As I come to the conclusion that organized sports are insane, I'm researching different martial arts for the bambino to participate in for some fun, some healthy activity, and some basics of self defense. There is so much mumbo jumbo with organized group sports nowadays that I loathe the idea of my boy playing team sports. My father is coaching baseball for what feels like the 40th year (close), and he says the ability is great but kids don't practice as much to refine their skills and there are more injuries from overuse. He talks about neverending seasons and people offering to pay him $100 for a 2 hour hitting 1 on 1 tutorial. Sounds like baby boomer late parents have found another child activity to kill. It's just as bad with other sports, but I'm willing to let the little guy try whatever he wants. Despite all of that, I'd like him to do a martial art just to see if he'll like it. It's just him, however hard he wants to push it.
Back in the '80s, my mom signed me up for a introductory boxing class at the organization that I believe became the Portland Boxing Club. In the 1980s with the Karate Kid and Rocky 3 and 4 movies, kids either wanted to box or do karate. Most of the kids in my neighborhood did karate at Villari's and some of us did boxing. After 3 months of beating each other up in the neighborhood (Kid Fight Club), my mom (and other moms) pulled me out of it for fear I was becoming too violent. The memory of this period went down the rabbit hole, but I forever remember the basics of punching, avoiding a punch and 'what you put in is what you get out'. I liked watching boxing matches but stopped after Don King rigged the first Holyfield-Lewis fight. I have drifted to MMA even if it feels like prison fights. I remember getting in a couple group fights in college and remember being amped up more than scared. How bad can Ivy League frat fights get? Fighting is wrong, but it is good to know you can defend yourself.
Enough with my '80s nostalgia! Here are the 3 disciplines I have researched that have gyms in the area:
1. Krav Maga - A big positive is that classes start as young as 3 years old just to learn coordinated moves and get a feel for movement. Downside is that most folks who know martial arts say that once you get past the 'mystique' of it being the Israeli Defense Forces combat training, it basically really good street fighting. The two gyms are very close by, so that gets a thumbs up.
2. Muay Thai - The classes start at age 7, and while one place is close the other gym far away. Lots of cool stuff that I think a kid would like, and it looks fun. It also seems like an intense work out, and if the boy wonder's energy levels now are any indicator of the teen years, he's going to need an outlet.
3. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu - Classes start at age 7, but I swear I saw a studio that started at age 5. Multiple studios in the area, and just about the best grappling technique I have read about on forums and websites. I also have memories of the Royce Gracie destroying opponents in the original UFC despite being much smaller than the other guys.