Note: I started training my 8-year-old girl at home this year as a physical activity to keep her fit. She’s enjoying it immensely, learning the techniques and we train 45 minutes about 3 times a week. I figured I would write something about it for you parents out there who are thinking about signing up their kids for Muay Thai classes.
A new age of martial artists is emerging. With martial arts events like UFC, ONE Championship, and Glory gaining popularity all over the world, more and more parents are signing their kids up for martial arts training.
Back in the 80s and 90s, taekwondo and karate were the most popular recreational options for young children. That has begun to change as the general public gets informed and educated on martial arts like Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu that are often more effective skills in real life or the ring.
What was once a way out of poverty for many rural Thai children, Muay Thai has evolved to become a recreation sport for all social strata. A new generation of Muay Thai mums and dads now accompany their kids for weekend or after-school sessions of smashing and wrecking in the gym. A new generation of Muay Thai kids.
Benefits of Muay Thai for Young Children
As a parent myself, I know that we all hope for nothing less than the best for our children. Personally, I feel that nothing is more important than instilling in them the right traits and values. And Muay Thai is one of the best sports for this purpose.
One of the biggest parenting challenges today is rising screen addiction. Due to my work as a content creator, copywriting and digital marketing, I actually spend a bulk of my time staring at screens.
Technology is great but studies have shown that many potential problems can be attributed to the smart device. If you are a parent, you know deep down that it’s true.
If you train Muay Thai, this is a great way to bond with your kids. If you don’t, here’s looking at some benefits of training Muay Thai and how it helps to neutralize the effects of screen addiction.
Smartphones may have indirectly created an unfit, sedentary generation. One of the ways to combat the potential health risks of being physical inactivity, is regular participation in sports training.
Few things get the job done as well as the intense workout of Muay Thai. Just 2–3 sessions a week is all it takes. It’s an interesting sport and many kids actually end up falling in love with it.
As kids continue to train hard regularly in Muay Thai, they will get better at it, and so will their confidence grow. Not only because they are getting stronger or better at the sport but also because they know that they can achieve anything as long as they set your mind to it.
One of the most-cited side effects of screen addiction is the lack of focus. This can translate to the inability to focus on their studies or the work on hand. Or even focusing on another person during conversations.
Training Muay Thai helps sharpen concentration as it can be fast-paced (e.g. during padwork). and it may lead to bad forms or improper techniques. This forces kids to be focused during training which will translate into their daily lives.
Bullying has always been an issue in the schools and it appears to be on the rise in some countries. Equipping our children with self-defense skills will help them cope with unwarranted behaviors from bullies.
Self-defense is an useful skill that can be carried throughout a person’s life. Walking away from a potentially physical confrontation is the best strategy but when push come to shove and there is no walking away, having the right skills to defend oneself can be a lifesaver.
Muay Thai training for children is a wonder social sport, giving them the opportunity to train and socialize with other kids. While progress is made as an individual, having peers to train with help to motivate each other. Children who train together, stay together as friends.
Unlike the antagonistic portrayal of mixed martial arts entertainment in UFC, true martial arts teaches humility, respect and discipline. Muay Thai has a deeply-seated tradition with emphasis on these values, the kind that we hope to see in our kids.
Being respectful to others, being humble, and having self-disciplined are the values that I hope to see my kid possess.
Grit is the key to success. Anything in life can be achieved on pure grit – that indomitable spirit to push on where the going gets tough. It is the power to persevere through and grit will always triumph over talent. Muay Thai training develops grit due to being a and the motivation from a coach.
Muay Thai Classes for Kids
If you have decided on signing up your kids for Muay Thai classes, the next step is to find a qualified coach and Muay Thai gym. Depending on what you are, there may be a lot of options or there may be just a few.
What should you look out for when choosing a gym for your kids? How should you go about searching for a good one?
The best and quickest way is to ask for recommendations from your friends or family members. They will give honest, trustworthy reviews and opinions if they have kids that are going for Muay Thai classes. Try asking for recommendation on Facebook.
A quick search on Google should present you with a list of Muay Thai gyms in your area. Try the search phrases “Muay Thai gym near me” or “Muay Thai for kids”. If it is a reputable business, it should have a Google business account so you will be able to look at reviews if there are any.
Reviews are often left by members of the gym so take them with a pinch of salt. MMA gyms also often offer Muay Thai classes so look out for those as well.
Once you have shortlisted some gyms, head over to their website to check if they have classes for kids. I also suggest checking their social media accounts to get a feel of the class sizes and popularity. Any decent gym these days will have social media.
Once you have done your research, it’s time to bring your child to the gym for a trial class. Almost all decent gyms will offer free or paid trial class. Call ahead and make an appointment with the gym. Most gyms will have free boxing gloves on loan so just show up in exercise attire.
Getting acquainted with the sport and building a solid foundation is the most important thing. It is thus best to look for a gym that is designed for this purpose and a patient coach with experience teaching young children.
Take a tour of the gym to get a feel for the cleanliness and the maintenance. Some gyms are very run down and poorly maintained. This is unsafe for your kids as old training equipment , they may also cause skin infections easily.
Muay Thai class fees will differ from gym to gym and city to city. There is no standard fee so you may want to check around a few gyms before making your decision. Sometimes, it is worth shelling out a bit more for a gym that ticks all the boxes on the checklist.
Do what’s best for your kid. Sign them up and get them some gear. Or you can also start training them at home if you also train Muay Thai. There is nothing more important than instilling in them the right values and attitude, as well as the health and physical fitness while having fun at the same time.
I sincerely believe martial arts is one of the best ways to build a strong child in so many ways. Try it out and see how it can be a transformational experience for your children.