The best age to start your child in Tae Kwon-Do actually has nothing to do with your child.
Because, the best time to start your child in Tae KwonDo is when you, the parent, is ready to make the commitment.
In today’s society, that seems to be kind of a lost art. Parents don’t want to drive anymore, and seem to actually be doing too much with their kids. They sign them up for 5,000 different things, and then the child quits all of them. It would be much more beneficial for the child to concentrate on one or two things that they really enjoy. In turn, the parents to enjoy it as well.
That has been my teaching philosophy for years: get them to love what they’re doing and they’ll not only do it well, they’ll do it forever.
Our Tigers program starts children in Tae Kwon-Do at age three. I believe that kids are able to begin traditional training – kicking, punching, self-defense, self-confidence, self-discipline – at age three, easily. But Tigers is a very mild introduction to the martial arts world; more of a fun and games, “romper room” approach. The idea is to get them to love Tae Kwon-Do.
The six year old and up program is a much more regimented program. At this age, they’re ready to do it. Kids love kicking and punching, kids love self-confidence and self-discipline. But, it’s up to the parents to make the commitment.
As I have said before, there are going to be four times between white belt and black belt that children (and adults, for that matter) are going to want to quit. My job is to make it difficult, so that they don’t just have a black belt, they are a black belt.
So, it’s during those times when, again, we need the parents’ commitment to bringing them, even when their child says they don’t want to come anymore. Children will say that Tae Kwon-Do is boring, it’s “this,” it’s “that.” What they’re really saying is that they don’t want to work hard, and a lot is being expected of them, so they want to quit. But, this begins a dangerous pattern. They’ll move on from Tae Kwon-Do to something else and, of course, a lot will be expected of them with that as well, and so they’ll quit that too, and so on.
I tell parents that as soon as their children say they want to quit, to bring them in. I do this because I need to talk to the child and the parent, in order to make that commitment stick. I find that the parents that don’t want to come in quit, because they’re just looking for something for their child to do, as opposed to reaping the benefits of becoming a black belt.
Sometimes parents will say: “I don’t want to make him/her do something they don’t want to do.”
I usually respond to this by asking parents if they make their child go to school when they don’t want to. Do you make them take medicine when they don’t want to? Do you make them go to bed at night when they don’t want to?
We make our kids do a lot of stuff they don’t want to do, because we are the parents. We are the adults. We know what’s good for them.
So, the parental commitment is what’s most important here. The moment you, as a parent, are ready to commit, is the right moment to start your child in Tae Kwon-Do.
Master Gorino’s Tae Kwon-Do offers a trial program for individuals and families in Buffalo, NY and the surrounding areas that allows you to get a feel for the different classes, meet our instructors, and experience our dojang. It’s a great way to see if Tae Kwon-Do is right for you. To learn more or to sign up, register online or call (716) 836-KICK (5425) and a member of our team will follow up with you on next steps. We look forward to helping you achieve your goals. Pil-Sung!