As modern day parents, we try to do everything to ensure our kids grow up to be happy and healthy. Happiness can develop due to security, and health is attained by physical activity.
Enrolling children in martial arts training can be very beneficial. A legitimate training program can help to develop respect, discipline, and even power. Respect and discipline are important, but power is unique in that a child who is confident in his martial arts skills will be more likely to defend himself against a bully or attacker.
This of course brings up the topic of violence. Many forms of martial arts incorporate weapon training into their programs. Weapons such as escriba sticks, swords and nunchakus for example may be used. This is where the respect and discipline comes into play. Children should be instructed to never use unnecessary force, and to only use training as self defense. Children should also be instructed to not bring weapons to school, in fact parents and instructors should keep training weapons in a secure place.
Many parents who are interested in placing their child in a martial arts program wonder, "how do I choose the right one for my child?" Luckily there are many styles to choose from. To name a few, there is Karate, Taekwondo, Kung-fu, Judo, Jiu-jitsu, Hapkido, Ninjutsu, Kendo, and many more. Karate, Kung fu and Taekwondo would be excellent choices for the child who enjoys being on his feet, punching, kicking and possibly even competitive in tournaments. Judo and Jiu-jitsu are a bit more "hands on", and involve grappling and throwing. This would be appropriate for the child who enjoys being active both on his feet and on the mat.
Hapkido is a form of self-defense that typically incorporates weapons training. Depending on what your child wants from martial arts training, this may be the form to go with.
Ninjutsu is probably the form that the child will be most interested in, due to the well known ninja uniform and awesome ninja weapons. This may be the form that first gets the child interested in martial arts training, and the child could possibly transfer to different forms of training form there.
Kendo is all about the sword. This style would probably be most appropriate for the mature child due to the extended sword training involved. Fortunately the training can be done with wooden swords that are efficient for practice and training.
Whatever form you choose, know that your child will benefit from martial arts training. Of course children do need to know that they are gaining a responsibility by learning about self defense and weapons training. Training should be used wisely and appropriately, and parents should be involved. Reinforce the discipline and respect learned, and your child will do well with his training.