Kids In Martial Arts: All The Good They’ll Learn


Kids in martial arts might seem like a crazy idea to some, but it’s not what you think. When I was younger, I was involved in martial arts. It started when my father’s best friend was an instructor. He used to come to our after-school program once a week to teach kids a lesson in martial arts. From there, my mother brought me to McCoy’s studio in Auburn, then located in the Heritage Plaza on Route 12. Now it is McCoy’s Action Karate, located on Southbridge Street.

Kwan Jang Nim McCoy, myself and Sensei McCoy after my first competition.

What I thought was going to be something to get me away from my house once a week, turned out to be something I absolutely loved doing. I ended up throwing myself 100% into it. I was excited for each class, and held on to every bit of knowledge I learned there.

At 10 years old, I made some amazing friends, some of which I still keep in touch with today. I learned respect, and self-discipline, which were taught before anything else. I felt safe there, and I loved being there – it was like my home away from home, and my family away from my family.

For whatever reason, my guardians decided to send me to another school still associated with Tang So Doo (and the McCoy’s) in Putnam, CT. Though there were different Senseis and students, everything else was the same, and I still saw my friends. I learned a lot, and I loved it, I had goals of becoming a black belt and a Sensei – it was the one thing I was good at, and I never wanted to quit. It was never my choice to leave.

During my time there, one of the people I trained with and became friends with was the McCoys’ daughter, Barbi. Over the years, after my living situation no longer allowed me to attend, social media became a thing, and we reconnected.

Me, Grandmaster Cheezic, and Barbi

Having had such a positive experience there, I decided to send my children to McCoy’s studio. Barbi is now an owner and Sensei, and my children adore her.

But let’s back up. When I first brought up the idea of sending them to the studio, my boyfriend’s first question was, “do we really want to teach them how to beat each other up?” I shot back, “I took martial arts, and you did for a short time, too. Are we running around beating people up?” No, we are not, that’s just silly.

I also pointed out the important things I learned about respect, discipline, and being a good human. I pointed out that it gave me a safe outlet for my energy. These are all things I was looking for for our children. So he agreed to give it a shot.

Side note: my son has ADHD, and my daughter may be the most stubborn person I have ever met. My son has the energy of a billion suns and sometimes has a hard time following directions and calming down. If my daughter does not want to do something, she absolutely will not, no matter what you say or do.

Enter: the studio, each Sensei, the people

I have never seen a group of people be able to handle and captivate groups of small, wild children and keep them calm the way they do. My children are in a mixed class a couple of days a week, and then their own classes on different days (based on ages).

Pig Pile on Miss Riley (Sensei Riley)

Watching them as well as the other kids listen and follow along is amazing. The kids are learning to listen and follow instruction, as well as learning to work together as a team. But most of all, they are learning to respect themselves and others. They are also learning kindness, for themselves as well as others.

Pig Pile on Miss Barbi (Sensei Barbi)

Both of my kids have made their own friends, and they look forward to each class, asking which Sensei they will have, and hoping they will get to play certain games in class. My daughter has a dance party with her friend after class, and my son has races with kids from his class.

Cubbies with Mommy (yes that’s me jammed in there!)

Well, they have races or they cram into the cubbies with adults. They both feel a sense of accomplishment when they get their next stripe on stripe test day, and belt graduation was a huge excitement for them both.

Bodhi and Shelby

In short, it might seem like a crazy idea putting kids in martial arts, but I promise you there is fun, learning, and friends to be made. But you don’t need to take my word for it, check it out for yourself – the first class is free. And if you mention that you saw them in this blog, you get 10% off the first month!

You can bring your child to as many classes as they offer for their group. They may even talk to YOU about joining! After a couple of months, they sucked me right back in, and I truly couldn’t be more excited to be back!


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