View Full Version : Is 3 1/2 too young to start TKD?
There's a big TKD studio nearby. My 3 1/2 year old has been into martial arts since she was 1 (couldn't possibly have anything to do with Daddy...) and they have a 4+ year old course.
My little princess is pretty tough and surprisingly sharp for her age (virtuous qualities that came from my wife, of course) and I'd like to give it a try.
But what can I expect in a decent kids TKD class? What would a reasonable curriculum and workout be like for little ones?
Hit bags, focus mitts, kick and punch air for a while, learn and practice a kata? What are kids this age capable of learning and doing?
I think she's still too young for BJJ and Muay Thai and I don't want her face looking like mine.
Not at all. When I was in the ATA, I knew a number of fine seventh dans who hadn't even hit their teenage years yet, lol. Seriously, though, she is not too young. I would, however, look more at the quality of the environment (family friendly, good role models, etc.) than how hardcore it is. I joked about the ATA, but I have nieces and nephews who have really flourished at their ATA school. The lessons they are learning about respect for others, focus, concentration, etc. are more valuable than their kicking or punching skills at this age (or, perhaps any age). Still, I'd look for a good WTF school, if one is available, so that she has a long term progression in the art outside of a specific, commercial, association.
Go for it!!!!
Personally speaking, I would never teach anyone under the age of 7 or 10. This is from my experience of helping my instructor teach the child's class. I find that at that age they aren't quite ready to follow classes; by that I mean mentally, physically, and emotionally. However, I guess I've only encountered this problem with childeren that were forced into this by their parents, as well as having parents that have no experience in the martial arts (thus not understanding why certain things are done, or just providing bad support).
But if your daughter is really interested in martial arts, I'd say go for it. Just make sure that the school isn't a McDojo, that'd be the worst thing for her. Jonathan's idea is pretty great actually, about entering her in WTF school, that way her degrees are globally accepted.
P.S. Just a little word of warning, TKD is built on repetition of techniques, soooo your daughter might get bored after a certain period training in TKD :P.
Good points, Latsi.
When we visited last night she was dying to get into the empty training room! She was practicing her kicks from where we were seated watching. For weeks she's been saying, "hiyah!" I think she's interested. This is not something forced upon her.
Only problem was when she started saying that she wants to do her own "princess karate" the way she wants to do it.... :rolleyes:
She got the bowing down but only made it through 1/2 of workout. Strangely, they did more conditioning than TKD. If I were a kid, I'd be bored, too. The instructors were rather remarkable - clearly, they love kids and enjoy teaching them.
Anyway, she wanted to get off the mat (several instructors tried comforting her and I went on the mat and stretched with her but to no avail) - she really insisted and looked scared, like she was going to fall apart. My poor girl.
I made her sit through the rest of practice with me, in my arms, (I wanted to see it and give her a sense of follow through 'til the end) and she wanted sushi and ice cream.
I told her no because she quit halfway through practice. So strange - I was livid inside but she's just a kid so I was careful not to let it out on her. Can't put the same expectations on her as I would on a college student or on myself.
But I did made it clear - ice cream and sushi and watching her favorite TV show were not going to happen if she did not complete the class. She was mad and cried. I told her I still loved her and was very gentle with her on the way back home (we walked so at least she got a little more exercise).
Admittedly, she was very uncomfortable in her HUGE and stiff gi. I think washing it and hemming it (like 5" per leg or arm!) ought to help. I would have been uncomfortable, too. Makes me realize that not everybody is used to a stiff double-weave HCK or Gameness gi tearing apart their skin, especially a 3 year old.
She expressed interest in trying again. That's my girl...! I feel like such a parent....
I remember my step-son around 6 pestered me for a month to take him to judo, so finally I decided to take him to my club which had a kid's judo class just before mine. The club was like 45 minute drive away (I started in Toronto and moved to the suburbs), so I left work early, drove like a madman home, grabbed a slice of pizza, put him in the car and drove like crazy to make the judo class.
We ran into the club and I told him to hop onto the mats and have fun, at which point he burst into tears and said he didn't want to do it. I was just livid after that, but one of the senseis managed to talk him into getting into the class.
That's kids for you.
No kidding, buddy.
You know what's tricky? Making sure that I'm supportive and encouraging when she is afraid of something vs. hard and (almost) merciless when she is lazy or dishonest, and doing this front no matter how I feel inside because this is a parent's duty. I can't believe how those 3 years teaching at college taught me so much about being a daddy. Go figure.
Well, let's see how she does tomorrow at 4:30. My (pathologically impatient) wife will be taking her.
I wonder if suiting her (the kid) up at home and practicing against some kind of striking surface would make her feel more confident in that uniform and therefore more comfortable in a room full of kids at TKD?
It would be nice to get her into something other than those princess dresses she loves so much. Go Mulan!!!!
One thing to keep in mind. At home she is the only karate princess. You may be correcting her on how to do things but she is solo. In class for the first time she sees other kids doing Karate and well, now she is not the only one. That in itself can be traumatic for kids.
Enjoy the adventure !
Good point, Dennis. For step 1 I'm just trying to get her to associate happiness with her gi and to associate a distinct training time (with all that implies) with that gi. I'm hoping that she'll feel that she's "doing it right" when she's on the mat with all the others.
Powered by vBulletin® Version 4.1.10 Copyright © 2013 vBulletin Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved.