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Martial Arts for Kids?

Does anyone have any experience or recommendations for martial arts studios?  Sarah asks:

I'm starting to look into a martial arts program for my 4-year-old son, likely starting classes in the fall.  I'd like him in a class just once a week, an hour or so per class, reasonably priced.  Tae kwon do, karate, kung fo, etc., I don't really have a preference for the type of arts.  I'd like to stay in the inner NE/SE area.  I've heard of US Westcoast Tae Kwon Do on NE Broadway, but I don't know anyone who's had kids in classes there, so I'd like to hear from parents who have, and I'm curious if there are other programs that people have had positive experiences with?

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The Tulen Center in St. Johns is wonderful:
http://www.tulencenter.com/

With martial arts schools there is such a huge variety that you absolutely have to visit and watch before you sign up for anything. Some places have a militaristic vibe, others lots of complicated rules and contracts and expenses for uniforms and tests, others feel just right. You definitely should follow your gut.

I've been going to the Mt. Tabor School of Martial Arts ( http://tabormartialarts.com/ ) on 60th & Belmont in SE as an adult for years and really like it. It's a good combination of mellow attitude and pretty serious training.

The pee wee kids class used to be right before one of my classes, and I always enjoyed arriving early and watching the way the teachers adapted some of the more adult principles into fun games for kids. Adults might delve into the mysteries of tai chi to make their kung fu more yielding and supple; for pee wee kids that might mean a game as simple as furious punching and kicking practice for 1 minute, followed by 1 minute of silent, still observation. I watched this one day and was amazed to see that most of the kids could actually do the second part! I'm no black belt, but that seemed like success to me. :)

Portland Aikikai has a great kids program.
www.portlandaikikai.com

My husband is one of a handful of teachers that run the Judo classes at the Sellwood Community Center. There is a kids class on Thursdays from 4-5 p.m. and they take them as soon as they are potty trained. It's a wonderful class, very affordable, and the kids have a ball "throwing" the adults around on a very well padded floor (they actually have professional Judo mats).

There is no pressure to compete though many kids do enjoy the tournaments that occur throughout the Pacific Northwest. Many kids (and adults too) play Judo just for fun.

Please feel free to email me if you would like further information: katzmoye 'at' gmail 'dot' com.

The Academy of Kung Fu on SE 21st & Powell is wonderful. My husband and a friend of ours have been training there for years and I've had many opportunities to watch the little ones in class. The man who runs the place is father to a preschooler, as well. www.academyofkungfu.org

One With Heart in SE on Hawthorne has an after school pickup program, summer camps, etc. as well as lots of kid oriented classes from ages 3 and up.

http://www.onewithheart.com/kids/index.htm

"Kung Fu Outreach" runs a weekly 4's and 5's class out of The Academy of Kung Fu which is ABSOLUTELY age-appropriate (the husband-wife who run it are are early-elementary school teachers)! and features small class-size. While there's a cap, openings are filled as students graduate to elder classes.

www.kungfuoutreach.org
info@kungfuoutreach.org

Kung Fu Outreach grew and opened their own school in SW Portland (Hillsdale Town Center) in November 2009 with the Westside Academy of Kung Fu. 4's and 5's classes are offered both Mondays and Wednesdays from 4:15-4:45. No contracts, family discounts, free week of classes required (to ensure for good fit), relaxed about uniforms: STILL husband and wife owned...state licensed elementary school teacher. STILL limited class size.

I would check out SBG they are in NE Portland Oregon in the 97213 area. They have well trained staff and run a professional program.

I'm not one hundred percent sure if their kids martial arts program will work for you though. Most of the parents there bring in their children at least twice a week.

From my personal experience my suggestion would be take a hard look at what you want your child to gain from a martial arts program in Portland. Then think to your self, can my child get that in only one hour a week?

I cant seem to edit my post and I was confused when I first posted.

Here is the url for the kids martial arts classes that SBG offers in Portland Oregon.

http://sbgi-pdx.com/sbg-kids-and-jrs.html

Our son started at Bridgetown Aikido this past year, and we have been so happy with the 1-2 kids classes a week, and the family class offered on Saturdays. Very good, flexible teacher who has kids of his own and is great at meeting the students where they are, as well as teaching them to be respectful of themselves and others (especially parents!) Located on SE 28th, near Kerns/Laurelhurst.
http://www.bridgetownaikido.com/

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