Kids classes


Master Black Belt
Jun 30, 2003
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Northern California
Hello All- I am just starting the process of checking out local studios kids' programs. I have it narrowed down to two studios and was wondering what all of you think are good things to look for in a kids' program? Things to avoid?

My son will turn 3 in Feb. so I don't plan to start him until sometime next year. Eventually, I'd like to teach him Kenpo on my own- but as a base to begin with, I think it'd be more fun for him to be with a group of kids his same age and he might have better focus at this age with someone other than Mom!! Plus, a studio can provide the games and group settings with others that I cannot at home.

The two studios I am looking into are: 1) A studio with a 'Little Dragons' program. They meet one time per week, payment is on a monthly basis and they can make up any missed classes. Classes are 40 minutes long. They don't earn ranks until after age 5- which is fine by me- I am not concerned with ranks right now- just in a program where he can become more confident, gain better coordination, balance, get a good intro. to the martial arts and have fun. They do award patches for things like attendance, learning a certain amount of punches, basics, etc. The class consists of karate basics, games, coordination drills, obstacle courses. This place is a United Kung Fu Karate Association place. The guy on the phone said their main style is "Bok Su" idea on spelling there.

The other studio is called 'Eastern Ways' and has a beginner kids class for ages 3-5. Students are paired with a particular instructor for private lessons (to work on whatever the instructor feels the kid needs more focus on) as well as group classes- no extra charge. Classes run all week and it is up to the parent to sit down with the instructor and map out a plan of how many times you want your child to attend. The plan then determines the price. They focus on stranger danger, turn-taking, teamwork and just general situational stuff to avoid.

If I still lived where I used to, I'd have no problems with where to take my son- to my own instructor!! But now that I am in a new location (with no local Kenpo studios that have kids programs) and only make it back to my home school once every few months for private lessons for myself, I am having a hard time figuring out where to take him here!! Am I right in thinking that a beginner's course for kids is pretty much the same anywhere? I mean- there's only so much a kid can physically do/learn at that age so should I be concerned with styles or no??

Thanks for any and all advice!

:asian: :karate:


Don't get Chewed!
MTS Alumni
Jul 22, 2004
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a happy place

Most important thing to do is let your child check out the class and see how the instructor interacts with the younger students.

It is important that he shows positive feedback and LOTS of patience with the little ones.

Let your child try a few classes and that way you can critique the instructor. You can also watch other students and get an idea of the school in general.

Good Luck. :asian:


Senior Master
Lifetime Supporting Member
Apr 12, 2004
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Shodan, I don't know if you have done it, but I might sit down and watch some of the classes as well. See what classes/instructors seem to have a lot of fun teaching and whether the other kids there respond well to him/her.

I would be more concerned with interactions and getting your son interested in it than in the style itself. I've found most kids courses are the about the same with just minor changes across the board...I think most important is that you and your son like the instructor and the other students in the classes, else he won't want to go and point will be moot.

Good luck


Senior Master
Lifetime Supporting Member
Apr 16, 2004
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I think United Martial Arts is widespread maybe throughout California too...I wouldn't recommend them. They did a bait and switch on my daughter. Told her she would get lower cost since she was a black belt and a college student and built her up as possibly teaching (of course) some day and then after three weeks, told her she should get into a advanced program for leadership, ie sign a 3 year contract for a 100 a month plus other stuff. Because what she was in was just "introductory" basic training. She tried to quit, they had her sign an initial 6 month contract which was automatically deducted from her checking account. In the meantime she lost her job, so I have ended up paying for it. She didn't even want to train there anymore.

Shodan, I don't know if that "United Kung Fu Karate Assn" is connected but get some recommendations. I put a thread up in Kung Fu and got really good advice. TW


As others have posted go and physically check out each school. See how the instructors interact with the kids and see if your child can possibly try out one or two classes to see if it is something that he would enjoy doing.

I don't think you should be to concerned with styles at this point. The main factor should be the interaction your child has with the instructor and other children in the group. Classes should be fun and productive. Elements taught should be age appropriate and serve a purpose.



Shodan said:
I don't plan to start him until ....
Have you actually checked with your lad that he wants you "to start him"? To me, that would be the single most important thing.

still learning

Senior Master
Nov 8, 2004
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Hello, great feedbacks! We have pee wee classes(5-7 years old). I agree with the aboves feedbacks. Take your child and let him watch a few classes and meet the teachers. He may have a better ideas of what he likes.
We let the children try a few classes before signing up and encourage the parents to ask as many questions. Most instructors know the attention span of a young child is one minute per year...5 years old...approx 5 min.
Children look at parents as is important the teachers/parents, always set the right examples,because they will see them as symbols to follow. Adults behavior is important thing for children..they want to be like us.
Always trust your instincts...Good luck.....Aloha