Adults and Children Together: Giving "Mixed Martial Arts" New Meaning
Martial arts classes for children promote fitness, recreation, and self-discipline. If the child is willing and the parent can find a good instructor, there will never be any regrets! Training in a real dojo with a qualified instructor is an experience that neither the parent nor the child is likely to forget. Quality martial arts training is a rarity, but if you can find authentic martial artists in your neighbourhood the classes are worth the investment.
But most martial arts instructors have separate classes for children and adults. In fact many schools separate kids into several different classes by age, the reasoning being that kids of differing ages need to be taught differently.
So what would you say to a mixed age and skill-level class, that included both adults and children together?
My answer is unreservedly, go for it! Here's why:
1. Mixed martial arts classes are more convenient for families
One of the biggest worries we have for our kids today is over-scheduling. A mixed class allows for all the members of the family to go to one session together, and cuts out a good deal of the running around. In my experience it has also meant that the classes are longer, and participants get more individual attention from instructors.
2. Mixed martial arts classes allow children to gain confidence through practising with people of all sizes and skill levels
My youngest was only five years old when she began to attend Ju-Jutsu with her father and older sisters. On the very first night, this little slip of a thing was taught to trip her big sisters and her father, and then her Shihan. This kind of practice helped her realize that the techniques she was learning have little to do with size or strength, and much more to do with physics and competence.
A child limited to a class with same size peers never gets the chance to test herself against a much bigger child or an adult - at least not in the safety of the dojo. The child who is confident facing off against anyone, regardless of size, age or belt colour, is the child who will not freeze up if a bigger child tries to bully her or if an adult tries to harm her or take her away from her family. The one who learned only with others of her age and skill level will be much easier to intimidate.
3. Mixed martial arts classes promote a long term commitment to physical fitness
We know today that kids who see their parents being active and pursuing a healthy lifestyle will be more likely to pursue that lifestyle themselves. Taking a martial arts class with your children is a great way to model an active lifestyle and encourage your kids to remain active as they transition into their adolescent or adult years. And because the class includes members of all ages, your child will never “age out” or come to a point where he feels he has outgrown the training.
This is my Sports entry for DawnWriter 's A-W Category Challenge
Image credit: Ju-Jutsu written in Japanese kanji by hoosic06/Wikipedia (public domain)
Note: This is an abridged and adapted version of an earlier article I originally published on the now defunct Yahoo Voices web site
Image Credit » http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Jiu_jitsu_kanji.jpg