Eric Daniel wrote:
I have two cousins who have seen me do martial arts for a long time and now they want to start. My aunt does not want them to start because she is worried that they would hurt each other by doing the techniques they learn in the dojo at home. What can I do about this situation? I would appreciate all the advice I can get!
Purple belt in Karate, Green belt in modern arnis
I would suggest that a good first step would be to talk to your teacher about this, and ask him/her the same question.
We have several young kids at our school and have found that their mental age in terms of being able to focus and pay attention is key, as well as their physical development and coordination. Some 5 or 6 year olds have no problem, but some need to grow up a little bit more before they start. We usually give them a free and fun private evaluation lesson with the parent(s) there to see what we do and then make a recommendation on appropriate training or that the student may not be quite ready yet. This way everyone knows what their getting into, and hopefully the parent(s) feel comfortable and excited about starting their child's training. Also, we encourage them to just drop by anytime and observe a kids class and this usually makes them feel much better after they see how much fun the kids are having while learning something useful and appropriate to their age level.
I suggest that you first try to find a good place for them to start by doing a little research--maybe your current school will work just fine. It should probably be a school that already has a successful kids program. Talk to them in advance and tell them about your situation with your cousins and your aunt. Mention her concerns about your cousins hurting each other. The school should then give a good explanation that the training they provide starts with safety, and will be appropriate for their age level, etc. and that they would be happy to talk to your aunt about everything.
If they seem interested and you like them, see if they are willing to set up a private evaluation appointment with your aunt attending. Next, you can tell your aunt about everything and try to convince her to talk to the school, and then hopefully to agree to the private evaluation appointment.
Something like the above might work, but usually it is the parent or guardian that gets the kids involved and so the interest usually starts there. You'll just have to try to convince your aunt that it really is fun, safe, and useful, and that your cousins will be taught not to do inappropriate things that could hurt themselves at home.
Good Luck !