On February 27th, Baby Boot Camp Los Angeles (Culver City and Marina Del Rey) had a special class at Marina Martial Arts. Debbie Jones, black belt, mother of two, and co-owner of Marina Martial Arts, taught practical self-defense moves during the last part of class. Debbie taught us to use a commanding voice and showed us where to hit if attacked. I found it helpful and useful, and I hope to return to learn more.
I am interested in enrolling my child in a martial arts program when she is old enough, because I think she would enjoy it and I would feel good about her learning these skills. I asked Debbie some questions that other parents might have about martial arts programs for kids and families. The interview is below.
Family and Kid classes at Marina Martial Arts
Q. Tell me about the Lil’ Dragons class
A. The Lil’ Dragons class is for children ages 3.5 – roughly 6 years. (At some point between 5-6 years, working with the parents, we evaluate when is appropriate for the student to move into a more challenging class that requires a longer attention span.) The class is designed so the kids get to do all the fun martial arts moves they envision, and at the same time a great opportunity for us to interject Life Skills that every martial artist should learn; manners, focus, respect, confidence and many others.
Q. Can you tell me what skills should children have to be ready for your class?
A. There are no skills required to start. The drills and exercises are appropriate for children as young as 3.5 years. As they continue to come to class and get more practice they will become more disciplined and focused.
Q. Have you turned children away and advised the parent what they need to know in order for their child to participate?
A. In some cases, if the child is too young we have them wait 6 months and then try again. Our philosophy is that the benefits of martial arts should be available to everyone no matter what your limitations, so we work with children and adults in a variety of special circumstances .
Q. I see you have a “Family” class. What is taught and is it tailored for individual families?
A. The Family Class is a great way to share your hobby as a family. Children and parents exercise and train together giving them activities they can share and practice at home. This is particularly powerful when it comes to Life Skills Lessons. Children see their parents modeling these traits…working hard, perseverance and fitness. It is much more powerful than simply telling your child to “work hard”.
Q. Do you have a women’s self-defense class available?
A. Not currently on the schedule, however we do offer specialized classes to groups, clubs, employers, etc.
Q. Do you encourage healthy eating and exercise outside the class for your students?
A. Absolutely! Respect for yourself starts with taking care of your body…from brushing your teeth to eating right.
Q. Do most children stay interested in martial arts or does it wane after a certain age?
A. Every student is different so we take an individual approach to helping them overcome any obsticles. Since martial arts is not a seasonal sport, but more a lifestyle; a student may face burnout if they are training too much. Generally for the elementary age, we advise children train two times per week. Our belt system is designed to reward students who train regularly at frequent intervals. Consistently earning rewards in the form of stickers and advancements has proven to be very motivating. The requirements for achieving belts are still challenging, however there are many progress stickers and in-class rewards along the way.