As a parent, you send your child to school with the expectation that he or she will learn the basics. Basics are the building blocks of a good, solid education. As a parent, I’m sure you’d be quite upset if your child’s school to failed to teach the fundamentals of reading, writing and arithmetic before your child moved on to more complex subjects. Why is it that parents don’t have the same expectations when it comes to martial arts training? As long as the kid is “having fun,” who cares about the basics? As long as the school gives out a lot of belts, patches and certificates to make the child “feel good,” so what?
Many parents unknowingly fall into this trap. It is vital that good basic techniques and proper body mechanics are emphasized at the beginning of your child’s martial arts training. A child’s joints are developing and care should be taken to train the child slowly and carefully to avoid long-term damage. Emphasizing good techniques that develop proper balance and coordination is key to teaching a child how to control his or her body.
There is a tendency to wait until the child is older to explain the reasons for executing techniques properly and to make physical corrections. This, in my opinion is a big mistake. Unfortunately, once bad habits are formed, they are very hard to break. We see this in children who come to us from other systems. We can easily tell if a child’s previous instructor spent any time creating a good foundation. While some schools do a great job, others fail miserably. Now we have to spend the time helping the student correct the damage already done!
Teaching children is not easy and when you have a lot of them in one room, the instructor may not have the patience, skill or even manpower to make sure that the child is moving properly. Others simply just don’t care. The consequences of this attitude, however, may result in serious injuries that may damage your child for the rest of his or her life.
Demand the same attention to basics in your child’s martial arts program. While having fun and developing “self-esteem” is nice, you wouldn’t feel the same way if your child couldn’t read because he or she never learned the alphabet!
Calasanz Martial Arts and Fitness
507 Westport Ave, Norwalk CT 06851