Have you ever wondered what to do with your kids’ boundless (and often reckless) energy?
My two boys had recently become obsessed with WWE wrestling (they watch clips on YouTube) and they were constantly leaping from the sofa and head-locking each other to the ground. So when I was invited to bring them for a one hour children’s kickboxing class at The Martial Arts Place in Swiss Cottage, it was an instant yes from me.
I figured a disciplined kickboxing session had to be better than Ezra and Jed giving each other ‘ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENTS!’ a la John Cena vs The Undertaker!
As we walked into the basement Dojo, the boys were wide-eyed at the sight of grown-ups kicking each other. I had to reassure them that they were having a private class.
‘I’m a bit scared, Mummy!’ whispered my 7-year-old but both boys lit up when TMP co-founder Sensei Russell gave them each a t-shirt and a pair of kickboxing gloves.
Their instructor Sensei Marco was tall, built and with the relaxed yet commanding presence that makes kids pay attention. They quickly learned to say ‘osu’ (Japanese for ‘yes/respect’, confusingly pronounced ‘oos’) every time he gave an instruction.
Sensei Marco got cracking with the warm-up session which was quite intense, involving frog jumps, push-ups, crawl-along races, sprinting around the Dojo and more. It was all I could do to resist belting out ‘Eye of the Tiger’ as Marco whipped my little cubs into shape.
Next, Marco taught them how to strike, dodge and block. He used props to make them jump and bend to avoid being hit. Then he took them over to the massive punching bags to learn a mix of punching and kicking moves. They played games where he timed their strikes, or whether they could run and kick with enough force to knock an exercise ball off the punching bag.
The babes were on a pure adrenaline high.
Before class was over, Sensei Marco taught them basic self-defence techniques e.g. how to get away from someone if they’re holding you by the wrist or the shirt. He reminded the boys not to use any of the skills they’d learned outside the dojo, and that the self-defence moves were only if no adult was about to help them.
Junior Kickboxing Classes
The Martial Arts Class is about 2 minutes from Swiss Cottage Station (right outside the leisure centre) and they offer training for kids and adults throughout the year.
Children’s kickboxing classes start from age 3 upwards and their syllabus includes first aid, stranger awareness and road safety.
They also do annual holiday activities including a Halloween party where kids train in superhero costumes!
I do plan to sign the boys up for more martial arts training as I like how it focuses their natural aggression, builds their confidence and teaches some self-control. Plus, they loved it.
‘Can we come again, Mum? I really really want to come back!’ said Ezra.
The Martial Arts Place is at 88 Avenue Rd, Swiss Cottage, NW3 3HA (Swiss Cottage tube). Visit www.themartialartsplace.com
Tel: 0207 586 1222 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to book a free trial lesson!