Which martial arts should my child do?

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Parents these days are overwhelmed with a choice of activities their children can take part in. With more choice than ever and bombardment on our time which is best? Firstly any activity is better than no activity. Young bodies and minds need stimulation and lots of activity to develop mentally and physically. Firstly any activity is better than no activity. Young bodies and minds need stimulation and lots of  activity to develop mentally and physically.

Parents these days are overwhelmed with a choice of activities their children can take part in.With more choice than ever and bombardment on our time which is best?

Firstly any activity is better than no activity. Young bodies and minds need stimulation and lots of activity to develop mentally and physically. 

In this topic I will focus on Martial Arts (MA) 

When I started martial arts I just went along with a friend and had no idea what all the different arts were.  I just jumped in.  But in my day there was no internet, Snapchat, insta, FB and the endless other Social Media distractions. 

After many years of training and countless efforts to explain to family and friends what I actually do  at  ‘the  dojo’.  My  Dad  still  asks  me  after  all  these  years  “Rachael,  what  do  you  actually  do when you’re at the dojo?” Incidentally the MA training Studio is often called a dojo or dojang.

I ended up saying this a lot recently so I thought I might share it so MA newcomers have some idea of what we are all talking about.

First of all sorry if I offend some of you more serious MA folk but I’m going to compare MA to dancing. Before you all get carried away and inbox me with a million complaints I don’t mean MA is like dancing. I mean let's imagine it is so folk who don’t train can get an idea of what we are doing at the dojo! 

Incidentally the Brazilian art of ‘Capoeira’ was hidden as a dance so the ‘slaves’ could practice MA without their slave masters realising, cool huh, anyway I digress.So,  lets  imaging  martial  arts  is  dancing.   In  dancing  we  have:  Hip-hop,Break  dancing,  Ballet, 
Salsa, Ballroom, Tap, Jazz, Tango, Interpretive… and the list goes on.

The human body is designed to move and move with freedom and joy.  Dance is a marvellous outlet for our joy de vivre and to express our feelings and just have fun moving our bodies.

So  how  does  this  help  us  understand  the  difference  between:  Jujutsu,  Aikido,  Taekwondo, Brazilian Jujutsu (BJJ), Karate, Kung-fu. Hapkido, Muay Thai, MMA, Wing Chun, Krav Maga……

Let me ask you a question. Is Ballet ‘better’ than Tap dancing? Is any one type of dancing better than  another.…?   A  reasonable  person  would  agree  no.   There  is  no  better  type  of  dancing. Some are more physically challenging than others perhaps? Some have a longer history and are therefore  more  structured  with  exams  and  some  rise  from  sub  cultures  in  pure  expression of humanity. 

And  so  it  is  with  martial  arts.  So  much  of  it  is  down  to  personal  preference  and disposition.

We  have  more  traditional  styles  akin  to  Ballet  and  Ballroom  which  have  specific  structure  and long (very long in some cases) history going back 100’s of years. These would be your traditional Karate and Jujutsu arts. I’m sure there are more from India and China, but that is not my area of expertise.

Then there are the more modern arts BJJ, MMA and well, depending how modern you want to go Aikido.  These are relatively new arts which have their roots and derivatives from more ancient arts. These arts have taken aspects of older arts and focused on a particular part of its ancient ancestor.

Some arts are competitive and some aren’t. You will find Martial Artists all over the World arguing the pro’s and con’s of this so I won’t mention it too much here.

But in answer to my original question which art should my child train? 

It will help you to ask yourself some questions and see what’s important to you and your family.
• Location - Is it close enough logistically to allow regular attendance 
• Friends - Does my child know any of the other children at the studio
• Childs disposition - Will a competition/sport based school or no competition type school suit 
my child better?
• Who’s driving the interest - Is it your child who has expressed interest or is it something you want them to do. Talk to you child and do some more research.
• Free Trial Class - Check out local schools and take it from there.


Your child can specialise later if they choose to or they may be already in a specialist art. It’s all ok.   All  good  martial  arts  schools  run  with  the  same  ethos.   It’s  just  the  form  that  is  a  little different.

In my next blog I will be talking about what to look for in a school when you get there and if i get enthusiastic I may do another on the more specific differences in the arts.


Safe Training everyone

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