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I recently had the opportunity to take my 6 year old son to a beginner’s mixed martial arts class at American Eagle MMA & Kettlebells in Ho-Ho-Kus.  It was my son’s first time participating in a martial arts class, and martial arts is quite different from a typical baseball or soccer program setting, so I wasn’t exactly expecting it to go smoothly.  Surprisingly, he adapted to the room immediately and followed along with the other children.  After the warm-up, the group continued with their routine and my son worked with an instructor separately so he could practice some basic martial arts moves.

What I liked about the program:

  • Parents can stay and watch (through a window) or drop off & pick up
  • Pay a monthly fee, not by class, for unlimited classes
  • Multiple disciplines taught (Karate, Tae-Kwon-Do, Jiu-Jitsu…etc.)
  • Non-demeaning way of teaching respect

They teach disciplines from all around the world, so if you are unsure of whether you want your kid to take karate, tae kwon do or jiu- jitsu, don’t worry about it, they will learn a little of everything here.  I always wonder what is the best class to have my son take, and get a bit overwhelmed by it all. This is simple–no researching involved. They learn it all. They get a chance to explore different skills so they can decide for themselves what kind of discipline they like and want to practice more.

If you’ve ever been to a martial arts class, you know showing respect is a huge part of the design of the class, and it is no different for youngsters–they are expected to learn and show respect as well.  It is common practice for instructors to come across somewhat harsh in demeanor in trying to teach this.

I, personally, was never a fan of this way of teaching and frankly have been afraid of taking my son to a martial arts class solely because of this reason.  The demeaning style is certainly not for the sensitive child, and questionable for any child at all in my opinion.

What I loved about American Eagle MMA is that they do not talk to kids in a demeaning way. They are serious about expecting the children to be respectful, bow to the dojo, and call their instructor “sir”, and they even perform push-ups as punishment if they are talking when they aren’t supposed to or being disrespectful in any other way, but their disposition is still kind and they teach respect in a firm, but positive way.

There is no shortage of classes on the schedule. Variations of classes and levels run all day, every day of the week.  Another thing I loved – they will match your child in a class based on their appropriate skill level, and don’t discriminate by age.  So if your 7 year old is not so experienced, they could go to a class that’s younger than their age range, and vice versa if they are more experienced.

If you are considering enrolling your child in a martial arts program, I would definitely recommend taking a class at American Eagle MMA. They offer a free trial class to new clients, and if you want to try out a whole week, it’s $29 and they throw in a T-shirt.  By attending the free class, you’ll get a sense of whether or not it will be right for your child.  Whether you are looking for a class to take once a week, twice a day, or every day of the week, the monthly package allows you take unlimited classes.  Monthly programs range from $109 to $169 per month.

Classes run from 10 am until 8 pm, all day and all week long.  There are earlier and later classes for adult Kettlebell, Wrestling, MMA and Boxing Classes.  Kids classes include: Full-Mixed Martial Arts, Lil’ Eagles, Preschool & Children’s Karate, Teen MMA, Sport Contact & Non-contact Combat.  It’s best  for kids around Pre-School Age and up.

Tip: Bring a pair of flip-flops for you & your kiddo. Shoes must be taken off at the door before you walk in, and  you’ll want those in case they need to go to the bathroom. In case you forget your pair, there is a community pair available that is shared.

American Eagle MMA & Kettlebells
500 Barnett Place
Ho-Ho-Kus, NJ

You can register for classes here.

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