The martial arts is fun for all ages… Really? Are you sure? Come on I’ve seen Karate Kid and Mr. Miyagi had Danial-san wax on/wax off so much that his arms must have hurt, and it sure didn’t look like fun.
Our answer is YES… on both accounts. FUN and ALL AGES! As long as you pick the right school for the right reason!
Though as you can imagine, “fun” is an incredibly subjective term. Because what one person might define as fun another might define completely differently. A great martial school should help each member establish a correct definition for themselves. And then help them expand their definition. For Daniel-san it was giving him what he needed in a non-typical environment (and it was definitely fun for Mr. Miyagi). And by the end, it was fun for Daniel-san when he thrived through the pain, won the competition, and got the girl.
As for all ages, let’s look at each age group and see if Karate classes in Pajamas (Gi’s or uniforms) would be a good match.
Can you imagine starting to take Martial Art classes at 3 years of age… Of course. Some do, parents see the opportunity to build self-esteem, self-discipline, and self-confidence within their child as a no-brainer. Parents can see their child having a place to be and grow that is outside of school. They can watch their children become stronger, smarter, and more responsible while their offspring learn to defend themselves. They can watch their children have fun while learning.
Can you imagine starting classes at the age of 10 years of age… Sure. Kids at this age are starting to engage and test their value system in public. Their decision-making process gets tested through peer pressure. Bullying (both in person and online) tests their emotional wear-with-all1. It’s incredible to think that more than approx. 49% of students experienced bullying (from name calling, teasing, rumors & lies, pushing/shoving, hitting/slapping/kicking, threatening, stealing, sexual comments/gestures, and cyber issues). No doubt parents want their child to not only be physically strong but mentally and emotionally fortified. They want their wonderful child to be surrounded by instructors and fellow students that care about helping them be confident among their peers and other adults. That is helping them focus. That is encouraging them to stand up for themselves.
Can you imagine starting Karate at the age of 16… Hum, getting harder to believe. Why? Because most think that the teen is set in their ways, in their sports, with their friends. Parents are giving more autonomy (with reluctance). Yet, they are still wary of what their offspring are doing and might do. Sex, drugs, alcohol, cars, and newly found independence are testing their limits and are now more top of mind (and definitely keeping them up at night). Yet, those parents that allow their teen to take up the martial arts at this ripe old age, find that it gives their teen structure, a safe place to be, and great examples to follow. It allows them to exercise their leadership abilities. Sure, it helps teach them to defend themselves, but most importantly, it helps them avoid the fight (and the circumstances that lead to them.) It helps build the guardian mentality for the teen to care about others versus just themselves.
Can you imagine starting Self Defense classes in your 20’s, 30’, 40’s, or 50’s… Probably not. Which is too bad, because the martial arts is an excellent way to expand mind and tone the body. It allows you to break the bonds of work and make a new circle of friends. It gives you a place to work out the stress and learn the science behind the arts. But the best part is it can slow age-related cognitive decline. According to a study published in Psychological Science2, it suggests that doing something that you know how to do (i.e. more knowledge versus new knowledge) isn’t enough. You need to get out of your comfort zone and challenge your mind for optimal results. Well, if you have never done the martial arts it will definitely take you out of your comfort zone – all while on the safety of the mat and under the watchful eyes of great instructors. We have had CEOs, entrepreneurs, moms, dads, teachers, police officers, office workers, and firefighters as students.
Can You imagine starting classes at 60 or over… By now, we hope so. At Attitude First Martial Arts Academy in Phoenix, Arizona, our oldest student is 67, we have plenty of 50’s and every other age in-between. Sure, we might be a little slower, but we more than make with attitude and life experience. We think it is really important to combat the sense of hopelessness as older adults think they are unable to do things and remain active. It is true as we age, we do lose muscle tone, flexibility, qualities of sight and hearing and sometimes mental acuity. But, studies3 show that we can slow the “aging process” and in some ways almost reverse some aging effects by staying active and through focused exercising. Plus, the world seems to think the older we are, the more vulnerable we become. Let’s prove them wrong.
If you decide to train at a more experienced age, make sure that the school is able to modify the learning activities that allow for any limitations, so you grow and improve.
Can you imagine finding the right school that a student (regardless of age) will excel at? We hope so! Here are some things we believe help every student from every age group:
- The school should convey the lessons in an appropriate manner for the skill and maturity level of the participant.
- Instructors should be there to help the students learn versus just being there to teach.
- The education process should ensure that EVERY STUDENT has a balance of challenge and success. Never should the challenge to be so great, that it creates anxiety of failure before it happens nor, do you want the information so simple, that it allows for boredom.
- Make sure the school is balanced in its learning style approach. Not all people learn the same way, thus not all instruction should be the same. Lessons should range from fitness activities to whiteboard “Ted Talks.” From in-air to hands-on activities. They should even leverage today’s technology by showing “encounter” videos to help illustrate topics and possible solutions.
- Look for a school that has a strong fellowship and family atmosphere. Make sure it isn’t all about punching, kicking, and yelling – look for the lighthearted moments and enjoyable activities.
- Most importantly, it isn’t just about what occurs on the mat- see if the school does activities outside of the school that further our awareness and an overall understanding of how your training supports your daily life.
- Ensure that art and science that is being taught is well intertwined within the intellectual, emotional and physical. Don’t get caught up that there is only one way or only one person is right. Problem-solving at the moment for all age groups is a necessity.
- Review the schedule for different opportunities of training ranging from simple exercise (i.e. Yoga) to core instruction (i.e. Self Defense) to competitive activities (Freestyle or BJJ).
So regardless of age and ability, find yourself, family or friends a school they can call home. A place that they can experience new skills. A set of friends and instructors that care as much about what occurs on the mat and off the mat. A place that has fun in developing their courage, confidence, and commitment in all of their students. Most importantly, a place that makes sure that training is FUN FOR ALL AGES!
About Attitude First Martial Arts
Since 1981, Attitude First Martial Arts Academy has encouraged kids and adults alike to develop confidence, courage, and commitment to defend themselves, their hopes, and their dreams. They have developed and implemented programs that directly address a person’s self-esteem, confidence, and decision-making skills using the martial arts as their basis.
Attitude First is highly experienced in guiding the development of their member’s skills necessary to be successful in today’s world using Martial Arts as the vehicle. Their training process helps develop confidence, so they can be successful in any environment. We help them find the courage to navigate this new and chaotic world and encourage them to invoke self-discipline in achieving goals. Most importantly, they learn that they do have choices and should not be a victim of those who want to distract them from their goals.
Attitude First Martial Arts in Phoenix, AZ offers Martial Arts, Karate, Women’s Self Defense, BJJ and Yoga classes in the Phoenix, AZ and Glendale, AZ areas to ages 3 to adult.