Martial Arts can be an incredible force in the life of a young person. It can provide focus, structure, culture, problem solving capabilities and solid strategies to deal with bullying and other various challenges that life will throw at them. But it's not for everyone, and for some kids it's important to consider the type of training they may need before throwing them into a martial arts programme.
Each martial art and each instructor have their own way of testing, grading and preparing their students for whatever it is they train for, be it fitness, competition, self defence, etc.
Students and/or parents of students often do not know what to expect when starting at a new school and so may not always ask questions when they see things that do not seem right. In my previous article, Martial Arts Fairytales, I highlighted this fact – people are often drawn to the mysticism of martial arts and accept things for granted, even things that defy all logic, like masters who can knock people out with a word, or accepting given techniques as ‘realistic’ simply because someone told them to.