If you're interested in starting your child up in Martial Arts this September, there are a number of things you can do as a parent to get ready.
- One of the first questions that always pops into people's heads is where to train. For young children, I think have a comfort with the teacher and setting is far more important than finding the absolute best style out there. Style can come with time as you get familiar with the Arts. First find a teacher and school you like.
References from other parents and your child's friends are often the best way to find a school locally. However, if you don't know of anyone in the area that does Martial Arts, summer is a great time to look. Most Martial Arts schools that cater to younger groups host demonstrations at local fairs and events. If you get a chance to get out to one of these, observe the students and school.
- Do the students over all look happy? Do they behave relatively well for their age?
- Are people involved with the group inviting and welcoming to you?
- Is a teacher there with the group? How does the teacher act towards the kids? Towards the parents?
- How much?
- Most Martial Arts training cost money. You are gaining a skill and thus must pay for what you learn. Especially in this time of economic downturn, it's important to realize on the onset of the training that there will be expenses for training. Realistically, in a given year, it is not uncommon to spend $1000 or more per child training.
- What equipment does my child need?
- Each school is different in terms of what they require to train. At a minimal, your child will probably need a uniform. Certain schools/styles will recommend other equipment such as shoes, sparring gear, and more. It would be good to get a list of what is needed and some timeline for when it's needed so you can budget properly to get the equipment.
Try to start with the minimal equipment required and build as your child continues to show interest. The last thing you would want to do is, for instance, buy a full set of sparring gear and then have your child drop out. A way to save money is to check with other parents who go to school there, there may be some who are willing to sell equipment their child has grown out of.
Summer is often a good time to look for equipment because it doesn't become an extra burden to the already expensive school shopping list. Because Martial Arts is practiced year-round, supplies for Martial Arts equipment are available and stocked throughout the summer. People may also be more apt to put their used equipment up for sale as the new school year draws closer and they prepare themselves for training. Plus, shopping for equipment will help a child get excited for the upcoming school year and what's to come.
- Consider the time commitment
- Above the money consideration, there is also the time consideration. These days, kids are often overbooked with activities. Though it's wonderful to expose your child to so many interesting activities, sometimes it's too much. To truly be successful in Martial Arts, you need to spend time outside of the Martial Arts school practicing what you learn. If you donít give your child that time to practice and fill their days instead with other activities, they will eventually struggle to keep up. This leads to disappointment and eventually disliking the Martial Arts.
While you have time during the summer, before the rush of school starts, do a map of your typical week. Try to allocate time each day for your child to practice their Martial Arts above and beyond the scheduled class times. Having this additional time will yield a more rewarding experience towards successful training.