This morning my newsfeed directed me to this article: How to choose the best martial art for your child
I was expecting something ordinary and uninspired but was pleasantly surprised by what I read. It’s not earth-shattering, but it does include a lot of comments by parents and students and that is refreshing. As a person who’s done martial arts for a good portion of his life and now teaches some, I appreciate where this article is coming from.
Just as there is no one perfect martial arts system (I’ve said many times before that every system is in some way incomplete and many of us become myopic in our practice) there is no one perfect martial arts system that is the best for children. It depends on the child’s temperament as well as the skill and temperament of the teacher. While there is little we can do about the former, there is plenty you can do about the latter.
Finding a style that suits your child does require that you understand something about a lot of different systems, and there are a lot of good books (don’t just Google this) you can refer to. Do that the next time you take your kid to the library (and if you don’t already, take your kid to the library).
Once you’ve shopped for your system, shop for your teacher. I’ve found I’ve been pretty fortunate over my career. The majority of my teachers (not all have been for Japanese systems) have been good teachers and good people. Not all, but most. Bad teachers can impede growth and progress. A bad teacher who is also a bad person is a whole other mess. It’s better to tell your child to wait rather than take them to someone who will teach them something dangerous or put them in danger. It won’t make them tougher. It will make their lives harder or, worse, tragic.
I think the people in this story did good jobs.