Most martial arts teachers have a hard and fast rule about not allowing children to train with weapons. They have plenty of reasons why they adhere to this policy. Is it possible that all of these teachers are making a big mistake?
Martial-arts teachers will throw out every excuse for withholding this type of martial practice from the juvenile and young adult classes. Excuses range from danger, insurance liability, to lack of seriousness in training with dangerous objects.
While all of the above reasons are valid, I am willing to take that risk. Follow along, and see which side of the fence you fall on, avoiding weapons training with minors or guided training with weapons:
I know that weapon training is great for hand-eye coordination. Just about nothing better, if done right. As a language teacher, I know the benefits of presenting a second language to children at an early age. They gain the fluency of a native. The same can be said of weapons training. If they start early, they develop a smoothness in their handling that makes it seem natural.
Talk about developing skill!
Children Handling Weapons in Training
This is also a wonderful opportunity to teach children to handle weapons with care, and not to joke around with them ... even, and especially, practice weapons.
Note: Starting students with practice weapons is a very safe idea. Make sure they treat practice weapons with respect, before you move on to real weapons. Also, check for a minimum level of proficiency.
Also, being able to spin a weapon around your body and defend yourself with it builds confidence. Children and young adults need to develop a healthy sense of self.
Finally, training with a weapon can be a rite of passage. Your younger students have to study for a minimum length of time, reach a certain skill level with their empty-hand techniques, and exhibit a mature attitude, control of emotion, and an ethical standard to the teachers before gaining access to weapons.
If you are going to work with weapons in your classes of younger students, you have to take some precautions: