A typical class begins and ends with respect by a bow to the teacher and parents. Next the kids have an affirmation pledging to have self discipline, a positive attitude, to use common sense before self defense and to never give up.
Progress is marked by the belt and patch systems, which take the beginner from a white belt through a series of colored belts until adult patches are earned. Testing for each new level, generally every three months, is a good exercise in setting and achieving goals.
But experts say that it's the respect kids learn, whether from bowing or standing still and waiting for the next command, that can be the most important benefit. It often carries over into school, helping to improve behavior and even grades, according to recent research.
Kids can benefit as young as age 4 with motor and social skills. As they get older there is a bigger emphasis on self defense and competition.
Be sure to visit a school and participate in a trial class to see the teachers in action and make sure it's a fit for you and your child.