karate for kids?

Indie12

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I agree with the others who are stating it is about the benefits for your child. If it is positive, and fun and your child is growing from it then it sounds great! Kids have all kinds of things like space camp, scout school, etc. which may or may not be the "real deal" and are really just about new experiences and having fun in a safe and nuturing place.

McDojo was/is a term created by people who want to feel McTough about themselves. In reality most martial arts fail realty self defense scenarios in all areas except for giving self-confidence, toughness and a will to win. The moves, techniques, etc are mostly crap across the board outside of the martial arts class. I know I am going to catch flack for this - but it is the truth! If it were about taught techniques actually working in self defense scenarios that actually occur then all martial artists could conduct studies and gravitate to the few things that actually have shown to work in real life scenarios.

And anyone in business not trying to make a profit is an idiot. when you leave your garage, yard or free park you are starting a business and as such should treat it like one. This doesnt mean you can't offer quality instruction - you should - but dont kid yourself. Unless you are going to privatley fund your classes you are in a business and in business your goal is to increase revenue while decreasing expenses.

I would argue however that a business can be conducted in a garage, yard, or park. And I would also argue that even privately funded classes is still considered a 'business' as long as your trying to make a profit at it. I would disagree with your statement about "And anyone in business not trying to make a profit is an idiot." While that is true, it is also underlining!

I would also argue, but agree to disagre with your statement about reality based self defense and Martial Arts. While it is true that a majority of Martial Arts techniques 99% truly aren't street or combat effective, it is true that a few techniques and Martial Art based training does work and is effective (speaking from my own experiences!) Self Defense techniques and Defensive Tactics, Combatives, and all the other "Physical confrontation skills" are all apart of Martial Art techniques in general.

So I disagree with your analogy of Self Defense and Martial Arts in reality!!

Also, Mcdojos was a term coined in general for schools who only want to profit using Martial Art training, or like a factoroy 'prints' out black belts on a yearly basis by the dozens, it rarely has anything to do with 'toughness'.
 

Indie12

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I will add, as long as these "Mcdojo's" aren't printing out Black Belts under the age of 18, I generally could care less, (hey to each his/her own). But underage Black Belts with only a year or less of training, I take real issues with!!
 

Cyriacus

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I agree with the others who are stating it is about the benefits for your child. If it is positive, and fun and your child is growing from it then it sounds great! Kids have all kinds of things like space camp, scout school, etc. which may or may not be the "real deal" and are really just about new experiences and having fun in a safe and nuturing place.

*nods*

McDojo was/is a term created by people who want to feel McTough about themselves. In reality most martial arts fail realty self defense scenarios in all areas except for giving self-confidence, toughness and a will to win. The moves, techniques, etc are mostly crap across the board outside of the martial arts class. I know I am going to catch flack for this - but it is the truth! If it were about taught techniques actually working in self defense scenarios that actually occur then all martial artists could conduct studies and gravitate to the few things that actually have shown to work in real life scenarios.

Of course, if what Youre doing is a super-precise Technique that doesnt work if You dont get it right, then You are Correct. But it is too much of a Sweeping Statement to overlook that a Traditional, Combat Themed Martial Art, or any good Self Defense based System, will not be Teaching 'Techniques'. I for one, dislike the word. They will teach Applications, and Basic Movements, and things which can be easily applied without needing to think about how to Apply them. Would You consider a Straight Punch to be some kind of Reality Failing Technique, as opposed to the Street Warrior Ninja Killing Machine Hook Punch? Because both are taught in any decent Martial Arts 'School' (On an irrelevant note, Im trying to gravitate away from calling them Schools. I just dont have a better Word yet). Both Straight Punches and Hooking Punches. And Upward, be it Upset or Upward, specifically. You get Superior Body Mechanics, Cardio, Speed, Physical Strength, and Resilience, and Youre less likely to break Your Knuckles on Contact, provided Conditioning is in there someplace. It also means You will have a stronger Center of Gravity, and that You will ultimately be able to better deal with a Self Defense Situation. Between Untrained Individuals, from what Ive seen of them, They 'Defend' by Leaning Away, afraid of getting Hit, and ultimately shortening the Range on Their Punches. They get Tired quickly, and try to do the same things over and over. Blocking is also a Factor. Ive Trained with People who can block ridiculously fast and continuous flurries of Punches and manage to find a Hole in it, and retaliate. McDojo simply refers to somewere which Focuses on the Wrong Things. If that makes Me McTough, so be it :)

And anyone in business not trying to make a profit is an idiot. when you leave your garage, yard or free park you are starting a business and as such should treat it like one. This doesnt mean you can't offer quality instruction - you should - but dont kid yourself. Unless you are going to privatley fund your classes you are in a business and in business your goal is to increase revenue while decreasing expenses.

On the flipside, the "Business" literally *needs* to Profit, in order to stay Open.

Just My Contribution.
Im curious to know how You came to conclude Your Thoughts on the Second Paragraph.
I know You only say Most, and not All, but I think this may be highly subjective.
 

Tez3

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I'm glad to hear that martial arts isn't a product that is bought and sold for you like a car or a house. Right you sell a house or a car and you have sold a tangible object, something you don't have anymore. You had a car and now someone else owns it, you use to live in a house you sold it and now you don't. It doesn't relate to the martial arts at all. Because even if you stop taking classes today, youstill have what you learned inside of you, you still have alll of the experiences and training you went through, and though over time you skills can and will diminish you still earned something (your rank).

However it is like school. You can choose to go to public, private, church, or even a voucher type of a school. The choice is yours and it is up to you to do the research to see which one fits your needs. As a parent if I want my son/daughter to go to a school I can sacrifice to afford to pay for that education, but I don't have a "right" to send my child anywhere I want even if I can't pay for this services. I'm not entitled to an education at a charter, or a religious, or a private school. But if I want to send my child there, I need to meet their requirements to have him/her attend there. I don't have the right to dictate my views on them.



I agree it is a personal journey, one that each person takes and everyone gets different outcomes from.



So why should a parent hold their child back from a program or a school if they can afford to send their child to a more expensive school (or enroll them in a more expensive program)? If an instructor could offer a program such as a character development, but it will cost them X amount perr month to implement, is it right for the instructor to bear that whole program on their own, or should they only charge the people more who will use it? Or should the owner/instructor just not offer it because someone might not be able to afford it?

Or lets just say that the instructor needs to order weapons for a weapons class, if one student can't afford "good" quality weapons, should the instructor opt for the cheaper weapons so everyone feels equal? What happens if the student can't afford the class, should everyone else have their fees raised to cover the one student, or maybe you could do what Shesulsa advocated and spread the pain around to everyone and just charge everyone more, or how about not offering it at all. Better yet just have the instructor foot the whole bill for everything.

IMHO when you start down this road you start dumming down the whole process. We should be talking about instruction, not better uniforms or badges, and the child isn't left behind since they are still in class studying the art. Who cares if their belt has a black stripe on it or not (generally denoting BBC). In regards to the weapons, I took this mentality with my students, I opted out of the quality weapons and figured kids wouldn't hit hard so I bought cheaper ones, guess what we BROKE them. It is a safety factor! When we were going to start tonfa, I explained to all of the parents in my advanced class that we are going to get "good" quality weapons since we broke the other cheaper bo. (Oh and I footed the bill to buy more of a different type of bo which we broke again) (this is what happens when you don't teach baton twirling, oh I mean bo twirling). But you know what everyone agreed and they had no problem with it, none, it was for the safety of their kids, they'll come up with the funds and get them. No if ans or buts about it.



Agreed but that doesn't mean that you bring your program down to a lower level because someone doesn't get to participate in one aspect of the program. I'm sorry but often times we as martial artists throw our pearls before the swine, on some misguided notion that in order to be a true martial artist we need to be like Caine on Kung Ku wandering the desert never valuing what we have to offer. Of maybe we need to be like Mr. Myagi in the karate kid or something. If you charge you are like the evil instructor form Cobra Kia. Give me a break. If I offer a new or better program, higher quality instruction, etc. etc. than what is wrong with charging for it. I'm spending my money to learn the program or to earn the rank to teach it, I'm taking more time away from my family adding the different classes etc. etc. IMHO I am providing the child more opportunities to train and grow in the martial arts. Believe me if they want to grow they will.



The extras aren't the problem, it is the grading or the testing, or even the examiners. But extras like different uniforms, badges, etc. don't take the tests for you. The student does. If they are getting an easier test that is the examiners fault not the uniform.



I'm sorry that my post(s) seem mercenary to you, I wasn't trying to send the message that I'm all about money. I'm not really. Everyone is concerned about "Upgrades" and yet not a word was mentioned about a mother calling me about her 7 year old learning Kamas. No one seems out raged that a kid who (was) ranked 3rd in the state in weapons kata (intermediate level) made his own form up which had no martial value at all, and it was a gymnastic routine. Not a word was said about instructors offering weapons of the month classes and yet we are concerned with extras such as uniforms and badges.

It's not the upgrades that are bad it is the instructors who abuse them that is what is wrong. It is the instructors who convince a mother than little Johnny should learn to use the kamas, or the foam Nunchakus, or the tooth pick bo. It is the instructors who tell the parent that little Suzy can be a qualified BB in a couple of years when she is eight, or that she can train with a Pan American Champion in Olympic TKD and maybe qualify for the nationals OOOOH. Not a word about instructors not being qualified to teach a weapon much less a separate art, but passing themselves off as doing just that and charging fees for it.

No it is all about everyone being equal and no child left behind and it's all the DAMN UPGRADES fault.


'Upgrades' aren't so common here as they obviously are in America and only the rich send their children to private schools. The majority of childen her go to stae schools, we have 'state' hosptials, etc etc so perhaps the idea of 'buying' progression and extras for our children hasn't caught on quite as much, most seem happy with your bog standard martial arts club in the church/village/school hall with things kept as cheap as possible, it may be that we don't have the disposable income your parents seem to have.
In my experience instructors like our selves don't buy weapons for the children to buy, we have aclub stock and everyone uses them, if parents want to buy we get them for a discount from martial arts wholesalers, this doesn't involve us making money. We charge for classes but the money goes back into the club, this is the same as my friend's TKD class I go to when I can and most MMA clubs as well as the karate club I trained at. Perhaps we don't have as many martial arts businesses here so they are they exception rather than the rule, I believe most are TKD. This isn't knocking businesses just it's not the norm in my experience. Perhaps we are just a more socialist country! We certainly feel it's unfair if children who want to train can't so we do our best to make sure they can, no-one seems to mind if the subs they pay cover others as well, it's our 'play fair' mindset I suppose, to not do so 'isn't cricket', you'd be surprised how many think that still here.

If I don't comment on something it's because it's out of my experience.
 

Grenadier

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The "Tiny Tigers," "Little Ninjas" or other such programs that are tailored for young children.

These programs exist to teach these young children some of the fundamentals and skills needed to train in a full fledged class, and that many times, a young child simply is not ready to handle the rigors of a full fledged class. Most of these classes are taught in a way that makes it more of a game to the child, instead of as a regular class.

I see nothing wrong with using this method, as long as they're still learning the techniques correctly, though these games. Children's minds aren't developed enough at this stage, but they're still quite capable of learning things here and there, and those techniques and fundamentals do add up.

We have a program for the young 'uns as well, and yes, they do go up in rank with different stripes and colors of belts as time goes on, as long as they can demonstrate the required techniques. However, this ranking system is a separate one from the ones that the regular classes use, that they're simply for the purpose of measuring progress in the children's program.

The program's main purpose is, in fact, to get them ready for training in the regular classes, and we let the parents know this from day one, that the defensive value really comes from the regular classes, not the children's classes.

Once someone goes through the children's prgram, and earns his blue belt in that program, he's usually ready to enter the full fledged classes, but this time, as a standard yellow belt (the first rank that a white belt in the regular classes tests for). So far, everyone who has "graduated" from the children's program, and entered the regular classes as a regular yellow belt, has been able to hit the ground with his feet running, and doesn't bumble around like a lost child. Furthermore, they're in better physical condition than when they first started as "Cubs and Tigers," and that can certainly help.

Thus, I can attest that the program does have a lot of merits to it, and that it gets a lot of people into the program that you otherwise wouldn't have had, not to mention that some of the parents end up training too.

Those of you who have instructed young children will probably agree with me, that to put a young child in the class, and try to have them learning even a Heian kata, would most likely be an exercise in frustration, since a lot of them have problems going left when you say "left" or turning right when you say "turn right." If they can't handle this, but still want to train, then putting them in a class geared more for children can certainly be productive, if done properly, even if it looks like a game.
 

shesulsa

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The "Tiny Tigers," "Little Ninjas" or other such programs that are tailored for young children.

These programs exist to teach these young children some of the fundamentals and skills needed to train in a full fledged class, and that many times, a young child simply is not ready to handle the rigors of a full fledged class. Most of these classes are taught in a way that makes it more of a game to the child, instead of as a regular class.

I see nothing wrong with using this method, as long as they're still learning the techniques correctly, though these games. Children's minds aren't developed enough at this stage, but they're still quite capable of learning things here and there, and those techniques and fundamentals do add up.

We have a program for the young 'uns as well, and yes, they do go up in rank with different stripes and colors of belts as time goes on, as long as they can demonstrate the required techniques. However, this ranking system is a separate one from the ones that the regular classes use, that they're simply for the purpose of measuring progress in the children's program.

The program's main purpose is, in fact, to get them ready for training in the regular classes, and we let the parents know this from day one, that the defensive value really comes from the regular classes, not the children's classes.

Once someone goes through the children's prgram, and earns his blue belt in that program, he's usually ready to enter the full fledged classes, but this time, as a standard yellow belt (the first rank that a white belt in the regular classes tests for). So far, everyone who has "graduated" from the children's program, and entered the regular classes as a regular yellow belt, has been able to hit the ground with his feet running, and doesn't bumble around like a lost child. Furthermore, they're in better physical condition than when they first started as "Cubs and Tigers," and that can certainly help.

Thus, I can attest that the program does have a lot of merits to it, and that it gets a lot of people into the program that you otherwise wouldn't have had, not to mention that some of the parents end up training too.

Those of you who have instructed young children will probably agree with me, that to put a young child in the class, and try to have them learning even a Heian kata, would most likely be an exercise in frustration, since a lot of them have problems going left when you say "left" or turning right when you say "turn right." If they can't handle this, but still want to train, then putting them in a class geared more for children can certainly be productive, if done properly, even if it looks like a game.

I don't have a problem with productive programs for younger children, so long as they are realistically aimed ... my problem is with the "upgrades" - smacks of bait-and-switch to me. It's a way to bleed people dry. Maybe I'm an ignorant businesswoman, but I also think there are ethics when you're dealing with the development of young children.
 

Mark Lynn

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A local (and very popular) Tae Kwon Do school nearby offers 3 45-minute sessions per week plus a weapons upgrade plus a black belt club upgrade for $200 per month.

$200.00 is not that unusual to see, I've heard of some that are much more. Generally I've seen them around the $150.00 range for the top tiered program.

I offer 3 1-hour classes per week with occasional weapons training and as far as I'm concerned they're all in a black belt club for $100 per month. Not everyone gets weapons training - even if they're willing to pay extra (which I don't charge).

I offer my students the same, 3 1-hour classes a week, in fact some come to a 4th class. I also offer weapons training but right now only to my senior students (brown belts), I agree that not everyone should be offered weapons training. This was where I stood when a 7 year olds mom called me about classes for her son, and she told me he had learned kamas and such. I explained I wouldn't teach her son those weapons and suggested she stay with the franchised school (I believe the ATA) he had trained with and even found a local school nearby for her.

As far as everyone being in the BBC, this is the way I treat my students as well. In fact I charge less per month than you do, and I let my older students or even my adult arnis students cross train in the TKD (or vice a versa) all at the same base price I charge.


I teach a comprehensive art, have regular discussions on character development, real life application, self-defense. When the time comes to order training weapons, we will obtain quality items.

You run a business. That's clearly your priority. And you have really made my case for me.

Your right I do run a business and so do you. If you are taking money for your classes it is a business pure and simple. Do you keep tabs on who has paid for lessons? Do you sell them equipment, uniforms, etc. etc.? Then you are running a business. Do you pay taxes on your income, sales tax, insurance etc. etc. than you are running a business. And frankly keeping up with all of those things as well as teaching should be a priority.

Just FYI I do the same as you in teaching class, I have real life applications, I discuss character, self defense, and weapons training etc. etc.

I don't think that everyone should train with weapons just because they pay for it. I don't think it's right to classify some students as better than or worth more than others based on what their parents can afford. My students vary in talent and fitness and they all train together. If I know a student is able to grasp concepts more easily than others then I discuss those concepts with the entire class, not just the one. And I don't charge extra.

If you don't think equality is important in your business model ... I have absolutely nothing to discuss with you further.

Look Shesula like I said in a prior post you don't know me, nor do you know how I run my classes. In fact I believe from reading this post that actually we have a lot more in common in how we do things than you think. TBH it sounds as if I treat my students the same way as you do, I too have ones who don't have the same skill levels as others, better fitness etc. etc. and they all train together. The BIG DIFFERENCE is I don't think the up grades as a business model is bad and you do. Because I think it is an OK business concept doesn't make me evil, doesn't make me wrong. We have a difference of opinion.

I only brought up the UP GRADE as a business model because it seemed like the majority of people were trashing it. Because I looked at (not that I did) opening a stand a lone school, and had seen different schools, and talked with other school owners who had up grade business models; and because if I opened a school I would probably use one I raised a point of view in favor of them on this board. However I never spoke out in favor saying that all up grades are fair, honest, a good deal, managed right, or are not abused. I understand there are negatives as to how different schools use them, just like there are bad instructors out there teaching the martial arts as well. It is what it is. AND JUST TO BE CLEAR I DON'T CURRENTLY USE AND HAVE NO PLANS FOR USING THE UPGRADE BUSINESS MODEL IN THE FORESEEABLE FUTURE.

If I opened a school apart from the Rec. Center where I currently teach then I would revisit the upgrade business model, and all of my students would be grandfathered into the highest level. Which I think is a great deal since I charge less than you do currently. If I charge more in the future for new students than so be it. If I were to charge for a new student to cross train in another art I still disagree that this is wrong if it is something he knows about when signing up.

In regards to the equality comment bolded above. You in your own way don't believe in equality either. I mean you as the instructor choose to decide that students at whatever age can learn weapons, and some don't get to learn them at all. But you are the one determining that, treating everyone equally would mean that all would get the chance regardless. As it is you chose to charge the same amount to everyone but with hold students due to age or maybe ability from learning something (as in weapons). How is this not in equality? I'm not trying to pick a fight here, I'm just trying to make the point that in the dojo not everything is equal.
 

Mark Lynn

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'Upgrades' aren't so common here as they obviously are in America and only the rich send their children to private schools. The majority of childen her go to stae schools, we have 'state' hosptials, etc etc so perhaps the idea of 'buying' progression and extras for our children hasn't caught on quite as much, most seem happy with your bog standard martial arts club in the church/village/school hall with things kept as cheap as possible, it may be that we don't have the disposable income your parents seem to have.

Tez3
If I remember from your posted info your from the UK? If not sorry.
You bring up a very good point in that in different countries the training culture is different. Not right or wrong different. Here in the states you have a vastly different or diverse training culture. It could be that we have more disposable income, but our towns, states, etc. etc. is different. I mean in a given town you will have martial arts training in a multitude of different schools of different styles, associations, standards, all in stand a lone schools (as in the owner rents or owns the building), Rec Centers, churches, colleges, community colleges, and even in parks and people garages for that matter.

Some training is free, some is cheaper, some is fairly priced, some is very high priced; and just because it is high priced doesn't mean it is better than than the guy teaching out of his garage either. But it is a different training experience. Some schools offer a multitude of different arts to cross train in, a very nice school, well paid staff, great equipment etc. etc. these are generally the stand alone schools and they cost the most. Others share rooms in Rec Centers, Colleges, or churches and offer little or no extra equipment (kicking bags, mats, pads, focus mitts etc. etc.) just basic instruction and they generally cost less. Then training in the garages or parks can be completely different, no heat or a/c, little equipment etc. etc. and they generally cost the least.

However if you are a parent and you can have your son/daughter train in a nice safe school, get good well rounded training, character development curriculum, fun energetic classes etc. etc. or get trained by a instructor in his private garage and the place stinks with no heat in the winter or a/c in the summer, what would the normal part opt for. Here in the states generally the well run stand alone school. The Rec. Center comes a fairly close second and the private dojo or the park come a distant 4th or 5th place if they are even considered at all.

In my experience instructors like our selves don't buy weapons for the children to buy, we have aclub stock and everyone uses them, if parents want to buy we get them for a discount from martial arts wholesalers, this doesn't involve us making money. We charge for classes but the money goes back into the club, this is the same as my friend's TKD class I go to when I can and most MMA clubs as well as the karate club I trained at. Perhaps we don't have as many martial arts businesses here so they are they exception rather than the rule, I believe most are TKD. This isn't knocking businesses just it's not the norm in my experience. Perhaps we are just a more socialist country! We certainly feel it's unfair if children who want to train can't so we do our best to make sure they can, no-one seems to mind if the subs they pay cover others as well, it's our 'play fair' mindset I suppose, to not do so 'isn't cricket', you'd be surprised how many think that still here.

If I don't comment on something it's because it's out of my experience.

In regards to purchasing weapons for my students I prefer to have them have their own, there is no reason that a student shouldn't practice their weapon at home in the privacy of their house. Also I believe they need to learn to take care of them just like their uniform. Do I make money off of them. No. However if I needed to keep them in stock and on hand then I personally don't see an issue with it. But what are we looking at $5.00 I mean it's not worth the hassle. As far as money going back into the club I do much the same thing however I do make some money teaching.

Let me see; last year the difference between my co-worker's end of the year take home pay (detailed on his pay check) and mine was over $9,000 due to me not working over time because I was teaching. I teach generally 15+ hours a week not including traveling and set up, tear down etc. etc. over 4 nights a week and Saturday classes. I don't feel bad that I don't put everything I earn back into the club nor that I charge enough so that I make enough on the side to cover my losses from not working OT at work. I'd much rather be teaching then inspecting parts. I make less teaching per hour than I make working straight time much less OT.

Here's the issue if I could afford to open my own school and make a decent living from it I would, I'd retire from my day job and do what I enjoy doing and that is teach. In fact I believe I would be happier and live a better lifestyle teaching, then doing what I have done now for the last 25+ years (my career). It would be a whole lot safer, and less harmful to my body (due to industrial chemicals, on the job injuries etc. etc.), however to do that I must open a stand a lone school. Which takes a lot of money, and needs to be run as a business in order for me to provide for my family. I have been teaching and working the day job for the past 5 years; as my classes continue to grow I have to keep adding classes which means longer hours, more time away from family etc. etc. (I can't expand my room size to meet the growing student base, only add more classes.)

If I was not looking at it from the angle of running a stand alone school, if earning an income from teaching wasn't an issue because I was just wealthy, heck I wouldn't turn anyone away. In fact I had planned to if I retired; to make some community service (teaching home school kids, a church program or something of this sort) to where I could give back (teaching offsite) as part of my retirement, as it is now I have no time.

I was thinking about your comment still on the disposable income, what might be a better reason is our tax structure over here is more favorable to the independent businesses instead of having everything provided as in the "socialist society" you mentioned. I don't know currently if this is true but I thought at one time due to having everything provided you all were taxed pretty heavily. If that were the case than a stand alone school would be exception rather than the rule. Why try and compete with all of the cheaper classes.

Thanks for the input on this discussion
 

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