As kids martial art lessons go these aren't the average. Our kids train with as much enthusiam as the adults, and they have more time to practise. That's how they develop their skills enough to do sword cutting at such a young age. I wouldn't recommend this for everyone. Take a look at the slideshow and then read on to discover why we can do this.
Preparing Kids For Test Cutting
Kids martial art classes vary quite widely. It is up to parents to decide if the training is right for their child. There is something about doing dangerous things that helps children, especially boys, to grow up into adults in control of their lives and their world. With that in mind, many parents choose to allow their children to face reasonably controlled danger. Test cutting is one of those things.
Our children mostly train with padded swords until they have good control and strong enough arms. From there they move up to wooden training swords, and it is fairly rare for them to handle sharp swords. They've been trained little by little - how to pass a sword, how to clean a sword, how to prevent rust and not get cut, and finally, how to cut plastic bottles.
Our children train in the basic cuts of the Yangjia Michuan Jian system, two person drills and freeplay. Some of them train in Dao, MiaoDao and empty-hand, depending on their interest and how much time they have to put into solidifying their skills.
In our kids martial art Classes, I look at these things before deciding it is time for a test cutting session.
The children are disciplined enough
Most Children are good at basic cuts and drills
They have the strength to use a sword
All parents are willing and some will help on the day
When we do test cutting in our kids martial art training,the most important thing is to follow safety procedures.
Risk Assessment. Check the cutting area for anything that might be a danger. Think it through step by step. This is dangerous enough without having the unexpected. Know what is there and minimise any risks.
Adult helpers. There should be one adult to every four children in a situation like this. I don't mean adults sitting around chatting. I mean actively involved, watchful parent helpers with a job to do. For example, I had one mother whose whole job was to make sure no child walked down the porch steps to the cutting area unless I had the sword in my hand and called the child.
A safe place to watch. I made sure there were enough seats up on the porch for every child to stay seated and concentrate on the cutting. Parents were to keep them quiet and in control, and, as much as can be expected, sitting in one spot.
The ground. We used a rough path that would not become slippery when it got wet. Children had to be wearing non slip shoes. The cut bottles were removed before the next child came to cut so there was nothing to trip over.
Weather. We postponed our cutting session for a week because it was raining. We didn't want cold conditions where children would find it harder to move and hold a heavy sword, and we didn't want mud and slippery conditions either.
Gloves and goggles. All children had to wear gloves so they could not accidentally touch the blade and cut a finger. They wore goggles so no pieces of sharp plastic could fly out and damage an eye. We chose not to wear fencing masks because the reduced visibility is counter productive to safety in this case.
Don't get too tired. As soon as the newer ones were tired, they were sent around the back away from the cutting area, with more experienced students, to train with soft swords in basic cuts. We stopped before any of the older ones got tired because that is when accidents happen.
I really would not encourage most people, even experienced martial arts teachers to hold test cutting sessions in their kids martial art training. I have some training that allows me to do it.
I only accept teachable kids
20 years experience as a school teacher
A senior first aid certificate
Training in risk assessment
You might also need to to consider the laws of your country and the attitudes of your parents.These are not average kids fitness activities. You'll need above average parents.