Every aspiring new student that walks into Action Karate Plymouth has one thing in common: parents with questions!
“At what age should my child start martial arts training?”
“How will I know when we’ve found the right studio?”
“Which sensei teaches the best classes?”
For starters, let’s make one thing clear: there is no such thing as the “perfect age” to start martial arts training, just like there is no such thing as a “perfect studio” or a “perfect sensei”.
The most important thing to keep in mind is what is best for your child. Everyone develops at different rates, and everyone responds differently to various teaching methods. What works for your child may not be so great for the next!
That being said, there are a few things to keep in mind when signing your child up for their very first martial arts lesson!
The “Perfect” Age
We love this short and sweet list compiled by Next Level Sport Karate in Springfield, MO, regarding the mythical “perfect age” for a child to begin martial arts training.
As mentioned before, there is no such thing as a perfect age to get started, but there is an ideal level of development that each student should reach before beginning their first lesson.
Before bringing a potential new student into our studio, it’s important that the child:
- can tell left from right.
- has developed empathy.
- has developed age-appropriate manners (will wait his/her turn to speak, will listen quietly to an instructor, etc.)
- has the attention span to give 100% for the length of a class period (typically 30 minutes for small children, to 60 minutes for older children and adults).
- will (probably with some prompting from parents) reliably practice at least every other day (every day for older children).
- can take polite criticism in stride.*
Most importantly, your child should be able to understand the importance of the new skill they are studying, particularly when it is appropriate to use their newly-acquired fighting skills.
This valuable lesson will be reinforced by their sensei, but the child needs to understand the dangers involved in this field and should be able to control their desires to use them all the time.
With these guidelines in mind, we believe that it is important to start your child’s lessons as soon as possible. Many of our demonstrators are in their early teens, and have reached this spectacular level of skill because they came to Action Karate Plymouth for the first time when they were four years old!
The earlier a student begins their training, the higher their ceiling will be set for the duration of their studies. Every year of enrollment brings your child one step closer to becoming a martial arts master!
The “Perfect” Studio
Before choosing which form of martial arts to practice, your child must first find the studio that’s right for them.
There are a myriad of factors that play into choosing the “perfect” studio. All of these factors are influenced by one thing: the student’s age.
Unlike adult or adolescent students, young students require different forms of positive reinforcement and constructive criticism in order to excel in their lessons.
A studio that offers many levels of awards and opportunities to “graduate” or advance to different levels is perfect for elementary-aged students.
Children at this age require frequent reminders that their little bodies are growing and their skills are developing through their classes!
Lessons should also be broken up into segments that include games or general play time.
Changing up the routine of regimented classes with a quick round of leapfrog or dodgeball not only makes class more exciting and fun, but it also provides an interesting way for young students to improve on their coordination skills as well as team-building!
The “Perfect” Sensei
In Action Karate Plymouth’s many years of training the Montgomery County community in various martial arts forms, we have learned that a “sensei”, or instructor, can make or break a class.
You want to be sure that the instructor in charge of your child’s lesson understands how to communicate to their specific age group.
In addition to being skilled in their craft, a sensei must be able to provide students with real-world scenarios they can actually identify with, demonstrate patience, and communicate each lesson in a fun and engaging way.
Classes should be formatted based on the skill levels of each student, especially if the classes are made up of a mix of different levels.
The last thing any sensei should want is to make a student feel that they are not on the same page as their peers! Be sure that your child’s studio employs instructors that can relate to your child and make them feel welcome and capable of achieving their goals!
Don’t wait a moment longer! If your child is ready to take their first step towards a confident, healthy future, let’s get them signed up for their first martial arts lesson! Contact Action Karate Plymouth today for more information on our extensive list of classes for all ages!