Truth be told, our family didn’t just start doing yoga together one day. I did “mom and baby yoga” videos with the kids but as they got older they really wanted to participate with friends in elementary school age activities. I love to be active with them and when Oren started to ask about taking Taekwondo classes, I signed us up for the “family class.” It was amazing how many parents and their children were training together! My son advanced more quickly than I did so he ended up coaching me when it was time for me to take my “belt tests.” During one of our assessments I watched him do his form and receive his belt then he sat down and watched me do my form and receive my new belt. We cheered each other on. We “got moving” together. We inspired each other.
In some ways, martial arts was our bridge to our yoga practice. We learned commitment, repetition, strength, restraint, and a sense of accomplishment. I also discovered that there are scores of American families that bond through doing martial arts together. There are online forums, personal journeys, addiction recovery stories, and gender neutral opportunities for families who connect in this way. If you have ever watched a child (or an adult) do their form, which has been practiced with precision, then you understand how graceful and mindful these athletic art forms can be.
But I will NEVER recommend something that I do not feel is appropriate for my readers. On that note – I cannot recommend MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) fighting as an appropriate art form. There are many reputable ways to engage with new forms of martial arts, but largely this particular form is not safe and appropriate for children or parents (or anyone). I have talked to many trusted martial arts professionals – educators who I respect – and the consensus is that MMA is too aggressive, too violent, and not well regulated.
Personally, I recommend Taekwondo, Karate, and Tai Chi. Before getting involved in a new form of martial arts make sure it is a good fit for you and your child. There are many variations between businesses so sample a few until you find the right fit. You don’t need to write off an entire martial art because of one bad experience with a particular gym. Here is a post from another blog about the connection between yoga and martial arts (not getting paid for that one, folks, just really like it and want to share!).