One Point Center Aikido Dojo
Master S.H. Yu Martial Arts
Illinois Shotokan Karate Clubs
Martial arts can instill good habits that will last
a lifetime: concentration, self-responsibility, self-discipline and
respect. But with different martial arts-Judo, aikido, tae kwon do,
karate, mixed martial arts-and approaches to teaching, how to
choose the correct art for your child? The best way, watch classes
at different schools and investigate.
For instance, aikido is a very traditional Japanese
martial art. "We teach students how to neutralize an attack, how to
protect oneself without hurting the other person. Instead of
kicking and punching, aikido stresses joint locks and throws," says
Dianne Costanzo, sensei (teacher) at One Point Center Aikido Dojo
in Oak Park.
"Because of its nature, aikido teaches students actually
to get out of the way of an attack and not to engage more than
necessary. In many ways, aikido is a very subtle art," Costanzo
says. "Also because we are cooperative rather than competitive, we
do not give out trophies. We feel that becoming the best person
possible is the prize."
Another direction is to choose a martial arts school that
combines several styles. "We teach an integrated discipline of a
variety of martial arts known as Mu Yae Do, or Total Martial Arts,"
says Master E. Wilson, the early childhood and beginning student
instructor of Master S.H. Yu Martial Arts. "Grand Master Yu, our
founder, teaches students to build a healthy foundation of basics:
stances, flexibility, blocks and kicks. Once the foundation is
built, the mind and muscles are more receptive to more advanced
If your child is competitive and wants to challenge
him/herself against others, a good option can be trying karate
through the Illinois Shotokan Karate Clubs, which hold classes
through park districts and other venues throughout the state, as
well as sponsoring competitions both local and
Most schools will allow you and your child to watch
classes or even to take a free class before committing or buying
any expensive equipment or uniforms. Some schools start children as
young as 4 or 5, with very basic exercises, while others wait until
age 6 or 7 to be sure children can focus enough to absorb the
specifics of the art.
See more of Bronwyn's stories here.
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