Guest Author - Caroline Chen-Whatley
Having your child involved in Martial Arts is a wonderful idea and a great opportunity to expose your child to many good skills that will carry them throughout life. But Martial Arts doesn't have to stop at the dojo door. In fact, one of the newer and hot trends is to host a Martial Arts birthday party.
Generally, a Martial Arts birthday party is not much from a normal birthday party. The key exception is instead of hiring a clown or some other entertainment, you involve Martial Arts. The instructor would normally line up the children and teach a short and simplified class meant to keep the kids active and entertained. For instructors, this is a great way to expose potential students to Martial Arts.
Some locations are willing to host the party at the school. This is similar to hosting a party at a local gym or dance hall. Guests then really get a feel of the class and the setting. Some of the drawbacks is that some schools prefer not having food in the dojo because it can become very messy on the floor. They definitely won't have the facility to provide food. Thus, you might have to bring food and/or find another location for the cake.
Some teachers are willing to come on location to teach. Obviously, they will require enough space to have the kids line up and not crash into one another. This is ideal if the setup is an outdoors affair or in a hall that can support the spreading out. In this situation, it's ideal to be able to control the schedule somewhat so the teacher isn't standing around waiting for too long.
A Martial Arts birthday party class isn't normally a full class. While the format changes from instructor to instructor, the class generally emphasizes getting the kids up and active. Most instructors will emphasize key aspects of Martial Arts that are also applicable to the young audience: respecting elders (parents), studying hard, never give up, keeping things orderly, etc. The children will normally be asked to line up as they might in a class and then start doing some warm-up drills. Then, the teacher will move to doing some simple drills with the students such as a quick punching routine or a short form (depending on the age of the party).
Obviously, the ideal instructors are those already experienced with children and able to interact with a wide range of children and their attention spans. Schools that already have children's programs are normally a good place to start. Speaking with the instructor prior to asking is also a good idea so that you can work out the details of what you'd like ahead of time.
For Martial Artist contemplating doing this, there are some advantages and disadvantages to doing this. The obvious advantage is this is a great way to meet new clientele who might have otherwise been too afraid to step into the school or call. Obviously, one thing to realize is that these children are not normal students and this is a birthday party celebration. Thus, the level of rigor you might expect in the school is different.
If you're looking for a new idea for your next children's birthday party, you may want to consider having a Martial Arts Birthday Party.