Parents all over the country are becoming more and more interested in the benefits of enrolling their children in a high quality martial arts program. Character development and physical fitness are becoming more important now than ever before. This is especially true in the cities of Fredericksburg, Stafford, and Spotsylvania in Virginia. Before just running out and signing your child up for lessons there’s a couple things you should know. If you follow the steps I’ve outlined below; you’ll save time, money, and a lot of frustration.
First, not all martial arts programs are the same. Look for a reputable program in your area and ask if you can bring your child in to observe a class. Most places won’t mind. While you’re watching the class, carefully observe the higher ranking students in the program. Are they acting the way you want your child to act? Do they show respect for the teacher and other students? How does the teacher interact with the students? These are all very important things. The higher ranking children should exemplify the way you want your child to act.
Second, most martial arts schools offer a low risk or free trial for new students to come experience the program before joining. This is a great way to get a “feel” for the school, the instructor, and program before making any long term commitments.
Third, determine what you want out of the program. A parent looking for an activity between football and soccer will need something different than a parent really looking to develop confidence, character, and discipline. Not all programs are created equal. Determine what your objective is, and then find the school that can help you get there.
Martial arts is not all about fighting. Some of the true benefits of a good children’s martial arts program are:
• Increased Confidence
• Greater Self Esteem
• Improved Motor Function
• Better Balance
• Excellent Social Skills
• Good Discipline
• Improved Work Ethic
• Learning Goal Setting
• Better Focus at school
There are also many other benefits to training in the martial arts. Martial arts will make you more flexible, stronger; you’ll improve your coordination, and build your cardiovascular system among other things. Most importantly, your child will have a great time learning the actual art itself.
What about style? There is no right or wrong style. It’s what you believe is important. If you’re looking for sport or self defense then style could be an important part of your selection process. If you’re looking to give your 8 year old more confidence, or getting them to stand up to the school bully than I would focus less on the kicking and punching and more on the mental skills. There are so many different styles, systems, and schools that you should have no problem finding a good one in your area.