Parents enroll their children in martial arts classes for a variety of reasons. Sometimes the child has watched a television show or movie that features martial arts and they think it would be a fun thing to try. Sometime parents bring children in looking for a place for them to burn off excess energy. Many parents are also looking for a place to help children learn discipline and respect. Regardless of the reason, the benefits are countless. Here is a guideline to assist you as you look into martial arts for your child.
When looking for a martial arts school for your child, definitely shop around. With the popularity of martial arts increasing, most cities have several schools to choose from. Look for schools that have children only classes and make sure there are other children there around the same age as your child. Look at the schedule of class times available and make sure they fit in with your schedule. You will be taking your child to classes two to three times per week. If the schedule does not fit with yours, look elsewhere.
Before enrolling your child watch a few classes and speak with the instructors. Make sure each child is getting individual attention and given the opportunity to progress at his or her own rate. If you like everything you’ve seen and heard bring your child in. Most schools will either let your child take an introductory class or participate in a regular class at no charge.
Once you’ve decided that this is the martial arts school for your child, be prepared for a contract. Schools generally go two ways with the contracts. First, there is a contract for a set number of months. There will be a set fee that you will pay for a set number of months. Starting out, especially with a younger child, a contract longer than six months is not recommended. Children’s interests change daily and they may decide that they don’t like martial arts anymore. There is no need to pay for something your child is not using.
The second form of contract is a guarantee to get your child to a certain belt. Your child will start out as a white belt, no matter where you go. After that the order of the belts differs slightly from school to school. As an example, the order may go white, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, brown, red, black. In an introductory program, your contract may guarantee that your child achieves his first three belts. In this example it would guarantee that your child gets to the green belt.
These types of contracts usually have no time limit. So, if your child gets sick or takes time off for a camp, holiday, etc. you will not be paying for something you are not using. Generally, you will agree on a set price for a set number of months. Once all of the payments have been made your child will continue to go to classes until achieving the belt, green in this example.
Many schools will give your child a uniform and white belt when you enroll. There is usually an enrollment fee and the uniform will be covered with this fee. Also find out about testing or graduation fees. Usually, this is an additional fee charged each time your child promotes to the next higher belt.
Also find out if there is any equipment that will be required of your child that you will need to purchase. In most cases these are things that won’t be needed until the student is more advanced. Also ask about tournaments that will be open to your child as he or she progresses. Tournaments are a fun way to meet other martial artists and in many cases all children will receive a trophy.