Frequently Asked Questions

Kids & Martial Arts

Q: How will studying martial arts at Calvin Chin's Martial Arts Academy benefit a child?

We offer a comprehensive program for youths that goes beyond the typical punches, kicks and drills. We teach forms, numerous hand and weapon sets, some with over a hundred postures. It becomes natural for our students to remember the last form they learn, the first form, as well as all those in-between. Over time, they develop an acute ability to memorize and retain sequence.

Traditional martial arts such as kung fu offer a well-balanced training regimen and provide an opportunity for children to develop their coordination, spatial awareness, endurance and focus. Studying a traditional martial art with a lineage of teachers who devoted time and effort in passing the art to future generations instills respect and appreciation; a reverence for antiquity in a techno-driven youth culture. Interacting with other students and providing support for one another teaches children valuable social skills.  Sequential learning at the academy - learning bit-by-bit to build knowledge is a valuable tool that enhances memory and critical thinking, and which carries through in other areas of learning. Youths typically seek immediate gratification, yet learningtraditional martial arts forces youths to seek longer term goals. Furthermore, youths learn that refinement produces better results, and it motivates them to improve through practice. Martial arts, at this stage, becomes a self-discipline.  

Today, there are issues of bullying and violence among young people. Martial arts training develops very strong self-awareness and control, and this enables youths to retreat from confrontation. Mastering difficult techniques enhances confidence and self-esteem, traits that most bullies and victims generally lack. It is rare for martial artists to engage in confrontations, but when necessary, they will be able to protect themselves in a controlled manner, causing the least physical harm. Our emphasis on using natural strength in our training affords more equal opportunity for both boys and girls to achieve and benefit from the discipline. The Fu Hok Tai He Morn method is also safer for youths whose bones and ligaments are still growing, creating less opportunity for serious injuries that may follow them into their adulthood. 

Q: Which style is best for children?

The style of kung fu taught at the Academy, Hung Gar Fu Hok (Tiger Crane), is a circular system utilizing more soft execution than most styles of martial arts. This soft execution is natural strength which takes advantage of the body's skeletal structure and positioning allowing integrated movement that enables a student to develop live strength versus isolated movement that produces brute strength. Hung Gar uses deep stances or postures, and emphasizes use of the hands for striking and blocking. The school aims for a balance of fitness, self-cultivation and performance aspects of kung fu. Self-defense is an integral part of this system, but is not its primary emphasis. No style is best for all children. However, because of the emphasis on "natural strength" in our teaching, small size or lack of great strength will not be a disadvantage. Technique is practiced first, and power develops naturally over time. In addition, classes at the Academy are non-competitive and non-sexist and provide a safe, relaxed environment where all children can learn at their own natural rate.

Q: Can parents take lessons with their children?

Nothing bonds us more than common interests. Taking lessons together or separately at the Academy offer families the opportunity to stay connected. This has been a frequent request from parents. Whether it is due to scheduling, bonding and or motivational needs, it seems to work well for some families. Generally, students learn best when they train with their own peer group, but parent/child lessons may be the only option for some. We have found that the adult classes are the best suited to meet the needs of both.

Q: What part does fighting play in this training?

Contrary to the image of kung fu adepts in popular movies, most people don't study kung fu to fight. Sparring with a partner is only one part of the training, and serves to test a student's focus, concentration and understanding, while providing a counter-point to the predictability of pre-arranged drills and exercises. The ability to defend one's self can be a valuable skill, but it is only one aspect of martial arts training. Although it may occasionally be necessary to defend one's self physically when absolutely no other option is available, irresponsible use of fighting ability is not tolerated, in or out of the Academy.

The culture of our school is one of mutual respect. This respect is one of the foundations of martial arts. Participation in martial arts training can be helpful in encouraging children to channel their physical and emotional energy in constructive ways. In addition, as a student becomes more competent, he or she also learns self-restraint, calmness and humility. Increased self-respect, as well as respect for others, make children more able to resolve conflicts without fighting.

Q: Can children get hurt practicing kung fu?

Although any athletic activity carries a risk of injury, our training program places great emphasis on safety and health. We make use of relaxed, "natural strength", rather than forceful application of power. This approach minimizes the likelihood of dislocation, sprains or tendonitis, and is actually safer than many commonly practiced sports. Sparring (free fighting) is done in protective gear and is refereed by instructors. This specialty class is optional and is not practiced until students have had ample time to master techniques individually.

Q: What if a child doesn't want to learn weapons?

Weapons are tools to enhance training in a dynamic and esthetic manner. They require stamina, coordination and a solid understanding of mechanics of kung fu techniques. The martial artist uses a weapon as an extension of his/her body in much the same manner as a gymnast uses a ball or a ribbon. Mastering the use of swords, spears, staves and other weapons is challenging and fun.

Use of weapons is strictly optional, however. To study weapon techniques, children must be at least 10 years of age, and/or have at least 2 years of training at the Academy. In addition, a student must have attained a minimum rank of yellow belt, our intermediate level. In all cases, weapons study is at the discretion of the instructor.