What's the best style of martial arts for kids? That's one of the most common questions asked when trying to find a program for your child. Karate, Tae Kwon Do, Kung Fu, Jiu jitsu, MMA, Judo, Boxing, Tang Soo Do, Kenpo, Kickboxing, Little Ninjas, Little Dragons - are just a few of the martial arts program names you'll hear when exploring options for your child. But which one is best?
The style of martial arts is probably not the most important variable that you should use to decide which program or school is best for your child. I know, because throughout my life I have trained in many martial arts styles - and I have found that there are more similarities than differences! This is especially true for kids programs. Basically, you can classify most martial arts styles into two categories: striking or wrestling (or a combination of both).
I find that most kids love to learn to do cool kicks as part of their training. This is what they've seen in the movies and on TV. But beyond that, kids seem to love the structure, the goal attainment, the discipline, respect and other life skills they learn while practicing to block, punch, and kick! Caring, knowledgeable, and responsible instructors are critical for your child to have a positive and long lasting experience with the martial arts. Instructors who understand how to motivate and encourage children to do their best, while at the same time having lots of fun, is the exception in this industry and not necessarily the rule. After all, your child will be learning how to punch and kick with precision and power -- along with age appropriate self-defense moves to discourage bullying and aggression. It is critical that these skills are taught in a responsible and safe way - and are presented in the right context.
If you look around the entire metro Detroit and Downriver Detroit area, you will find many schools and other facilities (such as recreation centers or community education) that offer "Kids Karate" programs and classes. Not all programs are equal. Here are some important tips to consider when deciding on where to take your child for martial arts lessons -- and whom to trust him or her with to ensure a positive, safe, and worthwhile experience:
At Allen Park Martial Arts Center, we specialize in children's programs. We have classes divided by both age and skill level -- and we offer a lot of variety and value for your tuition dollars! We have been at the same location on Park Ave., for over 15 years running. The first thing you will notice is our beautiful and massive training facility -- with every imaginable piece of martial arts training equipment to keep kids focused, motivated, learning and having fun. Our instructors are the very best -- each head instructor has more than a decade of experience, but is continually learning and striving to be a better teacher. In addition to head instructors running the classes, you will find excellent teenage Black Belt role models who are assisting, as well as other advanced level children who help to hold targets and pads, and offer their praise and encouragement as well. We have a professional office staff to welcome you, guide you and answer all of your questions.
Life skills, pro-social development, along with top-notch and age appropriate karate and self-defense instruction is what we pride ourselves on. Your child is very important to us - and we will do everything we can to bring out the very best in him or her to ensure a bright future of leadership and athleticism. Take a look at some of our programs: Little Ninjas (ages 3 to 5), Pre-TKD (ages 5 to 6), Tae Kwon Do Karate for kids ages 6 to 9 and another class for ages 10 to 14 years. Of course we have many offerings for older teens and moms and dads as well! But be sure to look around first -- because we're absolutely certain that you will love Allen Park Martial Arts Center!
Kevin M. Hurlahe is President of Martial Arts Centers Inc. "Master Kevin" is the head master instructor of Allen Park Martial Arts Center in Allen Park Michigan.