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Martial Arts/punishment for white belts / young children

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Question
Hello, my son attends a daily after school program at a local karate school. He occasionally has problems posing attention in class and is disciplined - usually a set number of calisthenic moves.
This week though, he's been put on the heavy bag and made to punch. He wore no gloves, tape, etc. Yesterday he split a knuckle and his hand is raw today.

Is this typical punishment for not paying attention in class - for a white belt, six year old kid?  Seems extreme & unsafe to me, as he is not very skilled.

Answer
Usually, punishment is not something a martial arts instructor should be doing. It's not a good motivator for children, and there are so many more fun ways to get kids paying attention and learning...

It's not for me to judge what's safe or extreme - I wasn't there - but no instructor should be having a child perform an exercise or practice without monitoring it to ensure they aren't doing it incorrectly or injuring themselves. Whether it's punishment or practice, there's no reason your child should have been allowed to punch the bag without proper instruction in safe technique.

As the parent, it's your job to keep an eye on things (which you seem to be doing) and bring up any concerns with the instructor. Let him know that you're not happy.  

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Andy Fossett

Expertise

I can answer most questions relating to the martial arts in general. My special interests relate not only to martial theory, but to training methodology, teaching, sports science, and personal growth through martial arts training. If you are thinking about beginning a martial arts practice or have questions about how to optimize you current training to meet you goals, just let me know.

Experience

I have been involved with martial arts for most of my life. Since 1984, I have practiced and taught a martial art called Taido in America and Japan, and have participated in events all over the world. I began assistant teaching as a teenager and founded the Georgia Tech Taido Club in 1996. I have been training actively in Japan since 2003. In addition to Taido, I have previously studied Judo, Brazilian Jiu Jutsu, Shotokan Karate, Kaikudo, and a few other things.

Organizations
GMB Fitness, Japan Taido Association

Publications
Taido/Blog, the Finnish Taido Association's "Kamae" magazine, World Taido Federation Homepage and "Taido Times" magazine, GMB Fitness.

Education/Credentials
BA Sociology

Awards and Honors
5dan Renshi (5th degree black belt instructor) in Taido.

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