Tony Esposito

Editorial Director
Grace A. Luppino

Art & Production Director
David Griffith

Technical Advisor.
Anup Keswani

Illustration & Photography
Tom Brenner
Jim Herity
Julie Nightingale

Posted: Autumn 2001

Back to School Means Back to the Dojo for Many Kids

Whether it’s a return to class after family vacation or little league season or the beginning of an exciting, new after-school activity, martial arts lessons are great for kids. Here’s why:

Physical Fitness and Development

Martial arts training increases children’s physical fitness levels by developing strength, speed, endurance, balance, coordination, timing, and improved athletic performance in other sports. A good instructor welcomes a child into class regardless of his or her fitness level. Children who are underweight, overweight, out of shape, or uncoordinated are encouraged to due the best they can and in the process make amazing physical as well as mental transformations.

Due to the widespread popularity of television, computers and video games, many of our children lead sedentary lifestyles. In addition, latchkey kids may have to resort to indoor activities due to the lack of adult supervision during what is normally considered outdoor playtime hours. Many schools, facing budgetary cuts or pressures to focus on academic pursuits, have eliminated or reduced recess and gym classes. Unless their children are active in organized sports, it is often up to the parents to coordinate some type of physical activity for their children’s well being.

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Martial art training is a great activity that both parents and children can enjoy together. Here at Calasanz, many parents who bring their kids to the children’s class also take classes themselves. We have made it easy by scheduling adult classes at the same time as the kids’ class. Teens and pre-teens may train right along side their parents in adult classes. Parents who make exercise a part of their lives are sending a powerful message to their children regarding the importance of integrating physical fitness into their daily routine. Calasanz offers a family plan, as do many martial arts schools, to encourage families to participate together at a reasonable rate.

Improved Self Esteem

Martial arts training helps children build self-esteem. A child’s success or failure in martial arts class is directly related to the amount of effort that he or she puts into it. The child is not dependant upon teammates, but must rely on his or her own resources. A good martial arts school gives children many opportunities to succeed, be it in class, during a belt rank exam or organized competitions. The discipline of a martial arts class teaches children how to focus their attention on specific techniques or combinations. Children are required to set and achieve goals if they want to move onto the next level. Mastery of certain skills is necessary before advancing to a new belt rank. A skilled instructor knows how to help children identify and reach their goals and in turn improve their own self-image. It is not surprising to hear many parents tell us that their children’s behavior has improved both at home and in school. Grades also may be positively affected by a good martial arts training program.

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Self Defense and Self Preservation

Believe it or not, martial arts makes children less aggressive. Martial artists prescribe to a code of ethics that discourages aggression and encourages the perfection of character. A good school encourages children to use other forms of conflict resolution as opposed to solving problems with their fists. Children are taught that fighting is only used as a last resort and that being an aggressor is strictly contrary to the ethical code of a martial artist. Beware of schools that put too much emphasis on fighting, tournaments and dispense with the traditional discipline of the martial arts. It is that very tradition that teaches children to carry themselves with respect, dignity and honor.

Martial arts instruction also teaches children about self-preservation. There are times when one must fight to protect himself or a loved one. Martial arts training helps children value their own self worth and know that there are times when self-defense is the only viable response.

Lifelong Participation

While participation in team sports generally ends for most of us after high school, martial arts may be practiced for a lifetime. Children who are introduced to the martial arts at a young age and stick with it, have the potential for lifetime involvement. How many 80 year olds do you see playing softball or basketball? A martial artist is never too old to train. There are so many martial art styles that are appropriate for mature students. Just take a look at many of the masters who are still practicing and teaching martial arts well into their 80’s.

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The Calasanz children’s program is based on the same philosophy that has made his adult program so successful. It is an overall system of physical conditioning that combines strength, flexibility and endurance exercises. Calasanz believes that giving children a proper physical foundation increases their self-esteem by making it easier for them to execute martial art techniques. This sets kids up for success by carefully building a strong foundation at the beginning of their martial art training. The Calasanz children’s program is unique in that it promotes a well-balanced range of strength, endurance and flexibility training. Proper technique is also stressed in this non-competitive environment. Adequate warm-up and cool down time is observed during class and children are given adequate time to rest between exercises. Classes are conducted in a manner that encourages children to respect themselves, each other and the instructor.

If you’re wondering if your child is old enough to take martial arts classes, the most important thing to ask yourself is if they able to follow directions and pay attention in class. If the answer is yes, then they are ready. Teens and pre-teens are integrated into the adult classes.

About The Calasanz Children’s Program

Sport Kids is Calasanz personal training program designed for children. Sport Kids is an intensive, total body-conditioning program developed by Calasanz and specifically designed to improve children’s athletic performance in their chosen sport. Sport Kids is a refined system of five martial arts disciplines boiled down to their most efficient training techniques. Sport Kids is designed to improve physical fitness and athletic performance in a short period of time. Calasanz personally tailors an individualized program, designed with the child’s specific sport in mind.

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Calasanz has trained members of the Hartford Whalers professional ice hockey team, college and high school athletes, professional tennis players and numerous professional and amateur boxers and kickboxers. Calasanz has also enjoyed great success in training members of youth ice hockey teams all over Fairfield County.

For more information about our kids programs, call us at (203) 847-6528. Here is our class schedule:

Children’s Class Schedule
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday 4:00PM to 5:00PM
Saturday 10:00AM to 11:00AM

Sport Kids
By Appointment

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