Armory, Self Defense, And EDC > Martial Arts, Unarmed Self Defense, Hand To Hand Combat, and Physical Fitness

Martial arts for kids

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Grasshopper2Ant:
First of all, I'm not in martial arts myself, but my 5 1/2 yo daughter has been taking Tae Kwon Do for a year.  My question is what do you recommend for martial arts for kids?  We just want her to be able to get away from bad guys.  After reading the thread on punches, I wonder if the palm heel strikes that they are teaching her are all that effective.

Thanks,
G2A

ehicks727:

--- Quote from: Grasshopper2Ant on June 03, 2010, 03:53:04 PM ---First of all, I'm not in martial arts myself, but my 5 1/2 yo daughter has been taking Tae Kwon Do for a year.  My question is what do you recommend for martial arts for kids?  We just want her to be able to get away from bad guys.  After reading the thread on punches, I wonder if the palm heel strikes that they are teaching her are all that effective.

Thanks,
G2A

--- End quote ---

I mean no offense, and I'm not wanting to start a martial arts peeing contest here, but TKD is one of the least effective martial arts for self-defense.  It's great for teaching kids discipline and some basics like that, but not really a good fighting style.   Personally, I practiced Kung Fu, and my instructor threw everyone right into sparring, which was how we applied what we were learning.   You learned real fast that all the forms and stuff are really for practice and muscle memory.  In a real fight, a lot depends on speed.

One effective combo (and is rather unique to Kung Fu, in that it's one of the few martial arts to combine kicks and punches simultaneously) is a back fist to the side of the face while simultaneously doing a toe kick to their knee.  They pay attention to the fist and don't bother protecting their knee as you crush it and take them down.

Power in punches comes from your 'root' (the ground).  The hips are the 'transmission' so to speak and transfer the power to your arm, or whatever you are hitting with.  If you practice punches (open or closed palm) and use your arm strength to generate your power, then you are doing it wrong.

That said, open palm can be devastating, if done properly.   Pretty much anything can be an effective weapon if you have good form and are fast.  One of my instructors favorite blows was a shoulder strike!  Who would have known that you could shoulder someone and take them out?   Well, he demonstrated in class and let's just say, I'd never want to be on the receiving end of that at full force (he was demoing at about 20%)

Grasshopper2Ant:
Well, all we have in town for kids is TKD or Karate.  We are thinking about transferring her to the Karate class because they don't require a one-year contract.  Not a lot of options here.

Tommy Jefferson:

--- Quote from: Grasshopper2Ant on June 03, 2010, 03:53:04 PM ---My question is what do you recommend for martial arts for kids?
--- End quote ---

I've trained in martial arts for 30 years.  I currently run a Mixed Martial Arts gym where I teach Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.  I have a black belt in Taekwondo from one of the big 3 orgs.

TKD is totally appropriate for a six year-old girl.  What ehicks said is true.  There are much more effective martial arts than TKD.  Problem is, those martial arts are not appropriate for 6 year-old girls.  TKD is appropriate because the TKD industry has spent two decades custom designing programs especially for kids.  These programs are tuned to the attention span, physical abilities, and teaching methods that work best for small children.

Don't worry about my thread on punching.  That thread was for adults street fighting in life-and-death situations.  The bones of pre-adolescent children are durable and flexible.  They pretty much lack the upper body strength to punch anything hard enough to break hand bones.

Taekwondo is fine for now.  Your daughter can practice something else when she turns 13 or so.  Almost all of my adult Jiu-Jitsu students practiced TKD when they were kids.  They are better for it.

ehicks727:

--- Quote from: Grasshopper2Ant on June 04, 2010, 07:43:49 AM ---Well, all we have in town for kids is TKD or Karate.  We are thinking about transferring her to the Karate class because they don't require a one-year contract.  Not a lot of options here.

--- End quote ---

Understood.  If I had to choose where to place my son between TDK and Karate, I would choose Karate as well.

One thing you can do is buy some pads and practice with your daughter.   Get yourself a body shield and some mitt pads
http://www.karatedepot.com/body-shield.html

Let your daughter kick and punch the crap out of you with the pads on.   It's really about muscle memory.  If you really want your daughter to be able to defend herself, then she needs to get to the point where she doesn't have to think "I wonder what this will feel like when I throw a punch or kick"... she'll just do it and not think about it because she's thrown a thousand kicks and punches and won't think twice.   Make sense?  It's muscle memory.  In a fight, you just react, you don't think.

Also, get her a sparring set.  http://www.karatedepot.com/sparring-gear-sets.html
I'm not in the habit of hitting girls (although, my instructor made us spar with girls, but I always felt bad punching and kicking them) so I don't know how you'd handle this... but your daughter needs to know what it feels like to get hit so that if she is in a fight, she isn't surprised or taken off-guard if she ever gets hit.   I've seen many girls spar for the first time and they had no idea what was coming and they just freeze up.  You don't want that to happen to your girl.  You want her to just react and counter-punch and not think about the fact that she just got hit.

So get the shields and let her kick and punch the crap out of you, and then get the pads and teach her how to take a punch.  

I have to tell you, the girls in my class that have stuck it out are very well-rounded, respectful, and TOUGH!  There were two girls in my class that kick my butt in sparring all the time (and I'm 230lbs).  They're fast and fight like cats.

Good luck!  I wish you the best and kudos to you for wanting to teach your daughter self-defense.  You're doing the right thing.

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