
  8. brandond

    brandond White Belt

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    Thanks for the tip, Rick! I'll definitely look for a place we can both train!
     
  9. brandond

    brandond White Belt

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    Hey Eddie Cyrax,

    Good tips, thanks. To your questions:
    1) His first exposure was Jackie Chan, who he thinks is a) hilarious and b) an awesome spy. Every time he sees anything with martial arts, he gets giddy.
    2) Great question, and strangely I never thought to ask him. I will!
    3) Pretty standard - I'd like him to build confidence, discipline, and eventually be able to defend himself. He's struggling with some speech issues, and I'd like him to get a healthy outlet.
    4) Again, a great point and question. I'm most interested in the self defense aspect, though my guess is that he'll be a lot more interested in it as a sport. He's really competitive.

    Thanks again for all the help!
    Brandon
     
  10. brandond

    brandond White Belt

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    Awesome - thanks Gemini! PM sent!

    -Brandon
     
  11. Monkey Turned Wolf

    Monkey Turned Wolf MT Moderator Staff Member

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    First off, I love Jackie Chan, he is absolutely awesome :)
    As for your number 3, I would suggest going to one that lists bully-prevention and self-confidence, since some schools wont focus on that as much as entertaining the kids/sport stuff. Especially if he has speech problems, there's a good chance he''ll get (unfairly) bullied for it in a few years if not already..kids can be cruel sometime. Finally, the idea of doing it with him is a good idea and you should try it, but if you cant for whatever reason (money, time, no adult program, etc.) don't worry about it. My brother and I went without either of our parents going, and we both still liked it (although we still had each other there so that might be a bit different than your case).
     
  12. Carol

    Carol Crazy like a...

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    Welcome brandond! There is a member here named Zoran Sevic who studies at an excellent Chicagoland school, Saviano's White Tiger Kenpo in Addison. I don't know if that is anywhere close to you but worth reaching out if its doable:
    http://www.whitetigerkenpo.com/

    Definitely consider a place where you can both train if you can. For the little guy, I think the most important factor in a school is if they are teaching in a way that is age-appropriate -- definitely look for a class specifically for 4 to 6 year olds.

    Also, when you visit schools and meet with instructors, be honest with your concerns and observe how they respond. An average/mediocre teacher may just smile and nod and make a generic statement like "yeah, we can help that", but a notable teacher will tell you success stories of HOW they helped that. Don't be afraid to push on a teacher to find out details of how they have helped a student. The teacher doesn't have to tell you the student's name (identity is irrelevant_ but they should be able to describe how they achieved their results. Don't be afraid to interview a teacher thoroughly. How long have they been training? How many instructors did they have? Who were they? Which of them which rank or accomplishment? It's your money, you deserve to know how they got to where they are. If they cannot answer these basic questions, run away! :lol:
     
  13. ks - learning to fly

    ks - learning to fly Senior Master

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    Hey Brandon!:) I would agree on finding a school where both you and your son can train!! My school is huge on families participating together

    One thing about kids his age starting I've noticed at my school is that they try to be sure in the intro lessons that the child is capable of paying attention and following simple instruction without getting overly distracted (because they understand that a kid is still a kid;)

    And also, from someone who has struggled mightily with stuttering over the years - TKD is a GREAT builder of self-confidence!!!:)

    I wish you the best!!
     
  14. WaterGal

    WaterGal Master of Arts

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    Yeah. I've worked with a couple kids that age, and it was mostly about teaching them that exercise can be fun, how their body moves, and how to stand in line and take turns and respect each other. After 6 months, they could only do 1 form and 4 kicks, but they had fun sparring and running around, and at that age I think that's enough.123
     

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