Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Parent to Parent: Martial Arts
Keeping your kids in shape is more important than ever these days. There's a sport that not only helps get kids in shape but also teaches them self-control, self-discipline and to respect authority. We take a closer look at martial arts training in today's Parent to Parent.
WSVN -- Kids of all ages are learning the right moves at Miami Budokai Martial Arts and Fitness Center. Master instructor Luis Fernandez, a former City of Miami Police Officer, says it's really important to get kids involved in something positive.
Luis Fernandez: "In martial arts, you're really not competing against others, you're really competing against yourself to be the best that you can become."
And becoming the best in this program takes time, commitment and a lot of hard work. Fernandez says you don't go from a white belt to a black belt right away.
Luis Fernandez: "There's a lot of discipline. There's a lot of structure involved, our syllabus is very, very strict."
Kids come in two to three times a week for self-defense training. Programs are tailor-made for each child according to their specific skill level, and report cards are checked to make sure grades are being kept up, or they won't be allowed to progress to the next level.
Luis Fernandez: "So that's a tool that we use to keep the kids on track."
Twelve-year-old Marilyn and her 8-year-old brother David have been taking martial arts classes for the past three years. Both say they feel stronger and can now protect themselves.
Marilyn Caserta: "It teaches me self-defense that I think I'd really need today and discipline to respect adults around me, and it's just really fun to do."
David Caserta: "I'm losing a lot of weight, and I can protect my mom and my dad and my sister a lot."
Their dad, who is a brown belt, says self-defense classes have helped to boost their self-confidence and get them in shape.
David Caserta: "Even if they have a little opportunity to get themselves out of a situation, that's good enough for me. It could save a life."
Fernandez teaches the kids how to restrain a person, not hurt them, so they can diffuse a situation before it gets out of control.
Luis Fernandez: "When a bully realizes that the victim is willing to fight back, they stop bullying the kid."
Lynn Martinez: "Fernandez even offers pre-school classes for kids as young as 3, and, a half. Classes start at $79 a month."
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