Sometimes, young kids may express an interest in martial arts. To foster this strong interest, parents must first understand what martial arts is all about before sending their children to classes. In today's society, there are many different forms of martial arts that are available to the general public. Ideally, parents must have a basic understanding of each of these art forms before being able to make an informed decision.
Martial arts is about self-defense and improving overall health. However, note that the both are very different when it comes to practice. If you are primarily training for overall health, then it is alright to not focus so much on techniques that involve defending and attacking. Many movements allow an individual to engage in stretching and moving in a way that improves overall health. This is a major benefit for attending kung fu lessons.
However, if you are trying for self-defense, then you must make sure that you defenses and attacks are effective. In other words, a lot more focus, concentration and effort is put on improving overall power, practical techniques and situational awareness.
As internal martial arts involve earning how to use the body to its maximum potential, it is always better to send a child for classes while they are still young. Their young bodies can quickly develop good posture, movement and proper breathing habits that will serve them well in whatever they do in life. They will also learn how to deal with stress a pressure in a safe and fun environment. This allows them focus achieving their goals while avoiding many of the health problems that most adults face due to stressful careers.
During your research phase, you may come across many different forms of kung fu and karate. Traditional forms are often too focused on techniques and katas. You will witness an entire class moving with rigid movements based on the instructions of the chief instructor. This can sometimes improving overall fitness. But the practicality of such training methods is often questioned.
This is because by nature, martial arts is supposed to be fluid. Just observe a sparring session. A sparring session may involve punches and kicks but the various movements are often combined into fluid movements. Very seldom do you see someone spar with a rigid body.
A new form of martial art has been gaining popularity in the US as it involves a completely new system that is rarely seen in the country. Understanding that there is a need for the movements to be fluid, this new form of martial art completely ignored techniques and replaced them with free flowing drills. The official label for this system is "systema", which stands for "the system" in Russian. The primary purpose of these drills is to improve the timing and coordination skills of the children. In a real fight, timing and coordination is crucial!
Because there are no rigid techniques taught in a systema program, children are more free to explore the various movements. They also tend to enjoy the classes more since they are not burdened by having to memorize difficult moves.
Of course, in a full-fledged kung fu class for adults, you would expect to learn every lethal move there is in the book. However, for children classes, these lethal moves are not so appropriate. Hence, they are removed. Instead, the kids program focuses on improving the overall foundation of the body, and perfection the timing and movement skills that are crucial in any high level martial art. Your child will certainly enjoy such a program!
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