I was driving around town yesterday, and noticed a sign on the side of the road advertising a martial arts class. What caught my attention is that the sign was looking for three and four year olds for a kid’s class. Teaching a three year old karate. Now I don’t know about you, but when I was teaching a kid’s class, I didn’t accept students under seven years of age. There was one exception however…
A local police officer had already been instructing his son for quite awhile. The boy was six years old, and he could throw some nice combinations! I’d never really seen a kid of that age throw straight crisp punches… Left hand and right hand moving independently… Well developed motor skills. So naturally, seeing that this child’s motor skills had developed to the point where he could actually follow instruction, I accepted the six year old.
Now this kid was six, the sign I passed on the road the other day was looking for three and four year olds. I ask you honestly, other than a glorified babysitting service, what the hell are you gonna teach three and four year olds in a karate class? I imagine it would be a lot like a play school. Running around… Playing games … misbehaving, etc. Hopefully not allowing these little darlings to rank up to black belt too soon… Otherwise the instructor would end up on a web site like bull-shido.com or SenseiBull.Com… funny sites. This is my opinion of course.
Frankly, it was my opinion that any martial arts instructor accepting money to teach a child under seven years old…except for a few exceptions, should not be paid more than a standard babysitter. This was my opinion up until the time when I had my first son. Now, I can understand wanting to start teaching your child at a very early age. The problem is finding the correct instructor. It amazes me that people will leave their kids with other adults that they would not trust their credit cards to. I mean, think about this. There are some ridiculously creepy martial arts instructors out there. Check out this lineup… http://www.senseibull.com/category/wall-of-shame/ (remember, most of these people are only “accused” they deserve their day in court before you judge them.) Scum bags.
Now that I’m a father, I will certainly want my son involved in some type of martial art at an early age. Probably a traditional martial art that instills discipline, respect, honor… In essence, the beginning teachings of the samurai code where it is appropriate for a child. I remember my first martial arts class, excited to learn how to fight in school much more efficiently only to find an instructor that knew how to get through to boys like me… 11 years old, and fighting in elementary school. For the record, I was not involved in another fight after starting up at “Dicks School of Karate”…not until my drunken 19th birthday….but that is another story..
Obviously, there are many sides to this debate. I would really love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Some quick research on the web shows tons of support for kids to train early….check out these resources…. Martial Arts for Kids
I want your comments on how old a child should be before you force….um, I mean, enroll them into a martial arts class.
Thanks for reading, and remember,
Standing united, we pack a punch,
Modern Samurai Society.by