parents guide to martial arts

Kids’ Martial Arts Classes in Preston: A Parent’s Guide

Is martial arts right for your child? What’s the best style for them? FAQs for parents that guides you with choosing martial arts styles, the most suitable club, readiness, safety and more.

parents guide to martial artsIt’s a simple first step in finding the right martial arts class for your child, ask them: 

“are you interested in learning martial arts” and “what would you like to learn?”

If your child does not know enough about martial arts to answer or answer constructively, think about taking them to a local studio or watching a film with some martial arts within it such as the Karate Kid or a Jackie Chan Film like “The Spy Next Door” (2010)” to give them more of an idea.

These days it’s also possible to try out an online class, many academies call them virtual lessons and your child can train at home via an application such as zoom.

You can also also ask them if any of their friends train in programme and ask if you can go along to try a lesson. This is a great way to make the classes more interesting for your child.

 

Lots of kids do not think of themselves as athletic or they are a little nervous about trying a class. Don’t let your child be put off. Sometimes, letting them know a couple of days ahead of trying a class is enough empowerment for them to prepare for a lesson, rather than being told on the same day as the class begins.

What are the different types of kids martial arts lessons in Preston?

This is a big questions as there are more martial arts than there are breeds of dogs. So start by answering one of these questions.

  1. Do you want your child to train in a sport martial art?
  2. Do you want your child to train mainly for self defence?

Have you no preference, you just want them to be more confident or some other value that’s important to you or your child?

Do you want your child to train in a sport martial art?

Junior KidsSport martial arts that kids are usually most familiar with are MMA or Mixed Martial Arts. It features in lots of games, films and even on popular wrestling shows. 

Most parents are a little weary of this, as they imagine it’s very brutal, but the reality is usually the opposite. 

Kids will learn control, discipline and resilience through training designed to condition the kids physically through play to learn how to compete.

Finding a good MMA programme that is suitable for children will take some research. 

You will definitely want to quiz the coach about how they coach the kids and introduce them to the contact side of the training.

You do not need to be especially athletic to train in MMA, as you play to your strengths and develop tactics that help you plan for success.

Taekwondo is another popular sport. There’s lots of taekwondo classes in Preston for children so what should you look for?

Taekwondo favours kicking techniques, but it’s also very structured and great for keeping kids motivated with progression and variety. The sport side has a lot of rules, which make it easy to participate in safely. However, it looks amazing, but depending on how the classes are taught. It may not be as practical for self-defence as you would assume.

There are a lot of great boxing classes for children in Preston. Finding one near you is possible if you search specifically for this via google. As you would expect, boxing will develop fitness and confidence in your kids. Most boxing schools are disciplined, more so than many martial arts centres.

This means that the kids will need to be focused and willing to try hard in the classes. There is no slacking off, but schools appreciate that kids are all different and again, you do not need to be fit to try a class. Your kids will get fitter from the training so do not worry if they are not super active.

You may assume that there is a lot of fighting in a boxing class. But for young children, they are very carefully introduced to this and most centres will spend a long time on skill development before the kids are introduced into sparring. Safety is regulated and you can find more information from England boxing.

https://www.englandboxing.org/

There are also classes in the area for Judo, Muay Thai, Brazilian Ju Jitsu (BJJ), Wrestling, Kickboxing and Sport Karate.  Some of these sports have Olympic recognition too, such as Boxing, Judo and Taekwondo.

Do you want your child to train in a self defence focused martial art?

self defence classes for kidsKrav Maga is a great self defence based martial art. You’ll learn tactics, principles and skills for protecting yourself standing, if you are pushed over and if someone tries to grab or abduct you. It’s fairly new for a martial art and it’s also commonly practised by a number of military, law enforcement and other government agencies.

The child version is more commonly known as junior Krav Maga and some clubs focus on learning through play. So the classes are full of combat style games that make the learning fun, safe and also very practical.

 

Ju Jitsu is a popular choice for parents who want their child to learn a martial arts. It’s in a number of forms from Japanese to Brazilian. Although we have Brazilian Ju Jitsu in the sport section. There are also clubs that focus on the self defence side as well. Check out the http://roycegracie.com/royce-gracie-network/ for exmaples of these clubs.

Ju Jitsu typically follows a belt system for progression, starting at white belt and working towards black belt. Some of the techniques can be very classical. This means they are based against problems that the samurai would have face, but they have practical applications for self defence today as well.

Great films featuring Ju Jitsu and Japanese martial arts include the last samurai.  

Have you no preference, you just want them to be more confident or some other value that’s important to you or your child?

Look for a club that has a life skills programme. 

This way there is a structured way to develop your child actively and through great virtues too.

How do I know which style of martial arts to choose for my child?

It depends on the type of personality of your child. If they are active and competitive, the sport martial arts may be more suitable like Judo which involves wrestling style throws and pins.

If your child is not a fan of the physical stuff, something a little less intensive such as Karate may be a good fit with the Kata’s are preset moves that you follow as a pattern.

The best way to find what you child might like is to watch classes at a few different types of academies.

The people running the academies will not mind you watching and will welcome your questions. Look at the way the coaches interact with the students, do they include everyone or focus on the same students in each class?

The approach of the coach and their values may be more important than the style of martial art when you are making a decision on which club and class to send them too.

Remember, though, if the first class is not a good fit, there are still plenty of other classes and clubs to look at. In life we sometimes only realise what we are looking for after we’ve tried something that was not a good fit! Do not be shy to shop around a little. 

Over the lifetime of your child training, you may invest £1000’s so it’s worth taking a little time to get this right. 

How to tell whether my child is ready for martial arts classes?

parents guide to martial artsWe’ve found that around 7 years old is the most popular age for our classes, but have a separate programme that lets children from 4 years old start training. Exceptional schools have a criteria for joining, this is an evaluation or list of development characteristics for children of a certain age.

 

The centre will perform an assessment before joining a class. 

This way, you’ll know whether your child is ready for the class, what area of development the school will be focusing on for your child and any other recommendations that are constructive. 

It’s rare to find a martial arts centre with this knowledge and experience but it may be useful to keep in mind if you are torn between two different centres.

What sort of safety concerns should I be aware of?

There is always the possibility that your child could get injured in training within any sort of sport. However, martial arts is usually helpful for avoiding injuries too, such as improvements in balance, spatial awareness and learning how to fall safely.

 

Some schools offer no contact in their classes, or restrict contact. For example in our Krav Maga Classes at www.kravclasses.com, in learning to spar safely the children will have a specific mission of touching shoulder, knees or elbows. This is to build accuracy and control before being allowed to progress to striking the more vulnerable parts of the body.

 

The most common injuries in the martial arts, according to HealthyChildren.org, are scrapes and bruises! 

Older kids may experience sprains to fingers or toe injuries. It happens when kids make mistakes during the learning process. Also be wary of concussions, which can occur if kids strike their heads or are struck in the head.  This is more common in combat sports, especially ones that allow kicking to the head. However, there is usually protective footwear and head guards as a part of the training to minimise this risk. 

Whether your child engages in martial arts, soccer, football, or another sport, it’s a good idea to learn the signs of concussion and get your child checked by a doctor any time you suspect he or she has one.

How long is a kids martial arts class?

Most classes tend to be around 30 to 60 minutes in length.  The length of a class is usually shorter for younger children and longer for children approaching high school ages.

It just depends on the school. These days due to the impact of covid-19 it’s not uncommon for classes to be a little shorter than you would expect, due to the additional cleaning between classes. You can ask what the clubs process is for cleaning before, in between or after a lesson. Most centres will not be offended and happy to talk about their health and safety approach.

Most kids training around 2 times a week in a martial arts class. More advanced students may train 3 times or more, especially if they are looking to advance to a black belt or beyond.

Parent's guide to finding a class for my child?

Start by browsing on google, it’s a great way to find a martial arts class for children near you.

There’s also a few other Preston based searches you can perform, but google is by far the best place to start browsing. 

 

You can also search by location, childrens ages or martial arts style. 

Be prepared for the more professional centres to charge a premium for their classes. 

In some ways, martial arts can be like investing in a car. 

Some cars are expensive because of the brand and some because they are built for a specific mission, such as going off-road.  

Would you prefer to drive a fiat 500 or land rover to get you across a swamp? However, all cars should deliver value, regardless of their price.

Good luck with finding your child the perfect martial arts club out there. There are a lot of great coaches in Preston and I wish you all the best with your future goals. 

As always, if we can help you in any way with your child. You can get in touch online here: 

>>Contact West Coast Martial Arts

 

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Kids’ Martial Arts Classes in Preston: A Parent’s Guide

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