Kids Program

What is the purpose of Kid’s martial arts classes?

We work to instill in our students a broad understanding and introduction to martial arts. Practical and applicable self-defense skill development of quality in striking, kicking, sparring, wrestling, and throwing. Functional movement development through tumbling, forms, and bodyweight conditioning. Creative problem-solving. Interpersonal conflict recognition, avoidance, cessation and de-escalation. Lifeskill building in compassion, courage, confidence, and addressing consent.


What are the age ranges for students in the program?

We train students ages 3 and up, with classes separated by age groups.  The purpose of this breakdown is to ensure that students may benefit from peer groups that share common learning schemes and developmentally appropriate content.

The mixed-age classes are designed to suit our specific curriculum, and to allow younger students to interact with and observe older students, and give older students the opportunity to set the example for younger students. At all levels, students are expected to help pass learned information along to peers of junior standing.  The belief is that material is better understood and retained when a student of any age shares it with another through teaching.


I heard about a specific class but I don’t see it on the schedule. Where is it?

Some of our classes are offered as short series classes, or special stand-alone opportunities, must be purchased online, and do not appear on our schedule as such. Check our events page to see what is currently available.

What if my child has special needs?  Are they welcome in the program?

Our youth Martial Arts classes are physically dynamic, loud, and involve lots of physical contact and transitions. Children with sensory and self-regulation concerns may especially become easily dysregulated. We appreciate knowing and being able to plan for any special needs up front to help accommodate and ensure students’ physical and emotional safety. We do our best to stay in communication with families to ensure that our programs will be sustainable for all; we keep things focused on steady, regular progress in the martial arts.

What does my child need to do to get their next rank?

Students looking to earn a sash are expected to wear a full uniform to class every time, attend class at least twice a week on a consistent basis and to have mastered their basic requirements. You can check out our requirement page to make sure they know all the material for their next rank. If all skills seem mastered and you’re still left wondering why your child hasn’t progressed, please feel free to approach the teacher with your concerns. Even better, have the student address their instructor directly with, “What do I need to do to earn my next rank?”

What sorts of things should I (as a caregiver) be doing to encourage my child in their training?

Set a regular schedule and stick to it. Arrive to class a few minutes early. Ask them about class content and what they find interesting about training. Encourage pride in accomplishment. Encourage students to keep their uniforms clean. Set aside time each week for them to “show what they know” to family members. Acknowledge that the work they do in class is highly challenging. If unsure of content or if confidence falters, stay in communication with the instructors. Talk to students about the value of mistakes and why they are an integral part of learning. Set a good example by engaging in exercise yourself.

Will studying martial arts improve my child’s discipline and/or focus issues?

If the student is motivated to study martial arts, qualities of discipline, focus and confidence often improve. If the student is being forced to practice martial arts, it is guaranteed to be a much murkier path. When your child tries out their free trial class, please honestly express whatever reasons or inspirations you and your child have for training, and any known possible challenges. This will help the teacher understand how to guide them through classes. Whatever the case, when a student engages in something that challenges them both physically and mentally, they often rise to meet that challenge in amazing ways! In all classes we work to ensure that each student is being challenged, yet not overwhelmed.

To restate, our primary goal is to develop quality martial artists – a goal that takes time and patience while fostering qualities of good focus, disciple and confidence in students, as well as strong lifeskills such as Courage, Compassion, Community and Competency.

Will martial arts training help resolve the bullying issues my child is experiencing?

Ideally, yes. We encourage students to consider not only the ‘hows’ (techniques) of using force, but also the ‘whens’ and ‘whys.’  Some examples of this are: When is it okay to stand up for yourself verbally? When is it okay to walk away? When is it okay to stand your ground physically? When is it okay to run? Why do some people bully? When would using martial arts outside the class setting be justified?  The purpose behind raising these questions is to get students to contemplate the consequences of both their own and other people’s actions.

This understanding of consequence in tandem with the development of martial arts skills often inspires increased confidence and a sense of security in students – qualities that function to adeptly keep bullies at bay without having to resort to fighting. The confidence derived from being experienced in the martial arts ultimately leads one to understand that while they might be able to use force to solve the problem, the very best solution is always the one in which you can manage to avoid unproductive conflict completely.

Who are the instructors?

Check our instructor page.

Are there other schools you are affiliated with?  If I pay at one affiliated school can my child attend classes at another affiliated school for free?

Yes.  We are part of a larger system called Mo Duk Pai.  There is one other MDP school in the Portland area: North Portland Martial Arts. If you pay dues at either school, your child is welcome and encouraged to attend any MDP class at the other school free of charge.

Are there any hidden testing fees in your kid’s program?

No. We don’t conduct formal testing in the kids program – nor do we charge for belts.  When we feel that students have earned their new rank, the instructors simply give them their new belt at the end of a given class. They show us they’ve earned it, and we give them the rank.

More questions?

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