We hear many adults say this about Martial arts, we can't blame them for having this opinion as sports like cage fighting and MMA become ever more popular. But the truth of the matter is, if you chose your child's class wisely and do your research, you could find martial arts is one of the best activities to join.
Many martial arts clubs will promise you loads of things, like making your child bully proof, more confident, better at school exams, better behaved, a champion etc. And while some of these things might be true for one child, it cannot be guaranteed for all children. And some of the things promised can be near impossible for most.
Did you know that Martial Arts is not a style? Instead it has become a common way to cover a whole host of various training options. The best advice I have for any parent looking for their child. Is to think about the style of martial arts you wish to try. Like Karate, Ninjutsu, Judo, Jujitsu, Aikido, Kenpo and so on. They all teach different skills, some are sporty and some are very traditional. Some are a mix of styles for example our club is a mixture of Kenpo Karate and Bujinkan (Ninjutsu).
Once you have narrowed it down to a select few that appeal to you and your child. The next thing to do is to look at the instructors qualifications and the general club paperwork. Like, do they hold a valid black belt certificate (when was it dated), are they insured, first aid trained and DBS checked. Does the club have safeguarding and child protection policies in place? Are they part of a governing body or organisation? In most legitimate martial arts a Black belt takes a minimum of 5 years plus to attain and they would have all of the above in place.
What many may not know here in the UK, is that martial arts of many styles are actually unregulated. Did you know that anyone can open a martial arts class? And that some clubs, offer paid employment to people to teach franchised classes for them, who may have never studied martial arts before or be very inexperienced? If there is no governing body or standards, a class could even exist that has unqualified teachers, no first aid training or policies in place.
I don't say all of the above to scare you off, or make you not want to put your child into a local class. In fact its the total opposite, I think all children should at least try a martial arts style at least once in their life. I just seriously urge you to do your research, find a particular style to try that suits your needs, speak to the instructors, ask to see a copy of their qualifications and request to watch a class. Don't worry about feeling it might be rude to ask, all legitimate instructors will have no problem showing you their paperwork and talking about their experience. Giving you full peace of mind that your child will be happy and safe within the lessons.
If you are ever unsure, or have any questions regarding martial arts. Please get in touch, I don't know everything. But with over 21 years training, studying and competing in Kenpo Karate and over 15 years of training, studying and travelling to Japan in Bujinkan (Ninjutsu). Alongside childcare and sports coaching qualifications, I can definitely point you in the right direction.
There are so many amazing martial arts out there, some unbelievably gifted teachers who dedicate their lives to what they study and teach. You just have to know what you are looking for to be able to find them!
If you would like to book a free taster at our Dojo here in Gloucester, please get in touch. We are always excited to have new members from age 4 to adult and have a wide range of classes available throughout the week, including a Ladies only group on Saturday mornings. All our classes are split by age and experience and smaller groups to ensure every student gets the best lesson possible every time they train. Plus I will be very happy to show you all the qualifications you wish to see and answer all the questions you have no matter how big or small they might be.
Please go to our website www.kenbu.co.uk for more information and to book your taster session.