Martial Arts for Parents & Kids Together

Parent Q&A

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  • Parent Child Jujitsu Classes

    (2 replies)

    My daughter is very interested in learning a martial art and so am I. Due to our size and stature it has been recommended that Jujitsu would be best and most effective for us. 

    Does anyone know if there is a parent child class out there? It would be great if this was something that we could do together. Or even classes that run side by side?

    I have seen signs for Steadfast in Richmond that advertise Jujitsu for kids and adults. Thinking about trying it myself with my kid!

    My daughter (14) goes to Ralph Gracie Jiu Jitsu on ashby/sacramento in Berkeley and has been enjoying it for years.  MWFSa they have kids classes, 4-5 on weekdays, with a 5-6 adult class that follows.  There is also a small womens class TTh 345-5 that my daughter often also attends that you might be able to do together (not sure if you are female identified or not, but it is helpful for smaller persons because weight matching is important in jiu jitsu).  

  • Family Capoeira Virtual Options

    (2 replies)

    Greetings! I have an almost 4 year old who I planned to take Capoeira with before everything went awry. How can I incorporate capoeira music, instruments etc. into our lives until we can get to a class after everything clears up and social distancing isn't necessary. I believe he can benefit from the discipline, strength and comeraderie that Capoeira embody.

    My kid practices capoeira with Professor Malandro, who runs the Filhos de Bimba School. Before the pandemic he taught at Emeryville Parks and Rec. 

    Professor Malandro is patient, kind, and firm. The school teaches the music, history and present of capoeira, and its values, like strength, control, discipline and community. He offers Zoom class, sometimes with visits from his teachers in Salvador. 

    My 9yo currently attend a kids' class biweekly with masks and distance at Bushrod Park in North Oakland. It's mostly older kids right now but you should inquire about the online schedule and get on the email list. I feel lucky and grateful to have found Professor Malandro and Filhos de Bimba... 

    My 9 year old has been with Profesor Malandro for a couple of years.  We started with live instruction as an after school class on his school campus.  We then went on  to classes at the Emeryville Senior Center with older kids as well as occasionally tried a class with adults.  When the pandemic hit, Malandro’s dedication to capoeira brought us Zoom classes that included participants from all over the world including from his own mestre in Brazil who was actually the son of Mestre Bimba (founder of modern capoeira).  Later in the pandemic he took the children’s classes live outdoors to Bushrod Park with masks on.  Malandro’s relationship to capoeira goes DEEP and it is a part of who he is as a human being.  It is so much more to him than a hobby or a teaching job and this shows in every detail he brings to his classes and his dedication to enrich others lives with capoeira even with the pandemic going on.

    He now expanded to livestreaming and creating videos on Twitch.  I highly recommend subscribing to his Twitch account, MrMalandro81.  My son now regularly practices capoeira using his Twitch video classes which have the advantage of being available 24 hours a day and he can go back and rewind parts that are more difficult (not to mention zero chance of COVID19).

    Despite his passion/dedication for capoeira, he has always been great at connecting with kids in a positive way with patience during his classes.  He motivates his kids to improve their capoeira skills by inspiration and dedication rather than by displaying frustration.  I feel so lucky that my son has him as a mentor in his life.

  • I am a dad of two boys 6 and 10 and I am looking for a martial arts (or similar) program which not only teaches the sport but also how to deal with your own emotions as a boy, stability, confidence, etc. Both are very active, and I hope to find an outlet for them, but also a program where I can learn some of this myself since I never had this opportunity in my own childhood. So a place where my boys AND I could attend programs would be great.

    We think of this as a post-quarantine activity, but if there are studios which offer this via video, that's even better. 

    Thanks, Wolf

    I'd recommend looking into Pitts Martial Arts (across from the Grand Lake Theater in Oakland). We've been there for almost a year with our 7 year old and have found both Master Pitts and all the families there really great. Pretty sure, during normal times, they have a class for ages 7-adult so there's a mix of ages in there.  During in-person classes, the focus is as much on doing your best as it is on developing the skills, which I really appreciate. They've been doing zoom classes too, but it's of course not the same as being there.

    My husband and son both practice at Ralph Gracie Jiujitsu in Berkeley. The kids and adults classes are separate, but are timed one right after the other, making it easier on the family schedule. Jiujitsu (as far as I can tell!) does not really involve any kind of behavioral teachings like some other martial arts do. But my husband and son both get a lot out of it, mentally and physically. There is a lot of camraderie, intense physical exercise, and definitely opportunities for building self-confidence. It's also an opportunity to get out phsycial aggresion in an appropriate environment. There are a lot of families (mostly kids + dads, but also some moms) that go there. 

    The studio is completely closed during the shelter-in-place. 

    Hello! My three kids and I all train at Studio Naga, on the Oakland/Emeryville border.  I have 2 girls, ages 12 and 10 also a little guy who is 5 yrs old in the little kid classes.  The girls have been training for 7 years, and I (the mom) started about 4 years ago. I love this place for many reasons. The studio teaches an Indonesian Martial Art called Poekoelan. We all enjoy the sport, but beyond the physical activity, the community is awesome.  The studio has taught my kids how to be stronger leaders and firm upstanders. It’s not just kicking and yelling for fun - the first level of classes for adults and kids is focused on self defense.  Right now there are in-person, outdoor, social distanced classes and online classes. 

    I highly recommend ATA Martial Arts Academy in Martinez. They have classes for kids and adults and also online classes with Covid. Master Schreiber is wonderful and we've had very positive experiences with each instructor of my son's classes. The school teaches more than just the sport - the work on confidence, respect, lessons with how to deal with bullying etc etc.

  • Martial arts studio for the whole family?

    (4 replies)

    Hi BPN’ers –

    I’m looking for a studio where both my kids and myself can take classes and progress similarly  - maybe not at the same class at the same time, but  improve our martial arts together as a family.

    I have an 8 year old girl and a 6 year old boy so I’m looking for a class that’s both boys and girls for both of them to feel included. And then a class for myself too.  I’m not sure if there are family classes where we might practice together? If so that would be worth checking out too.

    Lastly I’m looking for a studio that is inclusive, diverse, with women + men teachers. Ideally someplace that is both respectful, encouraging, and supportive  -to help round out the physical skills.

    Any leads are much appreciated.

    Thank you! 

    I'm not clear on whether you want just martial arts or just fun family classes. My daughter and son who are 5 years apart have only once taken classes together in the same place at the same time, and that was at Trapeze Arts in West Oakland. Their schedule is pretty complicated but they have classes from young kids to adults in a variety of different activities (trapeze, of course, but also trampoline, aerial, general circus skills, and more). My daughter has continued in youth circus and it's truly a special world - very diverse, inclusive, supportive, and just generally wonderful.

    TG Taekwondo in Albany has everything you are looking for! They even have family classes. I highly recommend them.

    We love Studio Naga in Emeryville, it has all the things you mentioned!  Martial arts classes where kids and adults can train together and also separate kids and adult classes.  The studio is a diverse group of all genders, ages and abilities and they're great at meeting people where they are.  Very community oriented and inclusive., 510-652-6242.

    If you are looking something apart from martial arts Loka Yoga in Mac Arthur has mommy and me yoga classes

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Karate studio with workouts for kids and adults

Oct 2012

I live in Rockridge and I'm looking for a place where my 6 year old son can take karate (or similar) classes, but where I can get a workout in at the same time. I do not want to take classes with him. Are there places that have classes for kids and adults at the same time? Dani

This might not be exactly what you are looking for, but I highly recommend the Berkeley Kuk Sool Won school, at Dwight and Sacramento: Classes include kids and adults, and there are also adult only classes (but they are later in evening). My whole family (my husband, our son and I) has been taking classes at KSW for the last 6 years, and it's been such a great thing for all three of us. We are all black belts now, our son learned a lot about martial arts and treating people with respect, my husband and I stopped having back problems, and I'm in my best physical shape ever. We take same classes together, but our son is in the front of the class with other kids, and my husband and I are with the adults in the back. Kids are paired up with other kids for various excercises, and we work out with other adults (or with each other, so that works as almost a date for us!). So, if you want to work out while your child is taking a class, you would be taking the same class, but you wouldn't be working out with him. We all get sweaty and tired by end of each class. It's a great workout, and then you can practice what you learned at home, with your kid or significant other. It's a lot of fun! Try it, you may like it!

Check out - there are videos of our whole community training together, kids and adults. Last Saturday we had kids aged 6 and adults in their 50s! It was super fun. Try a free class anytime! Louise

East Bay Seido Karate in Berkeley [1940 Bonita Ave - off University] has classes for kids, teens and adults, they even have a family class where parents can train with their children. Their classes are in the afternoon and evenings Mon-Fri as well as Sunday morning and their tuition fees are very reasonable. I have been training and teaching there for 8 years and can't wait for my daughter to reach 5yrs so she can start classes also. There is information and class schedules and fees etc on the website Todd

Karate classes for kids & parents

March 2009

Hi, I'm looking for a place around Berkeley/El Cerrito that holds joint Karate classes for kids and their parents, preferably during the weekend. Any recommendations? My daughter is 6 years old and we are both beginners. thanks, Sharon

Check out West Wind Karate School on University just above Sacramento. They let adults and children study together and they have done a wonderful job with my son. The phone number is 841-1426 Laura2562

My daughters and I began attending the Kuk Sool Won of Berkeley on Sacramento Street in 1999, when my girls were 7 and 9 years old. This was the best decision I made for an activity we could do together. It's now some ten years later, and one of my daughters still attends classes when she's home from college. My other daughter moved on to soccer and other sports, but will always be benefited from her years studying Kuk Sool Won. The school owner, Thomas Brewer, is highly competent and caring, and this form of martial arts is one of the most comprehensive. Another unique and wonderful thing about Kuk Sool Won is that it's grandmaster, In Hyuk Suh, is still alive and actively touring to spend time with students at the Berkeley school and all around the world. I love the fact that many girls and women students attend this school, and that students are very supportive of one another. You can get a free trial lesson and meet with the school owner at 2438 Sacramento Street in Berk! eley by Dwight, or call 510-540-5425 The web site provides more information at: Cynthia

Family martial arts classes

May 2008

My Husband wants to take Judo or Karate classes with both our kids. Anyone know a class set up like this in the ElCerrito, Albany, Richmond area? lj

Berkeley Kuk Sool Won has classes that parents can attend with their children, which is a wonderful way for parents and kids to get fit together, while improving strength, flexibility, and mental clarity. Kuk Sool Won of Berkeley is a traditional Korean martial arts program which combines tribal, Buddhist temple, and royal court martial arts techniques in the most comprehensive martial arts program I've seen -- it is truly unsurpassed. I've been going to classes with my daughter for the past eight years, and it's helped keep me in shape well into my 40's, while my daughter benefited in all sorts of ways. I give Berkeley Kuk Sool Won my highest recommendation -- and you and your children can try it for free by contacting Thomas Brewer at 2438 Sacramento Street (at Dwight), Berkeley, (510) 540-5425. Cynthia

Class for family - kids 6&9 and me?

June 2007

I'm not too familiar with the martial arts thing, so I'm not sure if what I'm asking for even exists or is feasible. I'd like my two boys (ages 6 and 9) and myself (a 40-ish y.o. woman) to learn a form of martial arts, mainly for self-defense. We'd all be beginners. I'd like to do this in an ongoing way, rather than in a workshop format, so we can continuously develop and improve skills we have learned. The challenge for me is to do this without having martial arts classes for all our age groups take up all of our weekly schedule--if each of us are in separate classes and attend twice a week, that's six martial classes per week among the three of us! My boys are already involved in another after-school activity, so we're reluctant to add on anything else that takes a ton of time commitment. They still need to do their school work and we all want to be able to sit down and eat dinner together every night at a decent hour. I know learning a martial art form takes a certain amount of commitment as one progresses, but how does one do this in a manageable way, without sacrificing all other activities? We're already a very physically active family so the risk of being sedentary if we don't do martial arts is not very high for us.

So, what I'm wondering is: 1--Is there a place that offers beginning ''family'' martial arts classes once a week, preferably on a Saturday morning or afternoon? 2--Are the martial arts classes for kids and adults offered at the Downtown Berkeley Y worthwhile in terms of learning useful self-defense skills (not just about having fun and exercise)? 3--How do people pursue martial arts if they cannot commit more than one class per week, but are willing to continue consistently over a long period of time? 4--Recommendations for a martial arts studio in Berkeley that fits what we're asking for (self-defense, understanding of limited time commitment, family friendly) 5--How do prospective students gather information about schedule, price, commitment before walking in, as to avoid a ''hard sell'' once in the door, especially if a studio doesn't have a website? Looking for family martial arts

I highly recommend the aikido program at the Albany Recreation Center with Maida Sensei. He has over 30 years teaching experience with adults and children. Aikido isn't just about self-defense, it's about maintaining balance, stabiiity and focus. He will teach kids as young as six and he does encourage parents to be on the mat with their kids. I started 8 years ago when my daughter, than 8 years old, watched a class and wanted to join. I've been training ever since. I've seen other families join and stay with it for a long time, and really gain a lot from the experience. He also has a dojo just 10 minutes from the rec center. You could probably attend a class there as well on a Saturday if you were with your kids. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions. You can also visit the web site at Come by and visit the class at the rec center every afternoon (except Thursday) from 4-5. drobespi

Hello, Berkeley Kuk Sool Won has classes for families; kids in afternoon and parents in the evening. My son went there from age 4 until 16. jamie

I run a studio in Emeryville on San Pablo Avenue that successfully incorporates children into some of the adult classes in the evening and on Saturdays. I have many families that work out with their children and everyone seems to get what they need. I also have seperate classes for adults and children.

The main issues in mixing ages is the attention level, ability to ramp up the workout and size considerations when pairing up to do exercises. This can be managed in a mixed group by pairing like sizes and agreeing as a parent to be responsible for partnering with your child if no similar sized person is available in class. It is understood that to join an adult class you must be able to sustain yourself for the period of time the class runs and maintain appropriate focus.

My school is a a family martial arts center. I have been teaching for over 25 years. Most of the kids working out with the adults are more advanced in rank because of the time they have spent training. Frequently the younger and lower ranked children attend at least one children's class to be with their peers and enjoy the easier pace of a children's class. It also builds camraderie and community. Once a week these kids attend class with their parent(s) in order to share the workout experience and make efficient use of everyone's time.

If you would like more information about my school, you can visit my website or call 428-1979.

I hope you find a great place to train! My family trains with me and it has been a fabulous experience. Sensei and mom of 2 great kids terri

Class for non-athletic 11-year-old with learning differences

April 2007

I am looking for a martial arts school that would be appropriate for my eleven-year-old son. He has learning differences, and is not as coordinated and athletic as a lot of boys his age. So, a school that is not competitive would be best. I am especially looking for a teacher who is understanding and would be encouraging to someone like my son, who might require more time to remember and integrate different patterns of movement. A school that emphasizes the philosophy of the martial art, and which has more of a gentle approach would be best. I've heard that Aikido might fit this description. I am not familiar with the different martial arts at all, and would greatly appreciate help finding a good teacher/student fit for my son. We live in Albany, so a school in the Berkeley, Albany, El Cerrito area is ideal. Thank You

you might want to try kuk sool won in berkeley on sacramento ave/dwight. it might be a little bit of a drive for you, but if you head down sacramento from your side of town its not so bad. tom brewer, the owner, if very patient with the kids. its a non-combative style and i have seen kids with down syndrom in there. not that your son has that, but it shows that he is open to all kids and treats them equally, yet with patience and understaning when necessary. unfortunately my kids have opted out of going and i got tired of forcing them, but i wish they would continue. i think its a great program. good luck! tami

Martial Arts for Aggressive 5-year-old

Mar 2005

My 5- yo son is very aggressive, both physically and verbally. He's prone to frequent meltdowns, rage attacks, verbal lashing-out, etc. We are working with various mental health professionals to diagnose and treat him. Additionally, though, I think the right martial arts program may be beneficial for him. I'm looking for something that will help him direct and channel his aggression/physical energy/anger in a positive way and, hopefully ultimately teach him self-discipline and to respect himself and others. My worry is that the wrong program may make him more aggressive, so I'm mostly concerned with the philosophy and approach of the teacher rather than the actual style of martial art. Ideally I'd like to find a teacher (who has to be a man -- my son is very gender-conscious these days) who has worked with difficult boys and tries to inculcate positive values in his students. It would be great if the teacher could be a positive role model and mentor to my son. (My husband and I are trying our best, but we need all the help we can get!) Any suggestions would be most appreciated. Desperate

You should try DragonFly Karate in Berkeley. The instructor is awesome and if you tell him your needs, I would bet he's the man for the job. My son has been taking karate there for a year now and he loves the instructor and is in awe of him. My son can be a very intense child and he gets tremendous pleasure and sense of self out the lessons. They are a balance of serious martial arts, philosophy, self-discipline and repsect for others. There are both one on one and small group. Mr. Boone, the instructor, is a VERY commanding presence while being funny and gentle and super encouraging with his students at the same time. Call him at 510-776-0040. Good Luck!

Hi - I sent my kids to Martial Arts of America when they were quite small (I think the twins were in kindergarten and my son was in third grade). It was a great program - really about character, discipline, respect for parents and teachers. Here's the web site , hope this helps - Deb

Please look into judo. It has all the martial art discipline and structure, but the emphasis is on self-defense, not kicking and/or punching. Sorry I don't know of one in particular. Shirley