winter garden Martial Arts

What is Sparring?
Parents asked me this question all the time.
I like to answer this question in this way.  

Most parents look for discipline, focus, confidence, and respectful children with strong self-control.    They do not bring their children to Perry's Taekwondo Academy to make them more violent or to become bullies with martial arts training. 
I like to think we teach sparring in an understandable setting for their age.    Our young students will fail if we teach only the physical part of sparring, not the character side.    Without the character side, they may become more violent or what I refer to as "bullies without morals."
First, we do not allow our students to spar Full-Contact at the beginning of their training.   We strive to set them up for success by teaching sparring combinations that will enable them to grasp what sparring is about, so when they get to the Green belt level, which can take at least eight months, we can start to introduce light contact and control.   Teaching these primary skills, in the beginning, will benefit the child without irresponsibly putting them in danger. 

What are the benefits of sparring for children?    Are there benefits?
Yes, I like to think there are many benefits to sparring!  Here are five points we strive to teach. 

#1 "Sparring helps children deal with contact."
Most beginners that start sparring must overcome the feeling of getting hurt and being touched, which will be overcomed with time.    Our instructors are there to help coach them through light contact.    The students will get acclimated to the contact, allowing them to deal with someone attacking them in a self-defense situation.   

#2 "Sparring increases timing and teaches children how to use their skills against an opponent."
Free-sparring's aggressive, unpredictable nature allows children to involuntarily access and use their taekwondo training to create responses to an actual attack outside of class. 

#3 "Sparring teaches children good sportsmanship."
At Perry's Taekwondo Academy, we teach our children that they are not sparring against each other but rather using each other's skills to strengthen their skills.   We teach them to bow and congratulate each other regardless of the outcome of the match.   We want to enforce our sparring culture with respect and humility. 

#4 "Sparring teaches children how to deal with stress."
Free-sparring teaches children to deal with stress of any kind.    Children will collapse under pressure if they are unprepared and inexperienced.  While sparring, they learn to breathe and move to carry on and prevail.  It also allows them to relax and think of the next course of action while sparring with another child. 

#5 "Sparring teaches self-control." 
Parents, this is a significant factor when deciding on a martial arts class for your child. 
Before sparring, children learn how to control their strikes and kicks with reinforced values of why we strike.  So by learning how to touch or not touch our partners when we practice their self-defense skills in class. 
The critical skill children should learn while free sparring is to discipline their aggression.  Aggression is natural, but if it is fostered and unchecked, it can be destructive.  Our students follow strict rules and learn to "stop" or "break" when instructed during a sparring match. 
They are learning to be aggressive and assertive and then able to turn it off.    This level of self-awareness and self-regulation can't be learned anywhere else. 

In conclusion, sparring fortifies students in life by giving them tools to overcome challenges both physically and mentally. 

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