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My kids have been doing Tae Kwon Do for 2 years and just wondering if there was a better system for them for now. I feel they will become black belts within a year but not have mastered everything due to their age.

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    What sort of things are they looking for in a martial art? What are you looking for? – Sean Duggan Dec 26 '15 at 5:38
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    What do you mean by better? A black belt is not a sign of mastery. It's just another step. If the school is good this doesn't have to be the end of their learning. – Huw Evans Dec 26 '15 at 22:17
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    You cannot expect them to be black belts at this young age! 6 and 8 year olds are supposed to work on developing their gross and fine motor skills (e.g. learning to warmup properly, stretch and do some simple exercises) until they are capable of learning the fundamentals of any martial art. – paperclip Dec 29 '15 at 2:23
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    If they like TKD but you feel that they are being ill-served by being promoted simply for "time served" without mastery (by which I mean achieving an appropriately high level of skill in the techniques expected of people at a particular rank), you could find another TKD school that has stricter ranking criteria, or a different scale for kids (they'll need to be re-ranked as middle teenagers). – Larry Jan 1 '16 at 20:28
  • You will find that the 6 year old's black belt is equivalent to a much lower rank when they get a bit older. I have seen exactly one 12 year old that could live up to the black belt, but never a 6 year old. I don't think you need to be asking which system so much as which school. I remember many kids who had earned "junior black belts" and started comingto my school, and how frustrated they were when they were not quite on a par with my yellow belts. – pojo-guy Jan 7 '16 at 5:32
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I think BJJ is the best because it generally doesn't involve striking, which probably isn't good for kids. Wrestling is another great sport for kids.

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    As Judo may be with a good instructor. But instructors are more important than the art, as correctly highlighted in various threads. As long as the instructor is looking for a broad training of speed-strenght (as it has to be trained in young age) as well as athleticism and coordination, and does not forget fun, any sport will do. If it has to be a martial art, some kind of grappling will be a good complement for TKD. That's definitely true. – Philip Klöcking Dec 27 '15 at 23:57
  • Any evidence that striking is not good for kids? – Sardathrion - Reinstate Monica Jan 4 '16 at 7:55
  • @Sardathrion pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/99/1/134 the risk with striking is head trauma. There isn't anything wrong with teaching striking techniques as long as the kids aren't sparing. You could spar without head strikes, but head strikes are extremely effective, so it would be difficult to reach mastery without allowing them. – Tom Jan 11 '16 at 17:39
  • Could you add said reference and added comments to your answer? Thanks. – Sardathrion - Reinstate Monica Jan 12 '16 at 7:25
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not have mastered everything due to their age

Age has nothing to do with mastery - mastery is a combination of physical refinement and academic knowledge. So you can do a kick perfectly, but that doesn't mean in itself that you've mastered it - you also have to know how and when to deliver that physically perfect kick.

I feel they will become black belts within a year

As already mentioned, a black belt is nothing, it is just another grade. Most schools also have a distinction between the kids black belt and an adult black belt - very seldom is the knowledge gained and the training undertaken anywhere near similar for each.

My kids have been doing Tae Kwon Do for 2 years

To get all Zen like, this training time is but a blink of the eye. Two years for most styles/arts will only take you halfway through the coloured belt grades. The learning and time taken for the later coloured belts usually gets longer and harder.

just wondering if there was a better system for them for now

Maybe yes, maybe no - we can't suggest what art would be best because we don't know your kids and have never seen them train. What really counts is the instructor they have, rather than the art they do. Cross training in another art is great and usually complements the skills gained in the main art they practice. This means they could gain from just about any other art they decide to train in. The only way you will know is to try them. They might even improve just by going to a different TKD school as a combination of a different teacher with different students may show up flaws in their technique.

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My kids have been doing Tae Kwon Do for 2 years and just wondering if there was a better system for them for now.

At this age your kids should be having fun and developing gross motor skills. Taekwon-do might be great for them depending on the instructor. The instructor needs to instill discipline in the children, and at the same time teach them basic moves (and have fun learning, of course!). If your instructor is doing that now, then I see no need for a change.

I feel they will become black belts within a year but not have mastered everything due to their age.

It doesn't matter what belt they wear, a white belt who is eager to learn is far better than a black belt who doesn't want to train.

So don't worry! Your kids are too young to master everything in Taekwon-do. They should be learning the most basic things and build their knowledge/skills from there. Be patient and things will fall into place. Who knows, they might want to pick up another martial art or fighting style.

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A grappling art fits very well with this age group: Wrestling, BJJ or Judo will develop spatial awareness, balance and coordination in a safe and effective fashion. The quality of the instructor is key.

Finally, nobody is really a black belt in just two years... even if they happen to wear one.

  • Regarding your last sentence: I am an examinant for Judo in Germany and we have been told that we should regard the student as still learning so that even if the program wasn't shown perfectly (i.e. barely hit the minimum standard) we should bear in mind that they will grow into that belt. I think this to be nonsense for brown or even more so black belts, but I happen to be part of the minority as it stands. – Philip Klöcking Jan 2 '16 at 14:59
  • -1 for last sentence. There are intense courses which will give you a black belt in one year, the Yoshinkan Aikido sensyu course for example. It is the amount of time spend training that counts, not the start/end dates. – Sardathrion - Reinstate Monica Jan 4 '16 at 7:58
  • @Sardathrion We'll just agree to disagree then eh? McDojos... if anything, the link you provide is a good example of what I'm talking about. – Nathan Jan 5 '16 at 8:45
  • Holy crap, you can even become an "instructor" as well as a black belt with that course... come on @Sardathrion, that's complete nonsense - as is your implication that my last sentence is inaccurate... ESPECIALLY given that we're talking about CHILDREN (how much time do you think they'll be spending doing martial arts in reality?? 3 classes a week max). sigh – Nathan Jan 5 '16 at 8:56
  • @Nathan I would consider it quite normal for a black belt to be able to grade some students, and in this case it is only to 4th kyu. So it is hardly worth trying to make a point over the "instructor" accreditation of this particular course. Sardathrion provided evidence of a legitimate well established school that gives you the opportunity to gain a black belt after an 11 month intensive course (they won't give you the belt if you fail the examinations), so maybe you should suspend the overly harsh judgement until you actually meet some of its participants? – slugster Jan 5 '16 at 12:55

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