by Robbin Gray
Martial arts is one of the best activities for young kids and teens, because it can teach them valuable life lessons, give them something to look forward to and take pride in, and will teach them the benefits of physical activity. A lot of parents and opponents of Taekwondo feel that it is all about fighting, when in reality most schools don't even teach you to fight (in the street sense). Numerous Taekwondo schools are sport or self defense based and they don't support going out and getting into fights. If you ask anyone who trains in this art they will tell you that real fighting is much different from learning Taekwondo. If that is a reason you are leery of letting your child begin classes then you have little to worry about.
So what can you expect from your child learning Taekwondo? You can expect your son or daughter to learn respect and self discipline. They will also learn the value of team work, how to lead others as well as follow instructions, and learn to enjoy physical activity. If you feel that these are all valuable skills that you want your child to come away with then it is time to search for the perfect Taekwondo School for your child.
The first and probably easiest way to begin your search is on the USA Taekwondo Member Clubs page on the website. Here you can browse USAT member clubs by state. Remember that not every school will have a website and that just because the site looks one way or another doesn't mean that the instruction will reflect what you see on the computer.
Write down all the schools in your area or the ones you are most interested in. Before you decide to give them a call it is best to develop some questions for the instructor or owner so all your questions will be answered before a visit. Some good ones might include:
- What days do you offer classes and at what time?
- How much are your monthly dues and how many classes does this allow my child to attend?
- Do you require that I sign a contract; and if so what is the duration?
- How much does a student uniform and belt cost?
- Do you charge for testing?
- What is the youngest that you accept students?
- What are the fees for ending the contract early?
These are merely a few questions to ask. You may have additional ones pop into your head and after you take a visit to the school obviously more will come to mind.
Once you have called the schools you are interested in and asked your preliminary questions the next step is to go and visit each one. Some schools will let your child have a free class to see if he or she likes it. You should definitely take advantage of this. Observe how the instructor interacts with other students, his demeanor, listen to what they are saying, and see how the other students react. Is the class too strict or do the kids just play games? Is there a high student-to-instructor ratio? These are just a few questions to keep in mind. Don't just drop you child off and leave. You will not know what the school is about and if it is right for your child. If possible talk with some of the other parents and older students. See how they feel about the class and instructor.
The final step is to pick out your desired school. It is best to look for one that has short or no contracts, because your child may be excited about training at the moment, but several months down the road who knows how they will feel. Even if you do sign a contract, do not feel pressured to stay the entire duration. Sure you may wind up losing a little bit of money, but if your child is un-happy then that is not a good situation as well. If you follow these steps you should find the perfect Taekwondo school that fits your son or daughter's needs.
About the Author
Robbin Gray is a staff writer at the MMA Zone. She has written and trained in various martial art styles such as: Taekwondo, Karate, Judo and Muay Thai.