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Old September 7, 2001, 12:52 PM   #1
FPrice
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First MA for a Child

I am curious what people think would be the "best" first Martial Art for a child. Assume for a moment that there are qualified instructors in all common styles who can work with children. What do you think would be the best introduction?

My first MA was Judo (in college), then some Karate, followed 25 years later with several years in JuJitsu. I tend to favor Judo as a start but I am curious what others think.

Thanks.
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Old September 7, 2001, 04:25 PM   #2
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I like Judo since it is a sport/MA that will make the perfect foundation to extend into other martial arts & wrestling. It will build strength discipline, etc.

Aside from that, Judo is more "hands on" in learning leverage, how to throw, how to handle grabs & pushes, while emphasizing how to fall, roll, land, protect oneself, etc. this will teach balance as well.

This is different from most other MAs which emphasize glamorous & useless moves like flying kicks which are popular from movies. Those are usually taught without teaching the kids how to fall & roll -which is how real fights end up as well as what often happens to kids when playing.
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Old September 7, 2001, 06:27 PM   #3
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Judo or jujutsu are both good choices; they teach grappling and ukemi.
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Old September 7, 2001, 06:41 PM   #4
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It seems to me that children naturally tend to wrestle, roll around and fall. So, IMHO, I think that Judo would make an excellent thing to teach.

The sports aspect of Kodokan Judo is particularly good for children since they tend to be naturally competitive and gravitate toward athletic endeavors.

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Old September 7, 2001, 07:56 PM   #5
LASur5r
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kid's m.a.

Kept my daughter in wrestling with some striking techniques.
We'd wrestle almost everyday. Good for endurance and stamina..taught her not to be afraid of contact sports....contact period.

She has had to use what she has learned three times....against much bigger boys, working from a disadvantaged position, working injured...she won her fights each time.

She's fourteen now, soon to be fifteen...now we start working on the serious attacks.

She actually began practicing seriously at 12 when we went to the range so that she could legally shoot.
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Old September 7, 2001, 08:54 PM   #6
Dave3006
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My 8 year old and I recently started Judo together two nights a week. He loves it! That is the important thing. He is excited and he is learning. What a great thing to do as a father and son.

I have a Shodan in Shotokan Karate and 4 years of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I think Judo is the best BECAUSE it is a sport. Being a kid should be fun. Not too serious. There is enough time for serious later. Besides, one year of grappling beats 10 years of any Karate in one on one school yard brawl.

You can't punch your way out of a choke, armbar, or mount. Heck, I am finally learning how to throw and opponent properly. They really do not teach this in BJJ. They just assume the fight goes to the ground. Most of the time it does. But, I like all the advantage I can get.
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Old September 7, 2001, 08:58 PM   #7
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One more thing, when my son was 7, we tried Shotokan. It was so austere and serious, he hated it. Alot of yelling and the basic Japanese philosophy of "you are not good enough". What a bunch a garbage. I yanked him out so fast. The kid gets straight A's and is a happy kid. I refuse to subject him to that sick psuedo asian mumbo jumbo.
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Old September 7, 2001, 09:20 PM   #8
eyeball
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I highly recommend wrestling where the kids actually compete in tournaments. After maybe about 100 official wrestling matches the kid will know whats up.
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Old September 8, 2001, 01:17 AM   #9
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I'd say Judo and some Boxing. They are excellant arts to learn, and teach the practical full contact aspect of fighting, and skills they will use later in life.
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Old September 8, 2001, 02:56 AM   #10
ATeaM
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"One more thing, when my son was 7, we tried Shotokan. It was so austere and serious, he hated it. Alot of yelling and the basic Japanese philosophy of "you are not good enough". What a bunch a garbage. I yanked him out so fast. The kid gets straight A's and is a happy kid. I refuse to subject him to that sick psuedo asian mumbo jumbo."

I had a similar experience growing up. Open up your yellow pages, look at all the ads. All the "dojo's" that advertise by showing either

A. a wise old asian man (most likely with a fu man chu)
B. excessive use of fierce looking animals
C. guys flying through the air doing ridiculous kicks
D. the words "ancient", "secret", "dynasty" or "for over a 1,000 years"

Scratch those of your list immediately.


I agree with all the other posts, anything emphasizing wrestling or grappling would be good. I think Judo is a great choice. Also a lot of principles of balance and how to properly fall are taught in Judo that will help him out immensely in other sports and martial arts.
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Old September 8, 2001, 03:24 AM   #11
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I mean, a wrestler can confidently/easily take on somebody twice his/her size... unlike a boxer or martial artist.
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Old September 9, 2001, 06:17 AM   #12
Spectre
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Eh? I have seen a former instructor of mine (Bud Malstrom), who was EXACTLY my size at the time (145 lbs), throw a behemoth (over 6'8", and 300 lbs) in such a manner that the man would have had his elbow broken if he had not cooperated. Bud didn't break a sweat.

Is THAT the type of martial artist you mean? Just curious. FWIW, I don't think most wrestlers would do well against opponents twice their size. YMMV.
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Old September 9, 2001, 09:38 AM   #13
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Or, for instance, the many Welterweights/LightHWs who gave up 50% or more weight to MiddleW/HW respectively (like Micky Walker) and still won. Right now, you're itching to hit the Reply button and say "Who said that a fight is a boxing match?" but the point is that a smaller opponent CAN take out a skilled and motivated attacker using boxing. Your statement is devoid of detail so it's hard to say what you mean by "take on" or "easily"... but boxing has proven it's value to Jack Dempsey, for instance, late into his years in flooring two younger motivated muggers (much more practical, IMHO, to take out multiple people your bodyweight than the improbably single individual twice your weight... I shoud be able to run from a 600lbs man I hope!)

I guess Spectre and I are questioning the little bit at the end of your post.
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Old September 9, 2001, 09:56 AM   #14
Spectre
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Yeah. My grampa was 79, and was talking to me about boxing. He took a shuffle my direction, and his hand blurred as he described a punch.

That 'ole man could have still taken out half a room full of punks- unless he got to his .45 or his 12 gauge (in which case, make it a whole roomful)!

He was still out cutting wood in the woods until he was about 83. He died at 86. Hopefully, I'll get lucky and die of a treefall or lightning strike at a hale 81 or so.
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Old September 11, 2001, 01:31 AM   #15
madgrad
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Reply to A Teams post.

You forgot to mention these in your list of Dojo's to avoid:

Any Dojo that has more trophys in it's front doors than the amount of students that it can hold for teaching.

Any Dojo that has Uniforms that look like Street fighter or the Karate Kid PT 1 Cobra Ki Look.

Any Dojo where they have more belts colors than the rainbow or any that has at least 5 diferent levels of yellow belt.

Any Dojo that wants to give away more than a Uniform for just coming in. (The Sign of a Dying Dojo).
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Old September 11, 2001, 04:17 AM   #16
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I'll vote for Judo from my own experience. Throw in some training for defending strikes also, but don't go for anything that teaches improper distance or technique (by requiring feigning strikes or limiting allowed targets).
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Old September 11, 2001, 06:57 AM   #17
FPrice
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Thanks all!!!

The response to this thread has re-affirmed one of the strengths of TFL, namely the amount of knowledge out there and the willingness of our members to enter into an informative discussion such as this one.

Your answers have helped validate my thought that Judo would probably be the best first MA for my kids. Personally I think the sport and conditioning aspects are the key points.

Other MA's, in particular those that are more esoteric and/or use stikes are better introduced to a more mature youngster. Build upon the basics introduced by a good Judo coach and I think you build a better martial artist.

I want to thank those who suggested boxing. That is a good point. Many of us forget about the sweet science since it is not considered a traditional MA, but it does offer a lot in the way of conditioning, close combat, and how to take some punishment without folding and giving up the first time you are hit. But again, I would want to wait a few more years to introduce this to a child.

Now to find a good Dojo in the local area and see what we can do.

Thanks again for all your help.
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Old September 12, 2001, 11:45 AM   #18
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FPrice: You know, ANOTHER advantage of Judo (From what I've seen) is that, contrary to other MAs (As pointed out on several of the posts above), when you walk into a Dojo you pretty much see what you would expect to see. Judo instruction in my experience is very uniform and you are less dependent on the Sensei's talent than in most other MAs(Unless the Sensei is a fake). As a rule of thumb, if it's a Kodokan affiliated, you should do all right. Don't think I'm saying that you shouldn't check out prospective Dojos, just that IMHO you'll have an easier time of it!
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Old September 14, 2001, 07:30 PM   #19
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An instructor's credentials and the quality of teaching is of primary importance - the style might be secondary. It's better that a child enjoys learning from someone good at teaching kids to begin with so that they will decide to stick with it long enough to learn self defense.

Sit in on a class without your kid before bringing the child. Watch whether the teacher teaches by encouraging and praising 5 times for every correction. Make sure students use control with each other and that the instructors keeps thier hands off the kids - you don't have to handle student to teach them. Getting whacked early by someone only teaches students to dislike class.

Don't sign up for a 1 year black belt course. Everyone goes at their own pace and it's sad when a kid quits a few weeks into a 1+ year contract. Expect to pay for quality instruction, but by the quarter at most until you are sure they love it.

CBJ
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