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Parents' Guide to the Martial Arts at Renseikan Dojo

A parent's involvement and interest can go far to transform a child's a martial arts experience into a wonderful lifelong passion. Children stand to gain a lot from martial arts training. At Renseikan Dojo, we've seen children attain a focus and dedication that spills over into the rest of their lives. We've had parents say in wonder, "I can't believe the difference I'm seeing in Amanda. Her teachers are as amazed as we are," and children saying proudly, "Mike wanted to fight me today. I know I can beat him in a fight, but I remembered what you said, Sensei. So I just walked away."

The following tips can help you help your child make the most out of his or her training at Renseikan.

Watch Your Child's Classes

We encourage you to take advantage of our viewing area and watch your child in class, if not on a regular basis, then at least from time to time. While some children's activities discourage parents' observation during classes, at Renseikan we know how important it is to children to have their parents take an interest in what they are doing. Children are proud of what they are learning, and by being there to watch the occasional class, you will help them develop their self-confidence.

Watching the classes also gives you an excellent way to keep up-to-date with dojo events. Notices are always posted on the White boards, and Sensei often announces upcoming events or changes at the end of class. You can also check with any of the assistant instructors if you have any questions.

By staying to watch your child's class, you will be able to monitor your child's progress. Of course, you may not know what to look for to see if he or she is doing well, but you can usually get a good idea based on the techniques of other children of similar rank. All children are different, with some children having special needs, but on the whole, you will be able to get a basic feeling as to how well your child is doing in class. You can also ask the instructors after class for more specific information.

Be Punctual

All martial arts students are expected to strive for self-discipline, regardless of age. In the martial arts, punctuality is considered a discipline.

Punctuality in the martial arts is also a sign of respect. Punctual students show their respect for the dojo, for Sensei, for their classmates, and for their own individual training.

The martial arts always begin and end with courtesy and respect. Parents can assist their children by making sure they arrive on time for class. Being on time means being changed and on the mats before the actual time the class starts. This is very important, as it shows respect for your child's training, as well as for his or her classmates, the dojo and the instructor.

Viewing the Class

Parents and spectators are asked to respect the same rules as students when viewing classes. Please watch your child's class with the same quietness and respect as you would the symphony or the theatre. While we encourage all parents to watch their children's classes, children do find it disruptive if spectators are loud or otherwise distracting.

Staying Current

We recommend that you come into the dojo from time to time when you are dropping your child off for class or picking him or her up, so that you can read the notices on the board. We send home notices of important events but often they get lost somewhere between the dojo and home. We hold many dojo events, and it is important that children not feel like they have missed out on something, so we ask parents to personally check our notice boards at least once a month. We also post notices of all dojo-related events in our Dojo Blog, our Dojo Web site and on our Facebook page. , at

Practicing at Home

As an additional benefit to staying to watch some of your child's classes, you will become familiar with the techniques that your child needs to master in order to progress to the next level. Your observation, as well as the descriptions in the techniques section of the students' manual, will help you assist your child if he or she wants to practice any of the techniques at home.

Family Training

For parents who are considering participating in a physical activity to get fit, stay fit or just have fun, we encourage you to sign up for classes with your child. Training with your child is an excellent way to become involved in your child's activities. You will also become more comfortable with the techniques your child is learning, as you will be learning them yourself, and you will be able to practice together at home.

In addition to helping your child's training and supporting his or her growth in the martial arts, you will have the added benefit of learning a new set of skills yourself and getting into, or staying in, shape.

More tips for parents are available in the students' manual.(See the appropriate martial arts page)

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