Monday, September 27, 2010

Got Kids? Judo know the half of it.

For those of you who've read my stuff in the excellent (now defunct) European martial arts magazine "Fighting Arts International" you might remember my advocating Judo before anyone in Europe or the States had heard of the Gracies and/or Brazilian Ju-Jutsu. I covered how important it is/was to know how to grapple and how to control someone if you're taken to the ground.

What prompted the Judo theme is that I got asked again by someone the other day about where to send their kids to train (because I don't teach anyone under the age of eighteen). You'd think, given my love for karate, I'd say the nearest karate school but the answer I always give is Judo.

Why? Let's go over the reasons.

1. You learn how to fall safely in Judo (it's called break-falling). Kids being kids, are going to fall off bicycles, out of trees and just running along. Loads of them end up breaking their collar bones, arms and legs as a result. By learning how to fall safely they avoid the breaks (this is the same skill set used by stunt men) which saves them pain and you the expense of taking care of said broken limb and the medical bills that come with it.

2. Judo is cheap!!! A lot of the McDojos lock people into expensive contracts and nickle and dime parents to death. Judo by comparison costs next to nothing.

3. Perhaps the most important reason of all - you react how you train to react. If your lessons are all about punching and kicking and you get into a fight at school you're going to punch and kick. That can lead to all sorts of legal ramifications for you and your child. The youth Judo program doesn't teach joint locks or strangulation like the adult program does. It only teaches the throws and the pins so your child will (hopefully) toss the bully and pin him until someone in authority arrives to break it up. The likelihood of there being any physical injury from throwing and pinning is minuscule as compared to the risk after punching and kicking someone.

4. Judo will wear them out. A lot of the punching and kicking - especially in mid-air - serves to amp kids up and make them hyper. The grappling and throwing of Judo on the other hand is a total workout. You're going one hundred percent against a fully resisting opponent and it takes its toll fast.

5. Judo is an Olympic sport. Tae Kwan Do has recently joined the fold of sports allowed in the Olympics but Judo's been in there for years and is very well respected. Who knows...maybe your kid will represent the country one day in Judo.

So, there you have it...five great reasons to get your kids into Judo. It will provide a perfect base for them so, by the time they turn 18 and can train with the likes of me, they'll be great raw material to build from.

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