View Full Version : At What Age?
05-26-2000, 02:13 AM
I was just wondering, and Rebeleka's experience with her daughter had me thinking about it. How many of you out there have kids in MA, and how are they doing when compared to other activities? Also, at what age did they begin? do they have other activites, such as music? How has it helped them deal with life in general? How has it helped YOU, the parent, deal with it?
Mark F. Feigenbaum
05-28-2000, 07:08 PM
5 years old seems to be the earliest I have seen for a kid's class, but from my experience, they don't last more than a year or so. I guess Soccer and Baseball are more fun at that age :-).
06-07-2000, 05:32 AM
I personally would not recommend training children until they are at least 10 years old.....at this age, the whole "Power Rangers" thing seems to be old hat and they are more interested in the training itself.
Any younger, and they see it as their route to become "White Ranger" and they don't listen to what is being taught!!
06-08-2000, 04:58 AM
I tend to agree with you that five is too early for this type of training. Kids have a tendency to do things in a different time sequence. Some answer questions an half hour later, but I have seen eight year olds do very well, at least in judo. This is difficult to answer because of the interest lag, but five does seem way too early.
Mark F. Feigenbaum
06-11-2000, 06:13 PM
I am an instructor in Judo among other arts and here at our club we normally start students off at 5 years old but we have had students start at 4. we find that as long as you keep the "fun level" up their attention span is as good as anyone elses. We have juvinilles that are capable of many of the more complex techniques including Kata. The most importnat factors that we find are fun, parent participation and variety of activities.
06-12-2000, 10:49 PM
Not sure how this equates but our Aikido dojo used to be floor for gymnastics school. Too soft & springy, but I saw tots "training" & teacher explained making it play trains their bodies while the minds are unable to discern. In a few yearswhen they are able to really learn their bodies are already thatmuch ahead.
In the 70s & 80s I trained circus bears & my family used the same approach with cubs. Make it play (along with early manners i.e. "no" & "don't bite") as they play they reveal their tendencies, somersaults or balance. We learned to tailor their tricks to their tendencies. If a cub doesn't like being upside down & you try toput a handstand on that bear your risk being et up.
I've not done childrens' MA but these studies would seem to transfer.
06-14-2000, 12:30 PM
In my dojo, the minimum age is 8 to train, however I have made a few exceptions with children 6-7 (usually girls) who have often become excellent students. A friend in town has a delightful program for ages 4-6. The classes run just 30 minutes, twice each week. He acts like a total goof, works largely on ground work (basic falls too) and the kids love it! It has been an excellent draw for him, as many families have begun training with him as a result of seeing this "tiny tikes" program.
Personally, I have 2 sons (age 10 & 12) and a daughter aged 5. The lads have been trainning since they were around 8 and I haven't pushed them. My daughter wants to train NOW. (she just turned 5) I may indeed begin training her in some basics and hope she doesn't decide to tee off on her older brothers!
In my junior classes, I find the boys get in the groove best at around 11-12 and the girls at about 8-9. There is another "pocket" in the teenaged years 14-16 for both genders, that is a real delight. They are dedicated, focused, big enough to play "uke", and generally very helpful in the dojo.
Check out our dojo if you are interested at www.vistaprimo.com (http://www.vistaprimo.com) and zap me your comments.
Our greatest adversary is living up to our own potential.
06-18-2000, 03:03 AM
What about when they are beginning to discover social classes? This seems to happen very early in life, but it gets intense around fifteen or sixteen. Do you lose any studnts when they get to that age, or are they more pumped than ever to be able to pound their friends? Are they experimenting with drugs or other harmful behavior? Have you ever had a student quit, do the above, and then come back? I am really curious since we are speaking of the age of majority, whatever that may be. In the last year, I have been getting adults who left years ago only to return, and that does seem to be a constant, trying to test themselves in the world, and then meekly coming back to get back into it. I think most of us have taken time away, many to do things which, at the time, seem more important. Does this amount of time away make a bad student when he/she returns, or is it really a much needed time to think out his/her life?
Mark F. Feigenbaum
06-18-2000, 05:20 PM
We start our kids as early as five, but I must say it is really hard work. I am regularly greeted with a sea a blank faces when I ask, "ok who can remember what we did last week"? I do however really enjoy teaching kids, the fun aspect of Judo is sometimes lost when teaching adults who are preparing for shiai.
In answer to your question Mark. We seem to get a lot of girls drop out at about 13/14 years old, I think there are two main reasons; firstly Judo is a very close contact sport and I believe the girls become aware and concious of their developing bodies, and secondly they discover "boys" and wish to become far more feminine in their social lives.
The boys tend to drop out later around 17/18, when they go to pubs and clubs, strangly enough this is the exact age that most girls rejoin???
I myself have two kids both Judoka. I have a son of sixteen and a daughter of 14, both have been training since they were ten. My daughter has recently expressed a wish to drop out. I would never pressure her to continue as I have seen the effect this can have, when some parents of my students have done so, They are far less likely to return or grow to "love" Judo as others have done.I am proud to say (as far as I am aware)I have not lost a kid due to drugs or wayward behavior, most of the kids that go through my Dojo, develope character as well as thier skills. I am an oldfashion mutual respect Judoka and it shows in my students.
I also get quite a lot of middle age men return from their teens, when they realise their waist is getting larger and their breath is getting shorter. some of these become very dedicated good Judoka.
(We practice for thousands of days, whether we win or lose is decided in an instant).
06-19-2000, 03:24 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>I also get quite a lot of middle age men return from their teens, when they realise their waist is getting larger and their breath is getting shorter. some of these become very dedicated good Judoka<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
I get a lot of these. I also have some who have dropped out, done the "My friends all do it, so why shouldn't I," with the parent(s) bringing them back after a little jail time, or something less than that, but with consequesnces of some kind.
In response to the middle agers, the fact is that gravity soon takes over and it seems most of us are fighting it at sometime. Personally, I would love to see twenty or thrty second shiai for these folks. Since that is about the lenght of the longest bar brawl, and it just so happens that these same middle age folks cannot last any longer, why fight it? Well, that's what I think when I think of what I used to think when I was young enough to be middle aged http://126.96.36.199/ubb/biggrin.gif
Mark F. Feigenbaum
08-04-2000, 05:31 PM
Firstly apologies to Ray and Mark, I seem to have used some of your thread idea's (unintentionally) in the Shorinji Kempo forum.
Are we on the same wavelength or some other mystical force (one for the meditation forum??).
I start the children at 6, and find that a 1 hour lesson is good enough to keep their attention, any more and some become bored, any less and they may not learn.
I find that a game every lesson, or at least a fun application of the art's technique, is essential to keep the attention high.
I also include a short (about 5 mins) philosophy talk to the class (our art has a deep rooted philosophy as part of our training and gradings), this is also light-hearted and I make it relevant to the childrens lifestyle. I find this is also a great "hit" with parents as it shows them that martial artists have brains, and are not just ignorant brawlers (a label I was given by a school teacher when enquiring about a MA demo at a local school).
Ignorence is just one of the adversaries we face as students and teachers.
I have just celebrated my eighteenth birthday, which marks my 13th year in the Martial arts, so what I am about to say is from experience.
I started in Judo at the age of 5 with my two brothers and my best friend at the time. My dad always told me "You can do what you like but self defense is the one thing I insist on". Through the years I have had cause to use the endless skills taught to me by my Sensei and often felt I was learning more out of Judo than at school. By the end of Primary school I was well into my third year of Ju-jitsu and my school reports could be summed up by the word "Ju". I was living the philosophy of the art long before I could understand it.
There were often times when I would despise having to go to training when my friends were asleep or playing but at the same time I loved what I was getting out of it. I remember the day my bestfriend quit training to play soccer. I also remember, in high school, when he came back and, due to his age graded a higher belt than I in three months... he had been gone three years.
I also remember when my friend at school graded "Black belt" in Tae Kwon do after six months of training......I have yet to grade Ikkyu let alone Shodan!
Then I remember joining a Shotokan Karatedo school to learn how to fight and beating the whole class in sparring. When I told my Sensei they were not surprised, instead they said "of course you did, you have been doing this most of your life".
It was then that I thanked my father, silently,
for making me do all those lessons and not letting me quit when I wanted to stay home.
My friend quit a long time ago, and my brothers only train occassionally, I , however train long and hard and love every second. I know now that many people of all ages come and go but there is only a few who stay, and regardless of rank those are the people who know the basics and know the true art.
On my birthday (18 being legal age in Australia) I was not drinking at some pub or partying in some club but training with my new Kimono and old Hakama under the photo of my Shihan.
I am lucky in that I didn't learn to walk before I could kick, I learned to kick and walk at the same time. My only regret is that I didn't start earlier.
I don't beleive there should be any mininmum age to training as long as the child has the capabilities and desire to train without injuring themselves.
I also don't believe that anyone should be forced to do any thing they honestly do not want to do.
I believe that Ju-jitsu, and the philosophy of "Ju", has benifitted my life beyond comprehension and I believe it was the earlier part of my training that gives me this appreciation today. My Family, partner, friends, teachers, workmates and anyone else who knows me well would all share this opinion.
Yours in Budo
(Tsutsum Hozan Ryu)
08-07-2000, 04:15 PM
What a wonderful post!
It's great to hear how the martial arts has impacted (no pun intended) a young person's life. Mr. Elsdon is a blessing to his instructors. Students like this young man, are why I love teaching so much. Thank you, Mr. Elsdon, for such a thoughtful, articulate post.
Best wishes in all your efforts.
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