by Robbin Gray (revised December 2014, further revisions to follow)

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, but that is really not the case. Taekwondo schools are sport or self defense based, and they don't support or encourage going out and getting into fights. Yes, there are opportunities to take part in competitions, but these are strictly regulated with safety at the forefront of thinking, and just as importantly, they are entirely optional.

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 values of confidence, 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 to use the USA Taekwondo Club Locator App which you can find by clicking HERE. This will enable you to search for a USA Taekwondo member club in your area very easily.

Why should you choose a USA Taekwondo affiliated school over any other? Because USA Taekwondo is recognized by the US Olympic Committee as the National Governing Body for the sport of taekwondo in the United States. This means not only are the clubs teaching Olympic style taekwondo with coaches educated and background checked for safety by the official governing body, it also means if your child turns out to be good enough it could be the first step towards a medal podium one day!

Once you’ve searched on the Club Locator App, 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 demeanour, 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 your 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. If you follow these steps you should find the perfect Taekwondo school that fits your son or daughter's needs and we look forward to seeing them at an Olympic Games one day in the future!

Of course, it's not just children that take up taekwondo - it is equally rewarding for adults too, providing exceptional opportunities to get fit, meet new people, learn new skills, how to defend yourself and build confidence. Taking an adult taekwondo class at a USA Taekwondo school could be the first step in changing your life! Use our Club Locator App to find a school near you and get down to check it out! Much of the advice above applies equally to adults, so bear that in mind and jump in!

What are you waiting for?