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How To Find a Safe Martial Arts Dojo
For Your Child

Martial arts training has become increasingly popular with both parents and kids as evidence of its benefits continues to grow. While team sports can provide valuable opportunities for physical and social development, they're limited by season and often inhibit kids' personal accomplishment.  By contrast, classes that teach children karate, judo, and other styles blend physical fitness, emotional control, and a philosophy built upon respect and discipline.

Once you and your kids have decided that they would like to enroll in martial arts classes, the next step is to find a suitable dojo. That includes finding an instructor around whom your child feels comfortable as well as investing time to observe classes. Safety is paramount. And while most schools consider it a priority, it remains the responsibility of the parent. Below, I'll describe the 4 steps to finding a safe martial arts dojo for your kids.

#1 - Ask For Clarification

The instructors who train young people in the martial arts understand that parents are concerned about the safety precautions taken by the school. As a result, they'll happily explain the steps they're taking in order to ensure the training is safe. Of course, if you're unfamiliar with a particular studio, you should invest the time to verify their claims. And that means observing a few classes.

#2 - Observe A Few Classes

Few things - if any - can take the place of personal observation. A trustworthy dojo will accommodate your request to watch other students during training sessions. By observing a class, you'll gain an appreciation regarding the dynamic shared between students and teachers. You'll be able to note whether the trainers are overly antagonistic, prompting kids to be more aggressive than necessary. You'll also get a glimpse of the safety gear used.

#3 - Watch For Safety Gear

The floor on which children train should be matted. Even if sparring is not included during classes, a heavy mat protects a child's body from falls or while kneeling. If the dojo includes sparring, watch for mouth guards, padded headgear, and protective pads for the shins. They should also be wearing sparring gloves in order to reduce the impact of strikes, intentional or accidental.

Keep in mind that grappling is often a large part of sparring. Look at the floor to make sure that the mat is large enough to sufficiently cover the area. Also, look around the training room for protruding objects that might cause injury.

#4 - Note How Injuries Are Treated

While it is always unfortunate when a child is injured during martial arts classes, it's important to note how the instructor responds. The trainer should be able to quickly assess whether an injury is serious or superficial, and then act accordingly. Doing so effectively is more difficult than it seems. A lot of children feign pain in order to attract attention. On the other hand, if an injury is serious, immediate medical attention may be required. An experienced dojo instructor will be able to identify the severity of each injury and address it properly.

Enrolling Your Kids In A Safe Dojo

Learning martial arts is an adventure that often grows into a lifelong passion. It's not uncommon for kids to develop an intense fondness for the training over time. The more often they attend classes and participate, the stronger their self-confidence grows. Plus, they learn the value of emotional restraint, peer respect, and discipline. Use the 4 tips above to find a safe martial arts dojo for your child. It takes time, but an inviting school and an authoritative instructor can spark and keep your child's interest.

About the Author

The Dojo of Karate combines the ancient art of Wado-Ryu Karate with modern teaching methods in a convenient Denver Dojo.

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