What makes for a good martial arts class with an on-location site sometimes transfers to online, but many times it doesn’t. If an instructor simply shows techniques and asks students to repeat them, why not just find a pre-recorded video? There are also specific ways this works for children. What is it that makes for the best online martial arts training experience for kids?
For the best online martial arts training for kids there needs to be four key elements. Online classes that are fun and funny while promoting fitness and functionality inspire kids to fully engage. To find this you need to have quality instruction by highly skilled instructors.
How can you be certain that these elements are in an online class before signing up to have your child join in with a live and interactive class? One way is if the instructor records his classes and lets you view them on a platform like Youtube.
Table of Contents
Master Booe’s Little Ninja Online Martial Arts Training For Kids
I have traveled the world and taught every age group imaginable in a multitude of cultures and countries. My competition record is something that for many years was a center of my undivided attention. With colaboration from other fight team members, we developed an edged and impact weapon system for the U.S. Navy.
I know the martial arts.
My wife and I have raised four kids, two of which are now adults and successfully crushing it in their chosen paths. My son is in the U.S. Air Force stationed in Texas. He has two beautiful girls and has just bought his first house.
My daughter who was once a year long scholarship exchange student in Germany, is now in her senior year on a full ride scholarship to LSU (Geaux Tigers!).
We have twin boys at home that are growing and becoming men faster than I would like. One of the twins destroys standardized tests and is chomping at the bit to get his hands on the SAT.
His brother has two significant special needs, but has successfully been off daily maximum doses of medication for years. Doctors believed he would never be free of it.
I know kids.
Not only this, I know what parents are looking for when it comes to role models, character development, fitness, and self defense for their Little Ninjas. I have trained around 25,000 kids all over the world for over a quarter of a century.
My classes, you can rest assured, are among the best if not the best online martial arts training for kids available. I am not saying you can’t find other good instructors of kids. I know a couple myself. What I am saying is that their classes won’t be better and most classes can’t compare.
Here is a short video explanation of my philosophy in teaching kids online. The reason behind what we do many times not only enables what we do, but also gives it its meaning.
If you would like to see classes in action, I record many of my online classes (no kids are shown for obvious reasons) and post them on my You Tube channel for all to view, for FREE. Here is one of them so you can get a look at how I deal with Little Ninjas.
I follow several tried and true teaching and delivery methods supported by tons of university research. Though it may not be apparent on first viewing, there is a lot of planning and experience that goes into each class.
Want to see how the online classes work? Click here to get all the details.
What Are The Components Of Good Online Martial Arts Training?
To successfully teach children it takes a lot of ingredients in the mix. Those that don’t truly understand how to do this will be either openly failing or simply entertaining. Teaching is an art unto itself with its own learning curve, experience demands, and high probability of doing nothing more than wasting time.
There are some fundamental aspects to teaching anything to kids and with an active and accident prone subject such as the martial arts, these are extremely important.
Fundamental Online Martial Arts Ingrediant #1: Fun
To say that kids like fun might sound self-explanatory. Yet, it is the number one thing on my list for an important reason. Fun is not simply needed in a kids class because they like it. They like chocolate and soda too, but I wouldn’t advocate giving them this each class.
Fun is more than just entertainment for children. It is the thing that sparks their interest and invites investigation. Put another way, they more fully engage when something strikes them as fun.
In an article published in the journal Early Child Development and Care, play as learning is shown to be more successful when deliberately implemented than other forms of teaching for preschoolers. Studies show that it is the crossover of dedicated instruction and play that has always been the most successful, even when not intentional by teachers.
Play has been much of the time separated from learning and a ‘get serious’ about learning approach has been followed. This is exactly how you do not want to teach young children. They will fully engage with something that an adult has turned into a game or morphed into some silly form of competition.
If you want the full attention of all the Little Ninjas in the room, you had better make it fun, or else.
Fundamental Online Martial Arts Ingrediant #2: Funny
This may be mistaken as the same as fun, but it is not. Fun breeds elation, joy, and excitement. Funny brings laughter, surprise, and astonishment. They are related, but definitely not the same.
A child may think that doing an art project is fun. They may like the process of making it while playing with the paints and glue, but they may not feel surprised or laugh even once.
Funny is something kids long for and hope to find in everything. They will even convince themselves that doing inappropriate things is funny in the absence of the real thing. Adult comedians try to serve this up as comedy much of the time, but that is another article in itself.
If you want to see how to make kids laugh guaranteed, click here to read my article on the 6 easy steps.
If you know what kids find funny then putting that in with whatever you teach can create teachable moments. These are when you can affect kids in a lasting way. Without these openings, they are seriously wishing you would just stop talking.
Meld these first two and you will have them in the palm of your hand. Neglect these and you will be speaking to a room of adversaries instead of students.
Fundamental Online Martial Arts Ingrediant #3: Fitness
One of the basic rules I have always taught by when teaching kids is to ensure they are a little out of breath and always on the verge of laughter. We have talked about the laughing, but what about the sweating?
For younger children sweating may be a bit much. For older ones “smiling and sweating” is the standard. Yet, with smaller children the sweating can be changed to smiling and… strenuous breathing. Okay, not as catchy, but still.
Fitness is accomplished by causing the body to push its limits for regular and extended periods of time. Just attempting this one time will cause the body to produce endorphins in the brain. That is the good stuff your brain constantly searches for.
This same chemical is produced with sports, video games, and even an intense chess game that results in victory. Our brains remember what it is that produces this and then calls us do more of it.
This works the same way for Little Ninja brains. They will like to get up and move if you inspire them with the fun and funny. They will want to keep doing it even if it is hard when the endorphins hit.
We as humans also feed on accomplishment. When we feel we are good or at least getting good at something, we want to do it more. This works with fitness as well.
When kids feel stronger, more capable, and experienced they will want to repeat it. And if you know anything about toddlers, you know they will want to repeat it to an extreme degree.
Fundamental Online Martial Arts Ingrediant #4: Functionality
Kids should not be taught to injure their classmates or siblings. Because let’s be honest, they aren’t going to successfully use their techniques on the burglar that breaks into your house at 2 am.
They are preparing their bodies and minds to give themselves a great advantage in reaching that ability when they grow to a comparable size with the intruder. At this young age they are in the preparatory stage.
The techniques they are taught that could cause permanent injury can only be used on other children about their size. This is unacceptable.
On the other hand, how are they to defend themselves against bullies and other aggressive children until they can find an adult to stop the offending child? This is where they need to be taught techniques that work against children their own size.
For example, how do you teach a child how to stop another child from pushing them to the ground? How can they get up if another child is sitting on them and pinning them? How should they react if another child is about to use a hard toy as a make-shift cudgel to bounce off of their head?
This is where age appropriate and functional techniques should be taught and regularly practiced. Practicing how to get up if a bully is standing over them without taking damage is completely different than teaching them a heel hook sweep to an ankle-lock.
The first one helps them protect themselves and get to a managing adult. The other could potentially cause a permanent injury to another child.
So, functionality for children will be different in some ways from that of an adult. Though, I am going to let you in on a little secret that many instructors may feel, but not really want to say out loud for fear of losing students.
Many adults actively taking classes now shouldn’t be taught how to injure someone else either. Enough good character should be the ticket that gets you to these techniques, not enough money. Sadly today, some of these techniques are shown for the low cost of a free You Tube channel subscription.
Without proper guidance, training partners, and instruction these adult level techniques aren’t nearly as potent, but when applied to a weaker target by a bully they can sometimes be very effective.
Is Online Martial Arts Training Expensive?
The answer to this question will really depend on what the goal of the instructor is that is giving the class. This may seem like a vague response, but I will explain it a bit more and you will see that motive here means a lot.
Some instructors look to offer online classes as an alternative to their on-site program. They attempt to simply ‘translate’ their on-site instruction to either recorded videos or periodic live classes. If this is the case, they may be under the impression that similar tuition rates are in order.
This same false notion is also shared by some universities that are transitioning to a majority of online instruction. Some in the beginning tried to charge out-of-state tuition to students whose permanent residence was in another state.
This may sound absurd, but it was a problem early on in the race to claim a portion of the growing online community seeking e-solutions to higher education. Now, many have backed off of this and most will soon follow.
This same attitude may be held by instructors who see their classes as mere virtual versions of their on-site offerings. The problems here are many.
One is the overhead and bills associated with online instruction versus in person classes. There is really little comparison. The bills that an instructor is responsible for with an on-site program are exponentially higher than with an online one.
On the other hand, instructors that acknowledge this will price their classes accordingly. For instance, I price my online Karate classes at under half of what most on-site programs charge. Not only that, I allow many classes to be taken each week.
Now you can see why I say it depends. Martial arts lessons taught at a physical location costs way more to offer than classes online.
Then there are those simply trying to pull the wool over parent’s eyes. They are calling pre-recorded classes online instruction. These videos are a pale comparison to Live online training taught be a good instructor.
These videos are not Online Martial Arts Classes, they are a lazy substitute. If someone is trying to charge premium prices for online training to begin with it is bordering on dishonest. If they are then offering recorded videos as classes… run.
For a more detailed discussion on why martial arts classes cost so much, see my article here. There is also a section on how online classes are the ‘wave of the future’.
Wait, As Young As 2 Years Old In the Martial Arts?
How can a two year old learn martial arts in general? Furthermore, how can a toddler in their home doing online classes get the same thing they could even get from an on-site class? Simple. It has to be a combination of a good instructor and dedicated involved parents.
If you are wanting an activity that you can sit a toddler in front of like many in the 80s and 90s did with the television for their kids, martial arts is not it. Especially with younger children fortitude, goal setting, and perseverance is something that has to be taught.
We are not conceived possessing virtues and good character traits. These truths and goods are learned from parents and those teachers that parents allow around their kids. It is no secret why children end up acting like the adults that surround them.
So what can we expect a toddler to learn from martial arts if these two criteria are met?
For a detailed analysis of this question about preschoolers and the martial arts with supporting research, see my article here.
For our purposes here, let’s look at four areas that can be improved in a toddlers development through the martial arts. This can happen in on-site classes or online.
Most kids of any age can do with a healthy dose of patience training. This is directly in the realm that martial arts works to develop.
This permeates anything that contains short and long term goal setting. Belts and grading in the martial arts are excellent tools to develop an understanding of these in younger children.
Striving is such an important part of a child’s developmental experience. This one thing with its inherent failures and obstacles to overcome helps to develop so many great qualities in children.
To strive for a goal that is just out of reach is to learn what makes you who you are. You learn by experience what dedication means and what is FEELS like to pursue it. You never really know some things until you are hit with adversity or a challenge.
Reaching these belt levels with their corresponding requirements teaches these kids to strive. Once one is attained, it is celebrated and then we point the kid to the next goal and set them off. It is magical. It breeds patience.
Especially for high energy boys, this can be a major challenge. For many boys, the hierarchy that exists in every room they are in must be established and constantly tested for stability. This goes for adults in the room as well.
In an online martial arts class this has to be facilitated by an experienced instructor that understands how to deal with this age group. It also demands parents that are either participating or ‘keeping an eye one everything’ just off screen.
Kids test that adults care about what they do on a regular basis. Sometimes it goes farther than they expected, but no matter the outcome they want to feel the ‘push-back’ from adults. They can then turn to find their place among their peers.
With other children, they may be aggressive, selfish, and violent even though it may not be a normal part of their personalities. This is a way to establish their place in the hierarchy so that they can then move on to fun and entertainment.
Besides food and sleep, this is the world of a toddler. Defining and redefining who they are.
So, how does this relate to self control? In a martial arts setting the roles are so precisely defined that children know by most of their senses immediately where they fit in. They get to see first hand that those with the authority in a class not only don’t mistreat their friends, but that they help them even when it takes great effort.
They are taught that authority is earned, not taken by the actions of bullies.
This modeling for these children is amazing. No lectures or diatribes they are going to ignore anyway are needed. They are not the center of attention, but their place and worth is affirmed.
Is it perfect. Of course not. Some kids are so deprived of the ‘push back’ in their other environments that even in a martial arts class they will try to illicit way more than normal. A good instructor can quickly see this and tighten the reigns in a way that makes them feel secure and not oppressed.
Self control is not some esoteric thing that enough ‘good talks’ can bring about. Especially in small children, you have to show them.
Increased Motor Function: Large And Small
Of course standing on one foot for extended periods of time, jumping, wrestling, and hitting training weapons together will increase coordination. These are what the physical side of the martial arts was designed to do.
Yet, there is another factor that needs to be taken into account. The adrenal state. When our adrenaline begins to flow either from excitement or fear much of our motor function small and large goes right out the window.
There is a famous quote that doesn’t directly apply to small children that I can’t pass up inserting here. It does have universal applications.
Everyone has a plan, until they get punched in the face.Former WBC, WBA and IBF world heavyweight champion, Mike Tyson
Think about how this applies to all children. They fail at most everything many times before the succeed. We as adults had to go through it.
What the martial arts can do for these kids is put them in uncomfortable situations with people watching and then ask them to perform. This is when you really find out if you can do something.
The best thing is to do it and let them fail a few times until they ‘get it right’. And when they do, get ready for the victory poses. I get to have so many laughing fits at those poses.
I do this with many games and drills, but the board breaking is the icing on the cake for that.
I have an article about board breaking here if you want to read more on how it helps.
Increased Cognitive Function
There are tons of studies that show the memory required, mind body coordination asked for, and the perseverance to push through failure inherant in the martial arts is very helpful in a young child’s development.
There is a difference in a theory that remains in the realm of the mind and something that takes shape in action and the material world. Architects feel this with their profession. At the end of a long arduous process something that was once an idea is tangible.
Teaching a child to understand how physics really works through a simple judo throw is transformative for little minds. Tell them how it is done and their eyes dart off to the nearest toy.
But, show them how to leverage something onto their hips and toss it onto the floor that they couldn’t budge with just their arms, and you have them. Call it ‘Hulk Smash’ and just try to stop them from doing it. Their minds are in that state that allows it to expand and create new pathways.
Believe me, pushing limits only hurts for a moment. Help your kids push theirs and you could give them an advantage that will last them a lifetime.
The Best Online Martial Arts Training Takeaway…
The martial arts is a great lifelong journey. You can choose many paths and ways to travel those paths. Keep this in mind when considering how to do it.
For thousands of years these techniques were taught privately or to whole companies of soldiers. They were recorded on scrolls and rediscovered by later generations. They were passed from father to son and from school masters to students.
The delivery of these techniques has taken many forms. Don’t think that learning from a ‘coach’ in a converted garage or a ‘sensei’ in a strip mall stroefront is the only way it should or can be taught.
With the Live Classes available online today, you could have an instructor streamed right into your own home.
If you are interested in finding out more about how I teach and how to get your Little Ninjas involved, click here to enter The Little Ninja Dojo.