Tuesday, March 6, 2007
Parents often ask me what's best for their kids to learn. Despite being a black belt in several styles of karate and an unarmed combat instructor and Filipino martial arts student my answer is always Judo.
To begin with your child will learn how to do break- falls. This skill, highly valued by stuntmen, will save them (and you) hurt and medical bills over the duration of their childhood as they fall off bicycles, and trip on things. Heck, forget childhood, it's saved me many times as an adult as well, not least at all when coming off my motorbike a few times.
Next, it is an Olympic sport. There's always the off chance that your wunderkind will go on to be an Olympic medal winner which is no bad thing.
Third point is that it will wear them out physically so they won't be home bouncing off the walls because they haven't spent any energy today.
Fourth is the fact that the techniques in the kid's programme are non-striking by nature. They involve throws and pins, no joint locks or strangles. Unlike Tae Kwan Do or karate, which teaches striking, this means that your kid's likely response in a fight at school is going to be go grab someone and trip them to the ground where they can be pinned till a teacher arrives.
If "Little Johnnies" trained reaction is to punch and kick instead then he's far more likely to do so in the event of a fight which can mean serious injury to the recipient.
Fifth, Judo is one of those sports that just tends to be populated by "nice" guys. This is invariably due to the fact you can't "hide" in a Judo school. Everyone who holds rank has had to compete (hard) to get it and so there's no fantasists running around convinced they're lethal weapons when they're not. (something sadly you run into often in trad martial arts)
Sixth, Judo is cheap. Because it's a non-profit organization clubs charge a mere pittance for membership. Last time I went I think I paid about ten bucks a month and kids paid a dollar.
Now, is that to say the karate programmes are no good? Not at all. Some of them now are nothing short of amazing in that they make sure the kids are taught discipline, keep their rooms clean, get good grades and respect their elders etc. In Charlotte, Mike Price http://www.cmaakicks.com/ is the go to guy for that stuff. I've recommended several of my friends to Mike and his programme is brilliant so, if it's karate "little Johnnie" must have then go to Mike's. However, if you're looking for the Olympic sport that trains champions and like the idea of your kid not learning how to punch and kick then Judo rocks.