Frequently Asked Questions - CHILDREN
Should children study Martial Arts?
In general, yes. There are many positive reasons including control of aggressiveness, instilling self-respect and self-control, as well as self-defense. We have found that many of the children who study in our Martial Arts classes achieve the following benefits:
Improved Report Cards: Our classes teach the importance of concentration, focus, discipline and perseverance. Improvement in these areas means that your child will learn more at school. Therefore, you can expect your child to receive better grades for both academics and attitude.
Martial Arts Builds Healthy Kids: Our classes are a great work-out. Your child will breathe better, eat better, and sleep better. It’s now a known fact, that children who take Martial Arts are slimmer, make better decisions about food, and in general, learn to take better care of themselves. You won’t see any of our Black Belt students smoking or using drugs, now or ever!
Positive Attitudes: Kids in our program learn to have a positive and respectful attitude. You won’t find yourself repeating yourself over and over, or arguing with your child like most parents do. Kids learn to be respectful of their parents and teachers. You might even catch your child saying, “Yes Ma’am -or- Yes Sir!”
Self-Confidence: Children who take Martial Arts develop greater self-confidence. They’re encouraged to take chances, to push themselves further than they thought possible. The success they experience through Martial Arts teaches them that they can be successful at anything if they truly believe they can, and are willing to work hard. Improved confidence leads to better grades, a better circle of friends, better performance in sports and extracurricular activities in general.
Self-Defense: Martial Arts teaches two forms of self-defense. One is physical - your child will improve his or her strength, flexibility, and overall health. Additionally, your child will learn to strike with tremendous power and effectiveness. Hopefully, your child will never be picked on or need to fight. . .but should the occasion arise, shouldn't everyone know how to protect themselves? The second form of self-defense Martial Arts teaches is internal. Children learn to spot danger and avoid dangerous people, places and activities. Martial Arts can help your child avoid the need for a physical confrontation through awareness and mental focus. This second form of self-defense is perhaps the more valuable of the two.
Is the study of Martial Arts right for your child?
An alternative to team sports: The Martial Arts is uniquely set apart from any other sport because it is ‘a way of life’. No other sport emphasizes the mental discipline essential to combining the body, mind, and spirit. The Martial Arts provide a way for your child to learn not only the physical skills of athletics, but mental skills such as concentration and memory.
Safer than other activities: Study after study has shown that participation in a well-run Martial Arts school is far safer than nearly any other physical activity your child is likely involved in, including sports such as soccer. “Kids are always showing up for class with injuries they’ve gotten in another sport,” says Chris Goedecke, author of “Smart Moves: A Kids’ Guide to Self-Defense” (Simon & Schuster Children's, 1995) and a karate black belt. I tell them, “You ought stick to something safe -- like karate.”
Confidence builders: Some kids begin Martial Arts with self-confidence problems, because they are small or fragile or being bullied, and they quickly begin to look and feel more confident. Martial Arts training can even be an introduction to good manners.
Working out the aggression: Another advantage of the Martial Arts disciplines, according to instructors, is that they discourage aggressive behavior outside of class. Since children who “bully” others often have self-esteem issues, the Martial Arts help to strengthen self-confidence.
Can my child get hurt doing the Martial Arts?
Martial Art forms that involve light contact appear to have injury rates for children that are closer to that of baseball or soccer, and dramatically lower than the injury rate for ice hockey.
The joints and connective tissues of children are more vulnerable to injury than those of adults. At the Francis Fong Academy, we do not permit aggressive joint locks to be applied to children, and we do not teach snapping techniques that lead to hyper-extension injuries. We also avoid high intensity training on heavy bags or targets which may pose special risk of injury to children’s developing bones and joints; we utilize targets made specifically for children. When children practice techniques with a partner using hand-held targets, they are instructed on how to hold the targets safely, and they are always closely supervised to ensure that they follow these safety instructions.
My child has ADHD. Will they benefit from a Martial Arts program?
Absolutely! ADHD children need a very structured environment that has clear-cut boundaries and rules. Many leading doctors recommend Martial Arts classes as appropriate therapy for children diagnosed with ADHD. We help these children develop confidence and concentration. Our program can also be a positive outlet for children with extra energy.
Will martial art training make my child too aggressive?
Martial Arts are founded on the defensive spirit, forbidding the initiation of assault and fostering humility and discipline. Through Martial Arts training, children can achieve mental and physical discipline, self-control, self-confidence, and the ability to defend themselves and their loved ones.
At the Francis Fong Academy, children are taught that they should channel aggression into assertiveness, which increases their self-esteem and builds discipline and character. Martial Art skill should never be used for violence. Instead, it should be used to handle problems without resorting to violence. Children quickly learn to value the skills that they are gaining, and realize that there is a right time and a wrong time to use their skills. We help the children understand the difference through our daily discussions on courtesy, respect, and discipline.
What should I do if my child wants to quit?
Parents are responsible for keeping their children’s commitments and obligations, thereby providing structure and guidance to help their children to achieve goals. In this way, children learn to develop important habits such as responsibility, perseverance, and goal-setting habits that are essential in all aspects of their life. Children need their parent’s support in helping them to be accountable and to be committed to achieving their goals.
Children wouldn’t go to school, do their homework, brush their teeth or clean their room if they weren’t sometimes pushed to do so. Eventually as children mature, they develop their own good habits, which are formed through their parent’s commitment.
We use a belt system to provide your child with short-term goals. Parents can agree with their children on a short-term goal, with the understanding that there will be no quitting until the goal is achieved. The real goal in the training should be the black belt, but until the child can fully comprehend what it takes to earn a black belt, it is best to set an initial short-term goal.
If your child wants to skip a Martial Arts lesson, it is often because they prefer to seek immediate enjoyment. Children often focus on the present, and are unable to project their thinking into the future and weigh the potential for future rewards. For example, a child may not want to stop playing video games (immediate gratification) to go to their Martial Arts lesson (delayed gratification). In this case, the child may really enjoy their Martial Arts training, but their current activity seems more attractive to them at the time. To remedy this situation, parents can set limits on activities ahead of time.
If a child is experiencing a plateau in his/her training, parents should work with the instructors to ensure that these feelings pass. This often leads to the child's attainment of higher goals. However, quitting can quickly become a bad habit. Facing these types of challenges is part of the training inherent in Martial Arts. With the parents in the driver's seat, children can fulfill their commitment to Martial Arts training and receive rewards and benefits as a result.
How can I motivate a child to continue?
It is extremely important for parents to instill the integral skill of working towards a goal without quitting. This is the very foundation of goal-setting and achievement. Quitting is the very foundation of under-performance and failure. The world is full of great starters! Children need to learn the importance of setting goals and seeing them through to completion.
How does my child get started?
Call the Academy at (770) 623-4997, and our staff will find a time that is convenient for you and your child to come in for an initial interview.
Your initial interview will be personally handled by one of our instructors. We will meet with you to evaluate your child's needs, as well as explain the children’s programs to you in full detail. In addition, we will answer any questions you have about the Academy, its staff, pricing and programs. This also provides you and your child with an opportunity to see the facility, observe a class, partake in an introductory class, and meet some of the students and office staff.
It is necessary for all students to begin with our initial interview. Please know there is no further obligation. All children who are approved as potential new students may try an introductory class for free. This class will introduce your child to basic techniques and skills and is designed to teach your child while providing fun and excitement. After the class, you and the instructor will discuss how the program can continue to help your child.