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Old 1 January 2020, 10:34
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How to get young kids interested in MA?

Have 2 x young daughters, (elementary age), and once we make our US move in the next few months, I would like them to learn an MA. I thnking Judo or BJJ, but the specific style is not what's important at this point.

Apart from dropping hints for the last 6 months, putting on the occasional YouTube vid of kids MA to watch, and trying to have a conversation about it....what else can I do to get them interested?

They don't have any friends that do it.
The local area has a couple of centres, but when I visited them, the instructors looked (and acted) like obese paedophiles, and I'm not taking my kids there, even just to watch.

I don't want to scare them by telling them they will be hurt if they can't defend themselves, but I also don't want them thinking that they can run to mum if someone makes a face at them.

Sooo....how do you get kids interested in MA?
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Old 1 January 2020, 10:59
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The key is making it important to them. And the other kids in the environment.

I'm going to tell you that based upon 40 years of experience, traditional martial arts schools are not going to give your kids the vibe that will be healthy down the road. The traditional schools have, in large part built their business models on getting in as many students as possible, and selling their "black belt club" memberships. Then they teach kids cool kata's, but no real self defense to speak of. And they award children black belts. Then those kids go on believing that they have actual black belt skills at an age where it's impossible and deceptive.

BJJ schools do an amazing job of making it fun and social, and they actually learn to defend themselves without even really realizing it. And that is because there are fairly difficult physical warm ups at the beginning of class, just intense enough to make em sweaty, and to give em a sense of accomplishment when the warm up is over. They they learn cool moves, and then they roll. All done is a rather game like format.

The kids kick each others asses and bond to a level that you do not see outside of a well oiled school sports team. The camaraderie is very real, and believe it or not, fairly close to a military level of camaraderie. I've taught my daughter since she was four (about to be 15), but she LOVES her BJJ class. Aside from two girls who do not train and her Girl Scout troop, her BJJ friends are her best friends.

You need to find a school where it is "fun". The Gracies have a phrase that rings true whether or not one likes the Gracie's, they are good at what they do, and the phrase perfect, "Keep it Playful". And in a good BJJ class, that is EXACTLY what they do.

And in an MMA/BJJ school, the chances of seeing an out of shape instructor is not high. In fact, you'll see teachers who are not black belts teaching, and that is because the basic skill level of BJJ senior blue belt, or basic purple belt likely has more technique and raw fighting ability than a black belt from a traditional school. I digress, the kids classes when designed to be fun, informative, and inclusive are some of the most fun kids can have.

The instructors get invested in the kids and their development because those kids work in class, and learn something real.

Take em to watch a BJJ class, best case scenario, most schools will loan you a couple gi's to let the kids try the class for themselves. I've yet to see a class where the KIDS fail to automatically draw the new kids in, before the instructors have the chance.

I know that I sound like a commercial for BJJ, but I've done this most of my life, assumed I'd pass on what I know to my kiddo, but seeing her enjoy it because of the kids her age, the camaraderie and the caliber of the other instructors, is amazing. It is fun for her, it's given her a sense of belonging, she knows that she can handle herself, and she'll beat a MF'er with the Earth and look cute doing it, like it was her job.

And that just comes from the fun tribal kid culture that is allowed to foster while they learn something serious.

I am more than positive that one of us here can find you a solid school wherever you are landing in the States. I know for a fact that there are some AWESOME schools in MA. Extremely good schools in fact.

I'd say this: showing the kids video's may scare em off. Because it looks serious on video. But when they're in the class, they get a lesson, and then they end up "wrestling" like most kids are prone to do anyways. But this way, they know what they hell they're doing. They'll make fast, and lasting friends.

Outside of .mil and vet circles, and this speaks to my kiddo, I've met and befriended some of the best people I've ever met. Put in that work, share the sacrifice and effort, lasting bonds.
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Old 1 January 2020, 11:01
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What specific general area of MA?
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Old 1 January 2020, 14:38
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Does not so much matter what style of martial arts - but the school. In the art I teach there are really bad schools and really good schools.

Find a school that has good instructors, firm yet personable . There are some martial artist that are really good fighters, but terrible teachers. And teaching kids is different than teaching adults. Realistic yet also fun. Kids like challenges and goals they can accomplish. A school that is disciplined, yet builds the kids up. Also make sure the school is safe, practices good safety. I am not saying the kids should be coddled ) as some schools might do), but there are some schools that are not safety minded. Nothing will turn a kid off more than a unnecessary injury or ass beating.

Look for a school that keeps the kids active. Kids need it.

As to motivating your kids to go? May sound cheesy, but find some good Kung fu movies for them to watch. : ). (Of course explain to them the movies is not real life. No one is ever 100% invincible and Kung Fu means Hard Work).

Sometimes kids have to be pushed to enter activities, that is why there are parents. If kids were left to chose for themselves they wound just watch TV, play video games and eat junk food. My Mother forced me to join the Boy Scout, even against my protests. Turned out to be one of the best things that ever happened to me and started me down many paths.

Tell your kids they are joining. If it is a good school they should like. Even if they do not like, it is good for them. My mother also forced me to take piano lessons which I hated and stopped after a couple years and never played piano since then. But the coordination, mental development, etc I learned from it was part of my childhood development.

Martial Arts for a child is also not just about self-defense and fighting. That is of course a major part. But the self esteem, confidence, mobility, balance, coordination aspects will help them out in all areas of life.

After having trained many foreign troops (and sadly some Americans) you can see the mobility and coordination problems many adults had who did not have the benefit of sports, martial arts, even musical instruments at a young age.

Best to your children on their journey and I applaud you as a parent for taking an active role in their development.
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Old 1 January 2020, 16:22
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Get them Count Dante's book.
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Old 1 January 2020, 16:24
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Monkey see monkey do. Get into the arts with them, nothing makes a kid happier than sharing in what their parents are doing.
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Old 1 January 2020, 16:25
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Get them Count Dante's book.
LMAO,Mr Dojo wars himself
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  #8  
Old 1 January 2020, 19:21
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Chokeu2 - Good post, and makes sense.
Leopardprey - Agree.
BadKarma - Agree.

It seems like our mindsets align. Am thinking of looking for decent "fun" schools once we land in MT, and just take them, grumbling and groaning, to that same school. If the wife and have to get ourselves into those funny-looking kimono things and join in, we'll do it.

Have lost track of how many times we've watched the Kung Fu Panda movies and I talk up Tigress!

Thanks all.
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Old 2 January 2020, 10:23
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Originally Posted by BadKarma View Post
Monkey see monkey do. Get into the arts with them, nothing makes a kid happier than sharing in what their parents are doing.
Agree with BadKarma, Our daughter who is now 6 has been in our MMA gym since she was a month old. She ran around watching us while we did BJJ and fitness classes, and once she turned 4 she started their Little Dragons (Taekwondo) program.

Our daughter would have never stuck with it this long this if she did not see us taking the classes also.

Our daughter plays other sports also and the tadkwondo classes have helped her a lot in comparison to the other kids. Examples are when she gets knocked down in soccer she knows how to fall and will get right back up without hesitation and the other parents will comment on how she does not get phased by it.
One day she fell off the diving board and was hurt but climbed back up on the diving board and jumped off, then come to me crying with a scratched up knee and elbow.
I am hoping that everything she is learning in the MA will be like the "Wax on/Wax off" from the Karate Kid when she is older and instinct will kick in when it needs to.

None of our daughters play friends are in the classes with her but she does have friends there.Your daughters will make new friends there but it may take a few classes before the others really warm up to them. The regulars in the class see a lot of new kids show up only to last a couple weeks and there is not a lot of time for chit chat during the classes.
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Old 2 January 2020, 10:27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BadKarma View Post
Monkey see monkey do. Get into the arts with them, nothing makes a kid happier than sharing in what their parents are doing.
When it's all said and done, this is the best way for sure!
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Old 2 January 2020, 10:47
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Originally Posted by BadKarma View Post
Monkey see monkey do. Get into the arts with them, nothing makes a kid happier than sharing in what their parents are doing.
Great stuff and it works. When I started training my son did not want to train with me, so I didn't push. We moved, I picked up BJJ at a new gym (Team Mannon is great) and BOOM, son has been training for 3 months is likes it a lot.

Agree with others that BJJ kids classes are generally well run and made fun for kids. I would go to several gyms and ask to observe, then pick the one you think has the best environment for your kids. Would also throw in Western Boxing if you can. Give the kids real world stand up and ground game skills.
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Old 2 January 2020, 11:49
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Don't let your kid be the one with dirty Gi.
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Old 2 January 2020, 11:57
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Don't let your kid be the one with dirty Gi.
or smell like cheese...
These are two of the things that drives my daughter crazy in class. We have a kid who's gi is nearly gray, and there are a couple boys that smell like cheese. Those cheese boys are the two that when rolling, she goes 100% to get the tap and move on to the next. :-)

I hate rolling with those people too for that matter. But what I REALLY hate are the people who don't take care of their feet, and show up with dirty hammer toes, funk that seems to be an ecosystem, etc...

Watch for those things too when choosing a school... cleanliness of the school and the people.
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Old 2 January 2020, 12:18
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Thumbs up

Smells like cheese.....LMAO.

Sounds like you have done a great job as a father with your daughter.
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Old 2 January 2020, 13:11
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(Team Mannon is great)
Sounds like we are in the same town, Tim is one of the best.
We are over at Tech MMA.
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Old 2 January 2020, 18:39
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Thanks all.

I wish I was around enough to start a MA with them when they were little. The reality is that I spent most of the first 5-6 yrs of their lives working overseas. Wasn't even able to attend a single birthday party until my eldest was 6. Now that we're both financially "free", I am able to get involved in my kids lives as much as I can, which has always been my goal. And it's awesome.

In the last few months alone, we've started kayaking, fishing, hiking. Hell, just having the time to sit down and play board games with them is a huge improvement.

Will do some research before we make the move, but it looks like the physical stinky-cheese checks are required in person.

Thanks again all.
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Old 2 January 2020, 18:54
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Don't know how old you are but if you decide to do this yourself along with them it's going to be a journey. I been spending most of this year getting choked, sat on, bent in half, thrown down, strangled, sprained, and bruised by twenty year olds. I have taken some Gracie classes when traveling and they have a more methodical approach designed to build up some ability before you get murdered for a living. You should try both "schools" of thought before committing your $, if you do BJJ. OK maybe it's not that bad (sometimes) but your ego and health/injury history will be put to the test for sure.

Kids classes seem to be the same at both if you ask me, fun besides just rolling around.
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Old 4 January 2020, 00:23
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nofear, As stated, get into the classes with them. Find a style and teacher (sensei/sifu/what-not) that suits y'all.

I have studied a little bit of Shotokan and Taekwondo. There was something about them I did not like. I settled on (Tracy's) Kenpo. I stopped when I went into the Army but studied other combative styles while in.

Once I retired and I was able to get my daughter interested (high schooler) I enrolled her in some MA classes near the house (~2009). It was blah. Pure accidental I came across a Tracy's Karate near work (~2010). We went in and still working with the teacher now. I (re)started at the basic level with her and after she got to my rank we have been promoted with each other. Great bonding.

Kenpo served her very well, confidence and ability. She was in JrROTC and on the retiring the colors detail with three guys. Well, one of the guys started bulling her and she ultimately had to defend herself (at the flag pole no less). She broke his nose and knocked him down, hard. He got up and ran away crying.

Yeah, she got into trouble with the school and was arrested the next day when the bully's momma pressed charges. My daughter had to do some tasks but the judge dismissed everything when it came out she was defending herself (witness statements).

And the bully who out weighed my daughter by a good 50 lbs had the reputation throughout the school as "the one that got his ass kicked by a 98 lb girl" and "who's mommy had to come to his rescue" for two years until he left.
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Old 4 January 2020, 09:24
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Originally Posted by Xdeth View Post
Don't know how old you are but if you decide to do this yourself along with them it's going to be a journey. I been spending most of this year getting choked, sat on, bent in half, thrown down, strangled, sprained, and bruised by twenty year olds. I have taken some Gracie classes when traveling and they have a more methodical approach designed to build up some ability before you get murdered for a living. You should try both "schools" of thought before committing your $, if you do BJJ. OK maybe it's not that bad (sometimes) but your ego and health/injury history will be put to the test for sure.
I'll only do it, if I need to, long enough for the kids to become self-motivated to keep at it. I have other skills development I want to focus on, long-term.
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Old 4 January 2020, 15:47
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Originally Posted by Dangerous View Post
nofear, As stated, get into the classes with them. Find a style and teacher (sensei/sifu/what-not) that suits y'all.

I have studied a little bit of Shotokan and Taekwondo. There was something about them I did not like. I settled on (Tracy's) Kenpo. I stopped when I went into the Army but studied other combative styles while in.

Once I retired and I was able to get my daughter interested (high schooler) I enrolled her in some MA classes near the house (~2009). It was blah. Pure accidental I came across a Tracy's Karate near work (~2010). We went in and still working with the teacher now. I (re)started at the basic level with her and after she got to my rank we have been promoted with each other. Great bonding.

Kenpo served her very well, confidence and ability. She was in JrROTC and on the retiring the colors detail with three guys. Well, one of the guys started bulling her and she ultimately had to defend herself (at the flag pole no less). She broke his nose and knocked him down, hard. He got up and ran away crying.

Yeah, she got into trouble with the school and was arrested the next day when the bully's momma pressed charges. My daughter had to do some tasks but the judge dismissed everything when it came out she was defending herself (witness statements).

And the bully who out weighed my daughter by a good 50 lbs had the reputation throughout the school as "the one that got his ass kicked by a 98 lb girl" and "who's mommy had to come to his rescue" for two years until he left.
So much this...
And she was able to do that because she had the strength of will that she learned training with dad.

Fuckin good on you man.
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