Even though most children manage to attend class two days per week, keep in mind that classes now last 40 minutes and part of that time is taken up with stretching and warm-up exercises, often leaving a ½ hour or less for actual instruction. With a few rare exceptions, children cannot become proficient without additional practice. The problem intensifies if they happen to miss a class. Practice at home is essential!
If a child studies music, parents often insist that they spend hours practicing before the next lesson. Do you give equal thought and time to your child’s Kung Fu training? If you do, you are in the minority. Why the double standard?
Your own knowledge and understanding of the martial arts can play a significant role in determining the habits of your children. I believe that at least part of the reason that parents don’t insist that their children practice their Kung Fu is that parents often don’t understand what or how their children are supposed to practice. Because many parents are not familiar with the techniques and forms it is natural to be concerned that the kids are practicing incorrectly and feel that they really can’t help them very much.
With music lessons, children are usually given a song or something else that is very specific to practice before their next class. Parents can hear them playing, they know if they are practicing what they are supposed to and, unless they’re tone deaf, they can tell if the child is improving. The same should apply for martial arts; if you watch your child practice, you will indeed notice improvement. Even to an uneducated eye, the forms and techniques will begin to look crisper and smoother.
It is always easier for instructors to make corrections if a child has been practicing something incorrectly than it is to constantly re-teach forms and techniques because they did not practice and forgot.