Karate for kids—Thoughts?

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davebo
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Karate for kids—Thoughts?

Post by davebo » Thu Apr 30, 2015 3:03 pm

My son is wanting to take a break from team sports and try something new. We’re less than a couple minutes away from a Karate place near our house that seems to have a pretty strong kids program. I know a lot of people sign their kids up for karate and they seem to enjoy it, but does karate really have any usefulness outside of the dojo?

Not that it’s all about usefulness, but ideally you’d be killing 2 birds with 1 stone i.e. having fun and learning something that could take down a bully if needed.

Any thoughts on this? We also have a Brazilian jiu jitsu school that is not too far away, but that does seem a bit more intense.

Rodc
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Re: Karate for kids—Thoughts?

Post by Rodc » Thu Apr 30, 2015 3:13 pm

Anything that teaches kids discipline and hard work is useful.

They also tend to teach kids how to resolve conflicts without violence as a first resort and resolution via karate is a last resort.

Not to mention any physical activity is good for kids in its own right.

I suggest you give it a try. At worst they don't like and you are out a few bucks. But often you have to give kids lots of opportunities before you find something that resonates. And what resonates will change over time. So you expect from time to time you'll try something that is a bust, no big deal.
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barnaclebob
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Re: Karate for kids—Thoughts?

Post by barnaclebob » Thu Apr 30, 2015 3:15 pm

I took it for a summer as a kid and didn't really learn anything useful but it was the cool thing to do at the time...

Do you have a rock climbing gym nearby with a team or kids program? That is a mostly individual sport. You could work out at the same time killing 3 birds with one stone...

amateurnovice
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Re: Karate for kids—Thoughts?

Post by amateurnovice » Thu Apr 30, 2015 3:18 pm

My best friend (read neighbor) growing up took lessons. He made it to camo(?) belt. It didn't improve his discipline or fighting skills in any way. He was already a good athlete. Just money wasted IMO, but it might be fun as long as the kid doesn't expect to become Chuck Norris overnight.

frugalprof
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Re: Karate for kids—Thoughts?

Post by frugalprof » Thu Apr 30, 2015 3:24 pm

I have been taking karate with my 8 year old for the last month. Unlike most other athletic activities, this is something we can do together, which she loves. I also think it helps teach her respect. I enjoy it too, though practicing my moves on folks half my height and 1/5th my age is quite comical.

randomguy
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Re: Karate for kids—Thoughts?

Post by randomguy » Thu Apr 30, 2015 3:32 pm

frugalprof wrote:I have been taking karate with my 8 year old for the last month. Unlike most other athletic activities, this is something we can do together, which she loves. I also think it helps teach her respect. I enjoy it too, though practicing my moves on folks half my height and 1/5th my age is quite comical.
I hope you dominated the Dojo:)
amateurnovice wrote:My best friend (read neighbor) growing up took lessons. He made it to camo(?) belt. It didn't improve his discipline or fighting skills in any way. He was already a good athlete. Just money wasted IMO, but it might be fun as long as the kid doesn't expect to become Chuck Norris overnight.


I played little league for 8 years. Didn't get drafted by MLB so it was just a waste of money? I played hockey for 10 years. NHL didn't draft me. Another waste of money?:) I vote for kids trying ever activity under the sun. If they like Karate, great. If they don't try rock climbing, ballet, musical instruments, golf, tennis, .... until they find something they like.

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mhc
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Re: Karate for kids—Thoughts?

Post by mhc » Thu Apr 30, 2015 3:36 pm

Karate is good for developing physical skills and discipline. I have a daughter who has been in karate for 5 years or so. She was born with some issues where the left side of her body were physically behind the right side. Karate has helped balance things out. It was a lot cheaper that physical therapy. She will be going for her black belt in a few months.

Variety is the spice of life.

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TomatoTomahto
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Re: Karate for kids—Thoughts?

Post by TomatoTomahto » Thu Apr 30, 2015 3:38 pm

My kids really didn't get much from Karate. After my daughter took a hiatus from being a hockey goalie (knees), she did some Krav Maga, an Israeli self-defense technique, to stay in shape. With 6 months, it became her go-to physical activity. She regularly fights men weighing 100 pounds more than her. Big thumbs up from me.

slow123
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Re: Karate for kids—Thoughts?

Post by slow123 » Thu Apr 30, 2015 3:40 pm

BJJ (no hitting) is a great place to start in my opinion over karate. BJJ is ground fighting (or submission wrestling). So many fights end up (and finish) on the ground, it's great to know how to get up safely and stay up in a bad situation. After a few months of that I would add some boxing and/or Muay Thai, and do that for a few months. Then keep it up if he enjoys it.
With both those bases there's, there are very few situations that you can get into that you won't fair well.

I planned to do a "few" months and ended up training for seven years. It's lots of fun! I got to spare with a few guys that are now in the UFC so it was a fun experience.

It's a great thing for confidence. I was always into weight lifting, surfing and triathlons, but wasn't a "tough guy". Now at 33, I haven't trained in years, yet I'm very confident I could protect my family in a bad situation.

randomguy
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Re: Karate for kids—Thoughts?

Post by randomguy » Thu Apr 30, 2015 3:58 pm

slow123 wrote: It's a great thing for confidence. I was always into weight lifting, surfing and triathlons, but wasn't a "tough guy". Now at 33, I haven't trained in years, yet I'm very confident I could protect my family in a bad situation.

Thats the attitude that gets people shot:)

My impression is that most of the kids programs are not really sport based (i.e. sparing ) or survival but more of do some kicks and practice forms. If your goal is to handle yourself in a fight, the level of excellence you need is pretty high for those to be useful skills in a street fight.

Trev H
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Re: Karate for kids—Thoughts?

Post by Trev H » Thu Apr 30, 2015 4:08 pm

My son tried it out... went all the way to brown belt.

The last year or so he was getting tired of it and complaining all the time that he wanted to quit.

I offered him 100.00 to stay until he got his black belt... but he was determined to give it up and did.

Was it good for him - yes.... while it lasted. He made friends there, got some good exercise a couple times a week, learned how to do all of that karate stuff.

It does sort of turn into the same old same old stuff over and over again after a while.

Good Luck !

Trev H

smackboy1
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Re: Karate for kids—Thoughts?

Post by smackboy1 » Thu Apr 30, 2015 4:56 pm

davebo wrote:My son is wanting to take a break from team sports and try something new. We’re less than a couple minutes away from a Karate place near our house that seems to have a pretty strong kids program. I know a lot of people sign their kids up for karate and they seem to enjoy it, but does karate really have any usefulness outside of the dojo?

Not that it’s all about usefulness, but ideally you’d be killing 2 birds with 1 stone i.e. having fun and learning something that could take down a bully if needed.

Any thoughts on this? We also have a Brazilian jiu jitsu school that is not too far away, but that does seem a bit more intense.
As a kid I used to do judo. As an adult I do BJJ. My son used to do TKD, tried Aikido (1 lesson), and now he does BJJ. He likes BJJ and it's a good fit for his personality. He likes rolling around and grappling. He can safely go at it with 80-90% intensity. TKD wasn't his cup of tea. He didn't like kicking and punching into the air and practicing forms. YMMV.

The best program for your son is the one he enjoys and will continue doing. Let him try both. A good school will allow a few free trial classes. Also, as a parent, check out the school and instructors. Does it have good instructors with a dedicated kids program? What are the other students like? Even though its an individual sport, a good school will foster camaraderie and team spirit between students. IMHO the actual martial art is less important. It could be karate, BJJ, judo, Aikido, TKD, JKD etc.. Almost any martial art will develop discipline, self confidence and athleticism. As far as street fighting or UFC, don't expect any of these places to turn him into Anderson Silva.

The places to avoid are the McDojos that over promise, under deliver, and drain your wallet. There should be flexibility for classes and fees. You should not feel like you're being locked into a contract or sold a time share. Also, the emphasis should not just be belt advancement or tournaments. It should allow students to develop at their own pace. Having to pay extra $ for a bunch of extras e.g. belt testing is a red flag. You should not feel like you're having to pay all these extra fees in addition to the base rate. Are the instructors nice people or do they come off more like car salesmen? How does the instructor tout their art? Are they full of BS?
Disclaimer: nothing written here should be taken as legal advice, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.

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wageoghe
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Re: Karate for kids—Thoughts?

Post by wageoghe » Thu Apr 30, 2015 5:01 pm

Whatever you do, don't put your son in Cobra Kai! http://www.cobrakaidojo.com/

texasdiver
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Re: Karate for kids—Thoughts?

Post by texasdiver » Thu Apr 30, 2015 5:17 pm

Ask yourself why are you doing sports to begin with?

For my kids, who border on being a big too pudgy and sedentary if I don't get them out of the house, my priority is fitness and aerobic exercise. We have done gymnastics, ballet, and karate and in all three cases when I go watch a practice it seems that 75% of the time the kids are standing around in lines and they frankly barely ever break a sweat. So money wasted in my book in terms of actually getting my kids active and fit. In no case are they going to be Olympic gymnasts or marital arts experts, nor are they going to be professional dancers. So there is really not much point dragging them there unless they loved it so much they just really want to do it and that was not the case with either girl.

So we have the 12 year old in swimming with the local swim club and she has worked up to A level times in the distances and swims 2 hours a day 4 days a week from 6-8 pm. It has done absolute wonders for her fitness, appearance, and self confidence. And she loves her swim team. She will probably be an OK high school swimmer but that is probably as far as she will go and that's just fine with me. It's more about the health and fitness and building lifetime habits. Gymnastics and dance did nothing for her and were torture all around. But we went through some ups and downs with the swimming until she really got into the groove.

The 9 year old is in soccer on a youth team that I coach. I run a very active practice with lots and lots of running and scrimmaging and almost never any standing around in lines or listening to me talk. The kids are all exhausted when I am done with them and that is on purpose. I see too many youth soccer dads try to run practices like they remember from HS football where the kids are lining up and running drills around cones instead of actually playing the game. I explain this to my parents. I tell them the kids will be running a lot and to send a lot of water with them. They are all 100% in agreement. So very little standing around and drilling. The little Brazilian kids learn to play by playing on the street not by standing around listening to middle-aged dads yell at them and run them through cones the way most suburban youth practices are run.

I tell my daughters they are required to be in some kind of fitness related sports activity and that is no negotiable. But we are 100% open to negotiation as to what kind of activity. So they can't quit one sport until they have a replacement lined up. For a while the middle daughter was between soccer and swimming and we had to find something to keep her active so my wife took her to Zumba classes 3 times a week and they both did Zumba together until she was ready to try something different. When the oldest quit soccer she got to go running with dad 3 times a week and then decided to try cross country.
Last edited by texasdiver on Thu Apr 30, 2015 5:31 pm, edited 4 times in total.

saladdin
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Re: Karate for kids—Thoughts?

Post by saladdin » Thu Apr 30, 2015 5:22 pm

frugalprof wrote:I have been taking karate with my 8 year old for the last month. Unlike most other athletic activities, this is something we can do together, which she loves. I also think it helps teach her respect. I enjoy it too, though practicing my moves on folks half my height and 1/5th my age is quite comical.
I can picture it. Take a kid down and stand over them yelling "WAX OFF PUNK!!"

mikeast
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Re: Karate for kids—Thoughts?

Post by mikeast » Thu Apr 30, 2015 6:08 pm

In my view, the grappling arts Judo, Wrestling, Jiu Jitsu are much more fun for kids and effective for confidence and anti-bullying. They're doing it right off the bat (tossing each other around)
and not just doing a bunch of kata forms of questionable value just to get their next colored belt.

aaaaaaabbbbbbbbbb
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Re: Karate for kids—Thoughts?

Post by aaaaaaabbbbbbbbbb » Thu Apr 30, 2015 6:17 pm

Most (all?) karate Mc"dojos" just teach choreographed moves and forms. I second the grappling arts suggestion.

Or maybe MMA. :D

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pezblanco
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Re: Karate for kids—Thoughts?

Post by pezblanco » Thu Apr 30, 2015 6:36 pm

It sort of depends on the age of the kid. My BJJ dojo wouldn't allow children less than 16 (?) to participate. Seriously, you can't have 8 year olds practicing arm bars on each other right? Or choke holds?

Judo and Wrestling are really good recommendations. Both are great for kids. My own kid went through the whole karate experience (to black belt) and yes there are good points but the karate he learned didn't really translate into a useful "skill set". A lot of karate schools are "belt factories" and the selling of belts to the kids is the prime money maker for the business ....

tarq476
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Re: Karate for kids—Thoughts?

Post by tarq476 » Thu Apr 30, 2015 6:38 pm

frugalprof wrote:I have been taking karate with my 8 year old for the last month. Unlike most other athletic activities, this is something we can do together, which she loves. I also think it helps teach her respect. I enjoy it too, though practicing my moves on folks half my height and 1/5th my age is quite comical.
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Boglegrappler
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Re: Karate for kids—Thoughts?

Post by Boglegrappler » Thu Apr 30, 2015 7:21 pm

I'm in Mikeeast's camp.

It's been my observation that karate schools have a lot of belts and awards that are fine for a certain level of discipline, but IMO are often exaggerated in terms of what actual physical or skill benefit accrues.

Wrestling and judo both have actual combat at an early stage, and will give your kid feedback on whether he likes it or not, and whether he's interested in getting better. (This difference is somewhat necessary because judo and wrestling are 'control-based', and karate is a "striking" art.)

I think I'd go for the judo school if you're really looking for utility. For barehanded conflicts, judoists are superior because their sport allows submission holds and chokeouts, whereas wrestling prohibits such moves. (Wrestlers do well in MMA fights, though, because of their deep background in ground tactics.) A more classic judo might be better than Brazilian jujitsu, but I"m not certain of that.

Ultimately none of these works great if someone has a weapon, but of the three I like the ones with real contests early on. I've seen kids with various karate belts who would be in serious trouble in a street fight. This is much less true of judoists and wrestlers.

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Re: Karate for kids—Thoughts?

Post by Rexindex » Thu Apr 30, 2015 8:27 pm

Not sure how old your son is, but in my opinion karate for kids less than 10 years old is kind of a waste. You are paying for them to get exercise, if that's what you want, great but there are other ways to do that cheaper.

I taught multiple martial arts and think there are a few that are wonderful for teaching discipline and self defense. But in my case I saw the kids needed to be around 10 to be able to really get much out of it self defense wise.

BJJ is very popular today because of the ultimate fighting. Not sure it's so great for kids.

For great exercise and self defense I would suggest Kenpo or Krav Maga from a good teacher. Also, a teacher where he/she does not expect students to call them anything other than their first or last name. 😄
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slow123
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Re: Karate for kids—Thoughts?

Post by slow123 » Thu Apr 30, 2015 10:00 pm

randomguy wrote:
slow123 wrote: It's a great thing for confidence. I was always into weight lifting, surfing and triathlons, but wasn't a "tough guy". Now at 33, I haven't trained in years, yet I'm very confident I could protect my family in a bad situation.

Thats the attitude that gets people shot:)
That's ridiculous logic. People get shot all the time, regardless if they know how to defend themselves or not. If I'm attacked (or a family member) for no reason, you better believe I'm glad I know how to protect myself.

I have spent a lot of time in rings and cages at very elite schools. I have won many sessions, but I have lost even more. I have nothing to prove to myself because I know where I fall on the spectrum. You could pretty much spit on me and I would tell you to have a nice day and I would walk away. I'm talking about situations that are unavoidable.

You're are correct if you're imply that once you're "tough" you're looking for "reasons for people to slip up". That's a different conversation. There's always someone tougher or that has a bigger weapon. :wink:

fidelio
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Re: Karate for kids—Thoughts?

Post by fidelio » Fri May 01, 2015 12:42 am

my son started kempo karate at a young age. in his case, it was a good thing as he stayed with it and after all the belt tests eventually acheived a jr. black belt in his teens, which gave him a big feeling of accomplishment. he had a formidible teacher, for whom he he developed respect, and i think that was important. all in all, it was a good experience. i am sure it is not always so, quality of the dojo, absence of child abusers, etc., must all be verified. use common sense.

HIinvestor
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Re: Karate for kids—Thoughts?

Post by HIinvestor » Fri May 01, 2015 3:36 am

Agree that you and your kids have to decide the goal here. Is it cardiovascular fitness? Self defense? Trying out different activities to find lifetime sports?

When our kids were young, we tried them in tons of different things--hula, ballet, tennis, cross country, football, soccer, swimming, basketball, judo, golf and canoe paddling. They chose the activities they liked best. In college, they did rock climbing, fencing and polo. It was good for them to try the range of options and be in control of the choices.

If you want your kids to have a lifetime sport, tennis is often one that folks take up for a lifetime. Some folks also take up running, hiking or other activities for a lifetime.

I'd say check out what free or low cost sports your kids would like to try and let them explore. That's the only way you and they will know which activities are a good or bad fit. The coaches, trainers, teachers and peers make a huge difference, so definitely check them out to minimize surprises.

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wander
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Re: Karate for kids—Thoughts?

Post by wander » Fri May 01, 2015 6:50 am

Another option is Taekwondo. It's also popular and easy to find. My nephew has learned it for some years. They travel for tournaments as well.

LLTF1836
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Re: Karate for kids—Thoughts?

Post by LLTF1836 » Fri May 01, 2015 7:16 am

I think there have been a lot of great points made so far and they all focus on the practical skills aspect or assume that your kid would be a casual/recreational participant and get fitness or social benefits from participating in the sport. One thing that hasn't been mentioned is, what if your kid excels and takes the sport to the most elite levels? In most sports that is a desirable outcome. With martial arts, I believe the highest level is professional MMA fighting and the path to get there involves incredibly brutal semi-pro circuits with questionable safety and dubious long-term health consequences. I don't want to impose any set of beliefs as I know that many people enter the sport with that specific goal in mind. There is a cost-benefit analysis to be done and I understand that different circumstances or beliefs lead people to end up on both sides of the debate. I also recognize that the vast majority of martial arts students will never end up at that level of the sport just as most little leaguers never make it to MLB. I just think it is worth considering that if you put your child in a sport, they may excel further than you anticipated and you should make sure you are ok with that or you really only have yourself to blame.

Rebecca_S
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Re: Karate for kids—Thoughts?

Post by Rebecca_S » Fri May 01, 2015 7:19 am

If you decide to pursue a martial art, the most important factor will be the abilities of the teacher and if they mesh personalities with your child.

There are karate instructors who are awesome and who are terrible; there are judo instructors who are awesome and are terrible; there are aikido instructors who are awesome and terrible...

At young ages you are paying for physical fitness rather than self defence, but that is OK if you are realistic. Avoid places that put a lot of emphasis on belts and make you pay a lot to test.

I've done jujitsu for 9 years, never need to use it to physically defend myself but have used the rolling/falling safely skills a few times to save myself from serious injury.

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Re: Karate for kids—Thoughts?

Post by eschaef » Fri May 01, 2015 8:25 am

My friend's son did karate when he was younger. The teacher always emphasized that they needed good food to fuel their bodies. My friend's son began insisting on including vegetables in every meal because he didn't want to let down his karate teacher and he really began believing in needing good fuel for his body. So, in his case there was definitely a peripheral benefit to the karate classes beyond the karate itself.

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Re: Karate for kids—Thoughts?

Post by mxs » Fri May 01, 2015 8:33 am

smackboy1 wrote: The places to avoid are the McDojos that over promise, under deliver, and drain your wallet. There should be flexibility for classes and fees. You should not feel like you're being locked into a contract or sold a time share. Also, the emphasis should not just be belt advancement or tournaments. It should allow students to develop at their own pace. Having to pay extra $ for a bunch of extras e.g. belt testing is a red flag. You should not feel like you're having to pay all these extra fees in addition to the base rate. Are the instructors nice people or do they come off more like car salesmen? How does the instructor tout their art? Are they full of BS?
+1

I suggest BJJ, Muay Thai, or one of the more realistic scenario based kung fu varieties. The instructor is key. I would rather have a good instructor in a IMO useless martial art (Karate / Tae kwon do) than a bad instructor in a useful martial art (BJJ / Muay Thai / Kung Fu). American sport wrestling is another good option.

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Re: Karate for kids—Thoughts?

Post by ShenziNation » Fri May 01, 2015 9:38 am

I practiced Goju-Ryu Karate for 6 years in my teens, MWF 6-7pm. Best fun I had with my brother. Made a ton of friends who are into fitness and healthy lifestyles. After the dojo, we hitched a ride home with a dojo buddy's parent or with my dad, take a shower, have dinner, do your homework, listen to music, go to bed. Didn't have time for TV.

Our master sensei was Japanese, 6th Dan. Restaurant owner in his regular life. Didn't speak english well, but you understood through his actions. The other two sensei's were also 3rd dan and above. I progressed to 1st Dan before I emigrated to the US. I learnt a lot of values, discipline, cleaning the dojo, eating well, enjoying a good workout, how to handle high school idiots, and self-confidence with the ladies (in a good way).

When one progressed to 2nd or 1st ryu (the two highest brown belts), they had to start teaching the newbies. This meant I learned to communicate with people of all ages and improved my karate demonstration skills. Twice a year we had grading and competition. Kata, kumite, bunkai. We had to fight other disciplines such as Shotokan, Shotokai, wado-ryu, etc.

My brother and I still tell our father that was the best money he ever spent on us, instead of buying us gifts (which he hardly ever did, good man!).

I hope to restart at the dojo with my daughters in a couple of years. Hope my wife will join as she used to practice TaeKwonDo as a kid.

OP, just do it. Just make sure the sensei is not the aggressive idiot like in the Karate Kid movies. That part is real, per my experience.

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Re: Karate for kids—Thoughts?

Post by matonplayer » Fri May 01, 2015 9:42 am

Thought I'd throw out a difference of opinion, not that I feel strongly one way or the other. Both my kids did karate for a few years and eventually tired of it. No big thing. But I read somewhere that karate schools and the like are set up primarily as vehicles to get parents to spend as much money as possible on equipment, belts, awards, trophies, etc.

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Re: Karate for kids—Thoughts?

Post by mikepru » Fri May 01, 2015 10:02 am

My son and I took TKD for 2-3 yrs, and liked it a lot. Great exercise, and good self-defense skills. We took it at an suburban Parks and Rec---which was vastly cheaper than the private TKD school. Very reasonably priced, great instruction, and much less time-intensive.

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fire5soon
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Re: Karate for kids—Thoughts?

Post by fire5soon » Fri May 01, 2015 10:22 am

I practiced Taekwondo for many years in my youth and enjoyed it. I travelled for competitions and was ranked in the top 5 in the state for my age group for both fighting and forms. It gave me a lot of confidence, taught respect, and toughened me up both physically and mentally. I don't think it's exactly cheap although I don't know how expensive it is compared to other sports, so be prepared for that. I haven't practiced in many years, but I enjoyed it when I did.
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Re: Karate for kids—Thoughts?

Post by CFOKevin » Fri May 01, 2015 10:41 am

My 15 year-old son tired of team sports at age 8 and started TKD. He became a black belt at 12/13 (second degree now) and has enjoyed the entire experience immensely. In addition to improving his focus and helping him set goals and achieve them, he has also experienced teaching all ages (including beginners who were adults) since he was 11 or so. He has made great friends of all ages at his school. Find a teacher whose philosophy and spirit you admire and get him started. You never know where it will lead.

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Re: Karate for kids—Thoughts?

Post by leonard » Fri May 01, 2015 11:04 am

A martial art that combines a grappling art like Brazilian Jujitsu AND a striking art are far more practical for self defense. May as well have the kid learn a martial art that is useful sooner in training AND get the discipline aspect as well.
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Re: Karate for kids—Thoughts?

Post by Rupert » Fri May 01, 2015 12:24 pm

Karate, like other Eastern arts such as tai chi, yoga, etc., is great not just for physical fitness but also for teaching mindfulness, proper breathing techniques (very important in these anxious times), concentration and self-control. It's often recommended for children who have problems concentrating in school -- kids with ADHD, etc. Why not try an introductory course and see if he likes it? If he doesn't, try something else. Please don't emphasize the "take down a bully if needed" aspect. My first karate teacher told me to never pull out my karate at a bar fight. Better, he said, to have a shotgun.

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Re: Karate for kids—Thoughts?

Post by smackboy1 » Fri May 01, 2015 12:56 pm

pezblanco wrote:Seriously, you can't have 8 year olds practicing arm bars on each other right? Or choke holds?
Sure can. Our BJJ school has 2 kids classes starting at 4-6 y.o. and 7-13 y.o.. Both classes are full contact competitive sparring with grappling and throwing. The 7-13 y.o. class is taught armbar and choke submissions. It's done very carefully and the instructors are constantly drilling the need to take care of their practice partners and tapping before the submission hurts. The techniques taught to the kids and adults are the same. Nothing is watered down for the kids.

That's one of the primary reasons I liked judo and BJJ and other grappling sports. Kids can spar competitively at 100% energy pretty safely. Choking someone is slower and easier to control compared to kicking or punching someone's head.

I spend quality time with my son working on the finer points of submitting opponents.
Disclaimer: nothing written here should be taken as legal advice, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.

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pezblanco
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Re: Karate for kids—Thoughts?

Post by pezblanco » Fri May 01, 2015 1:10 pm

Thanks. I was just thinking of the liability issues but its great to know that BJJ can be taught to kids. It's a great sport.

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Re: Karate for kids—Thoughts?

Post by cjking » Fri May 01, 2015 1:58 pm

I did Karate as a teenager. Was lucky to start with an outstanding teacher, then we moved house and I went to boarding school and it became much more difficult to stay on track. The lesson I draw from that is that having the best teacher is the most important thing, I would prioritise that ahead of anything else, ahead even of the choice between a striking or grappling martial art. The story up-thread about the 6th Dan Japanese instructor describes exactly the kind of situation I would consider ideal.

From a practical point of view, I think striking martial arts like Karate are only indirectly useful for bullying situations. It may give confidence which avoids people being picked on in the first place, or makes it easier for them to walk away without feeling bad. It's only a partial exaggeration to say Karate is a bit like a nuclear weapon, your choices are doing severe damage or none at all. You can't half-punch/kick someone, unless you're only aiming for intimidation. (I remember now I did precisely that on one occasion, it worked perfectly.) I'd imagine a grappling art like Judo would be better for putting someone in their place without also putting them in the hospital.

Karate isn't for dilettantes. You need to want to work at it. It is a complex skill, you will need to clock up hundreds of training sessions before you are good. There's no way you can stick at it for long enough to become competent unless you really want to do it.

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Re: Karate for kids—Thoughts?

Post by geekpryde » Fri May 01, 2015 2:12 pm

My son has done BJJ for past 3 years, starting at age 9. He is very small for his age, about 3-4 years behind in terms of weight and size. BJJ is absolutely wonderful. It teaches his practical defense and offense. It teaches his confidence and discipline, and planning moves ahead, much like say Chess club would. He has used it on several occasions in situations that could have led to bullying of him, and friends he has defended. His confidence means that the bullies don't even get past the first step. BJJ is intense exercise, more so than many other sports, it gives a great sense camaraderie and pride, and there is a lot of fun and laughs too. Getting a recommendation from a stranger on the internet might not hold much weight, but I implore you to choose BJJ / MMA over Karate. They should not even be compared to one another, it is like comparing a tricycle to a dirt bike.

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Re: Karate for kids—Thoughts?

Post by wcinnn » Fri May 01, 2015 5:43 pm

30 years ago when our 3 girls were very young, a friend who had done a lot of ballet encouraged me to have them get martial arts training because it was her opinion that the physical training was as good as ballet, without some of the risks, and there was the added benefit that the girls would become comfortable with aggression. All 3 took TKD and stayed with it for a few of years. All are far more comfortable with aggression than most women of my generation. Our daughters are now getting martial arts training for their daughters.

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Re: Karate for kids—Thoughts?

Post by KlangFool » Fri May 01, 2015 5:49 pm

wander wrote:Another option is Taekwondo. It's also popular and easy to find. My nephew has learned it for some years. They travel for tournaments as well.
wander,

Do they spar?? They do in Asia but I am not sure about USA.

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Re: Karate for kids—Thoughts?

Post by woodsider » Fri May 01, 2015 6:17 pm

Long time lurker that joined to add to this conversation.

I did TKD for 10+ years then switched to BJJ when a legitimate school opened about 5 years ago. I wish the BJJ school was open when I started TKD. Both my kids (4 yo daughter, 6 yo son) do BJJ now. No question in my mind which is better in almost every way. A lot of the "traditional" martial arts are pretty watered down where you put in 3-5 years of training and you will be black belt. BJJ is the furthest from that, if you come across a BJJ black belt, you can be sure that he is legitimate. A BJJ belt is earned on the mat and unless you are a phenom it will take 10+ years, if you get there at all.

Find a "good" BJJ school and you won't be disappointed. Depending on where you live there should be at least a few choices. Go watch a few classes before you sign anything. If they won't let you watch for a while that is a red flag.

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Re: Karate for kids—Thoughts?

Post by chessmannextmove » Fri May 01, 2015 11:11 pm

davebo wrote:My son is wanting to take a break from team sports and try something new. We’re less than a couple minutes away from a Karate place near our house that seems to have a pretty strong kids program. I know a lot of people sign their kids up for karate and they seem to enjoy it, but does karate really have any usefulness outside of the dojo?

Not that it’s all about usefulness, but ideally you’d be killing 2 birds with 1 stone i.e. having fun and learning something that could take down a bully if needed.

Any thoughts on this? We also have a Brazilian jiu jitsu school that is not too far away, but that does seem a bit more intense.
Karate is useless in a street fight. Jiu jitsu is a million times more practical.

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Re: Karate for kids—Thoughts?

Post by Alex Frakt » Fri May 01, 2015 11:46 pm

My university had a strong martial arts program. I tried karate and aikido and eventually settled on judo in which I got to brown belt before graduating. My son and I also did BJJ classes when they were offered in the next building (Carlson Gracie Jr. is my neighbor :-)).

IMO, any of the martial arts are good for general fitness and becoming comfortable with your body. However, the minimal or no contact "striking" arts like karate and TKD have limited practicality. If you tried those moves against any kind of experienced fighter, trained or untrained, you are likely to get yourself hurt badly. In contrast, the grappling arts like judo and BJJ (and wrestling) are much more likely to be useful for self-defense. But the most practical part of judo (and BJJ, although it's not emphasized as heavily) is learning how to fall without getting hurt.

Aikido is also great for self-defense and fall protection if you can find a class that fits you and stick with it long enough. The two I tried were a bit, ummm,... airy-fairy is the best term I can come up with.

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Re: Karate for kids—Thoughts?

Post by Tycoon » Sat May 02, 2015 7:45 am

Grappling, wrestling, karate, jjj, ,kubota, etc..., all of these arts are difficult, if not impossible, to apply successfully against multiple enemies (people that truly want to hurt you).
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Re: Karate for kids—Thoughts?

Post by TomTX » Sat May 02, 2015 8:20 am

Getting away from the "This martial arts is best" discussion for a moment:

Any reputable martial arts studio should let you have a free or low-cost trial with no further commitment. The place I go encourages a free class for anyone, then a 4 week trial ($49 for 4 weeks, includes a uniform.)

Try out a variety of different places. See what your kid likes. See what you like. Do it with them.

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Re: Karate for kids—Thoughts?

Post by Loco Moco » Sat May 02, 2015 8:28 am

I recommend jiu-jitsu. Search youtube for "gracies in action," "gracie challenge," "royce gracie highlight," and "jiu-jitsu vs [karate, or any other martial art]."

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