The Changing Face of Childrens’ Martial Arts Classes
By Master Keith Wilkes, President – FEAR KNOT Martial Arts For Kidz
When I began my martial arts training waaaaay back in 1973, a parent’s choice of martial arts classes for their five or six-year-old child was non-existent. Not so today. While still steeped in centuries-old traditions, in many ways martial arts training has caught up with the modern world, especially for those younger students.
The Psychology of Children’s Martial Arts
Over the past 20 years a number of “pre-school” martial arts programs have been developed. These programs are generally designed for four to six-year-olds. The psychology aspect of their training revolves around personality development and the understanding of the different age groups to learn and retain information.
Children’s martial arts classes should be fun and teach at their psychological, emotional, and physical level. Not understanding each age group’s abilities will lead to frustration with both the instructor and the student.
Knowing the differences in those abilities gives Fear Knot instructors a huge advantage when working with school-aged children. Our instructors know that five-year-olds are not adults in small bodies so they don’t expect them to behave and perform like one.
The Modern Children’s Martial Arts Class
At Fear Knot, our developmental programs are age-specific and concept-based. Using basic martial arts skills, the classes focus on teaching children about a variety of martial arts concepts like self-control, discipline, and perseverance in a way that they (the children) can understand. Classes are designed to be fun and have the students wanting to come back for more.
“All the kids at Fear Knot receive life skills that you can’t get at a brick-and-mortar school”, says Lucinda H., whose daughter has been with Fear Knot for five years. “We’ve felt at home with Fear Knot due to the values the program has to offer.”
It isn’t all about those “listening skills” though. Another area of our programs focus on physical development. Concepts like balance, coordination, agility, and speed quickly improve a child’s fine motor skills.
Children’s martial arts training today has become more focused on character and life skill development. The self-defense aspect is still there but it has taken on a secondary role to personal development.
Because of that focus, today’s younger martial arts students are typically more confident, disciplined, and focused than their peers. That’s something Lucinda has noticed since her first daughter’s first night at Fear Knot. “My daughter achieving that first stripe in Karate Kidz was just awesome. Her sense of accomplishment each and every time a goal has been met has strengthened her character.”