Today’s parents are wild about creative camps, classes and innovative programs. You love your kids loving their dance, music, sports, camps and more, and your comments exude enthusiasm and zeal for these terrific spots, where children combine fun and learning.
Winner: Jae Hun Kim Taekwon-do Institute
What do Singapore, Korea, China, Boston, New England and Seattle have in common? The Jae Hun Kim Taekwon-do Institute. ParentMap voters chose the Seattle location, one of 15 worldwide, as the best martial arts school for 2012. Taekwondo teaches children respect, for themselves and others, self-discipline and body awareness. J.H. Kim trained with General Choi, Hong Hi — the acknowledged founder of modern-day taekwondo — and Grandmaster Jung Tae Park, president of the Global Tae Kwon Do Federation. Mr. Kim received the rank of Grand Master from the Kukkiwon world taekwondo headquarters in South Korea. Parents rave about Grandmaster Kim’s program. “The teachers understand that taekwondo isn't just about learning the moves, it's about learning the attitude and sense of family that comes from the martial art. They are also patient and encouraging.” “Excellent instructors and welcoming community” give kids a chance to take pride in their accomplishments and have fun while doing it. Said more than one voter “my son loves it.”
Alpha Martial Arts, with locations in Bryant and Capitol Hill, provides martial arts classes for kids, adults and teens and emphasizes fitness, self-defense and character development. The children’s programs focus on karate, but the school also teaches Ed Parker’s American Kenpo Karate, Muay Thai kickboxing, Brazilian jiu-jitsu grappling, Krav Maga, and provides safety presentations and workshops as a community service.
At the Enso Center for International Arts in Redmond the “instructors are wonderful with the kids and create a healthy and positive environment in which to learn.” Parents love the “supportive, enthusiastic, fun instructors.” The center specializes in two Korean martial arts, hapkido and taekwondo, Chinese tai chi and chi kung and also offers self-defense classes.
Karate West, with locations in Sammamish and Mercer Island, emphasizes the development of life skills at the heart of the curriculum. Their Personal Achievement Program teaches children to strive to reach their full potential. They “are amazing” and “teach more than just karate moves, inspiring self-confidence and motivation in the kids.” Parents love the lessons in “respect and discipline.”
Lee’s Martial Arts in Renton and Maple Valley teaches taekwondo with respect for the traditions while incorporating new and innovative ways to reach the kids and excite them about learning their art. “Our son found more discipline and self-esteem through their structured and caring regimen.” “Awesome staff empower the kids and the kids love being there!”
Two Cranes Aikido teaches the Japanese martial art that emphasizes cooperation over competition and integrates the meditation of movement. Two Cranes is “a really healthy dojo that respects the individuality of the kids.” The goal of the program is to “offer children and teens a safe and inspiring learning environment to develop calm minds, alert bodies and enlivened spirits.”
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Illustrations by Alli Arnold