An increasing number of boys and girls are taking up Martial Arts as their junior sport. But what are the benefits of martial arts for kids and is it the right sport for your child? We chat to Simone Todd, General Manager at Infinity Martial Arts, to find out.
What makes martial arts a great activity for kids?
Martial arts is a great activity for kids because it teaches them how to use their bodies with discipline, technique and effectiveness. It is a great way to teach kids what healthy boundaries are. When they interact with each other, they learn to apply techniques safely and step outside their comfort zone in a healthy environment. And, it is equally good for both boys and girls.
What are the main benefits?
There are many benefits, but the three main ones are: increased confidence (knowing how to act safely in a dangerous situation); increased respect (learning to act appropriately in a class setting), and increased fitness (martial arts can be physically intense).
What else might kids learn?
Martial arts offers kids plenty of lessons you might not realise! Kids learn how to set goals – the belt grading system gives kids an extra incentive to train frequently and pay attention in class. They learn how to fall over safely and prevent injury – certain techniques like breakfalls help kids to fall safely, on and off the mats. Kids also learn how to become leaders – students who demonstrate a high effort in class will often be asked to lead warm-ups and demonstrate techniques to the class.
What style do you teach?
We teach BJJ (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu) and MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) with a focus on technique, safety and self-defence. BJJ is a modified style of Jiu-Jitsu with a heavy focus on ground-grappling, takedowns and submissions. MMA is a hybrid of countless martial arts, which involves striking, grappling, wall grappling and takedowns. These styles are suitable for kids (under focused care and supervision) and allow them to gain confidence by stepping outside their comfort zone. Kids get to find out how strong and disciplined they can become, and how much they can grow and improve, by just showing up and trying their best.
What happens in a typical class at Infinity?
A typical class at Infinity usually runs from 30-45 minutes (depending on the age group) and is broken down into three parts: warm-up, practice, and games/sparring. Before they begin, students are lined up (in belt order) and bow to their instructor. They will then warm-up with strength and fitness drills such as push-ups, star jumps and squats. Once warm, the students are shown a technique, paired with a partner of a similar size and age, and practice the technique together. We always make sure that our teaching style is accommodating to complete beginners. And we closely monitor the students to make sure they are on their best behaviour and using the correct technique. Finally, we will end the class with some supervised sparring or a game.
What age do children start, and what ages do you teach?
Our classes begin at just 2 years old!
The age ranges we teach are: Fun and Fitness (ages 2-4), Playful Pandas (ages 4-7),
Mighty Monkeys (ages 7+).
What tips do you have for parents who are thinking about starting their child in martial arts?
Don’t think twice. One of the biggest regrets we hear from students is, ‘I wish I started this earlier’. Martial arts has improved the lives of countless children, helping them grow into their own character. You don’t know whether your child will love it unless they try it!
For more information about the programs at Infinity Martial Arts or to find your nearest centre, visit www.infinitymartialarts.com.au.