The Kettlebell Front Squat is a key movement directly applicable to virtually every sport and to ALL sports requiring explosive power and strength positions. The squat is also essential to everyday life. Picking up our child, carrying suitcases, getting up out a chair – to name a few. Many people believe that they can’t squat. However after one short lesson they realize that they can. In most cases, if you can sit on a toilet you are able to squat. We utilize an active negative method of pulling the hips into the squat position. Barring any severe deficiencies or physical limitations, this method has remarkable results – usually the first time it is applied!
Why is the Kettlebell Front Squat such an essential movement? The strength gains from the Kettlebell Front Squat experienced in the legs, hips and especially the core are greater and with a significantly lighter load than required with the back squat. When considering Sports Performance and General Fitness, there is a breakpoint where the training required and the muscle size created actually hinders your performance. For example, if squatting 400 lbs. helps you reach a 10.4 second mark in the 100 meter dash, squatting 450 lbs may not necessarily bring your sprint down to 10.2; you may actually become slower! Yes, your squat will increase, but your hamstrings and hips will become tighter thus slowing your movement. The aforementioned numbers are arbitrary. There are far too many variables in individuals and sports to effectively assign exact numbers. In order to provide accurate assessments, experimentation needs to be conducted on a case by case basis. However, I will add one caveat; if your goal to have an extremely heavy back squat and you are a powerlfter, you need to perform heavy sets of traditional, back squats. Even though the Kettlebell Front Squat (KFS) will help boost your back squat numbers, you still need to perform the actual movement that you are competing in.
The Kettlebell is placed in front of you, whether bottoms up, racked or bottoms down. Compression and core activation is required to stabilize your truck and and your spine. Compression, tension and an active negative are all employed as you inhale and pull yourself deep into your squat. The spine is kept long and strong with no “tail tuck” as you get to the bottom. A quick, short and forceful exhale shoots you upward to the fully locked position. The strength of your upper torso is also required/developed to hold the Kettlebell(s) in place as you perform your KFS. Proper power breathing and expansion of your intercostals and serratus, not to mention the development of your pectorals, forearms, biceps and triceps. The muscles that comprise latissimus dorsi are recruited to keep your back straight and strong to handle the load in front.
As far as actual weight is concerned, you have to use considerably less weight with a KFS than for a back squat with better results and less chance of injury. On the back squat, the object is to break parallel with the greatest amount of weight possible on your back and then stand back up into the upright position. One’s back is compromised from having to bend forward to get lower and the hips are also overloaded due to the wide stance. This position does not aide you in developing the strength and proper neural pattern for strength development. On the other hand, the proper execution of the KFS lends itself to activating the Central Nervous System to develop incredible strength the legs as well as in the core/stabilizers. By keeping the spine long and strong, you develop a “Tower of Power” enabling you to move resistive loads and push with your whole body.
I could go on and on about the Kettlebell Front Squat, but I’m sure that you only have a limited time to read! You need to get in there and start practicing your KFS! Substantial gains in your leg strength, increased your cardiovascular capacity and explosive power development, while creating a healthy spine and a pair knees, are all benefits of the Kettlebell Front Squat.
Get Strong and Stay Strong!
Coach Phil Ross, Master RKC
For more information of Strength, Conditioning or Kettlebells visit www.kettlebellking.com or call 201-612-1429.
The Dirty Dozen Exercises: Move #2, The Bridge
The Kettlebell Swing: Often to referred to as the “Mother of All Kettlebell Exercises” and is the root of all Kettlebell Training. The Kettlebell Swing is not only the basis but one of the biggest differentiators between Kettlebell Training and other strength and conditioning systems. The Kettlebell Swing “reverse engineers” the practitioner’s hips by the development of the hip hinge, hamstring and glute recruitment through the pop and lock required to execute the movement properly. In addition, the incredible rooting effect for power transference through the body is applicable to improved performance in virtually all sports and strength performance.
The Kettlebell Swing has so many benefits, yet many go untapped through poor execution. I’ve had people walk into my studio claiming “I love to swing, I do tons of them all of the time.” Then I watch them swing – Ooof! I don’t know where the heck they learned to “swing”, but now I know why they thought that swings were easy! No eccentric/concentric motion, shoulder’s not packed, no rooting, legs bent at the top and to much at the bottom, chicken necking so much that I thought was I hanging with Frank Perdue, lats not engaged, power leaks all over!
Now that we’ve looked at the poor examples, how do we execute the swing? Step one, find a quality instructor or at least purchase some DVDs or get your hands on a video program from one of the top flight RKC Instructors. I will mention, no matter how good a video is, nothing replaces working under the scrutiny of a qualified Kettlebell Instructor.
Starting from the ground up, let’s consider our feet. First make certain that your feet are the correct width apart. If they are too close, you’ll never be able to swing the bell between your legs. If they are too far apart, you won’t be able to completely fire your gluteus, thus leaking power. Additionally, you will tax your hip flexors more which could result in injury. Rooting with the floor is key. Take advantage of the feedback from your feet with the floor. Establishing that that intimate contact with the floor creates a map of you body’s nervous system and helps facilitate feedback and feedforward of movement. Draw your kneecaps up into your quadriceps as you lock out your knees. This should happen simultaneously to the driving of your coccyx to your naval and the contraction of your gluteus. While all of this in occurring, you need to shorten your abdominals by “zipping up” and exhaling a short, hard purposeful breath. Pack your shoulders and engage the lats as the power of the swing travels from the ground, through your feet, into your legs and through you hips and gluteus, up into your lats, passing through your arms and shoots out of the bottom of the Kettlebell. When you are swinging, think of “hips and grips”. It’s also very important that you go between full relaxation and full tension. This is how to develop incredibly useful strength!
There are quite a few swing variations. There are the two hand swings, the one hand swing, hopping lateral swing, hand to hand swing, dual bell swing, dead start swing, walking swings and the much maligned bottoms up swing, to name a few. All of the same principles apply to all of the swing variations, however there are certain unique benefits to each variation. Check out the accompanying video demonstrating some of the variations of the swing.
Now its time to get off of the computer and start swinging!
What Kettlebells and the RKC have done for me. This year, I’ll be putting out my Dirty Dozen must have exercises in my monthly Blog. This will cover the 12 months of the year. However, I must digress a tad and let you know how this seemingly innocuous, yet at times evil black iron ball with a handle and the organization that promotes the training – The RKC has had an incredibly significant effect on my life. I know that it may seem impossible, yet locked inside that black chunk of iron is an incredible amount of emotion, sweat, enjoyment, pain, love, trial, tribulation and triumph.
At the beginning of my Kettlebell Journey, people thought that I was a “Crazed Man Possessed”. This may be all true, (wink, wink) but I was committed to spreading the word about kettlebells and the RKC. I personally had never felt physically better, more challenged and more excited about a training method in my over 35 years of serious training. People looked at me quizzically when I spoke, especially the skeptics of the Greater NY/NJ Metropolitan area. Yet I never let up.
One of the first major Kettlebell/RKC events that changed my life had to do with my first Kettlebell video. I had called my distributor, BayView Entertainment, to see how sales were going on my S.A.V.E. Self Defense video series and they informed me that they were doing a Kettlebell video with Amy Bento. I let them know that I had just become RKC Certified and they asked me to do an Advanced Kettlebell Workout video for their label. They then asked me to establish contact with Amy. We were doing our shoots back to back, so we got to talking during the months preceding the shoot. I wound up letting her use some of my kettlebells for her video. Over the next year, we established a friendship and wound up dating, getting married and being blessed with our daughter Adrienne. Amy became RKC certified and her latest Kettlebell Power video just received a Top 10 Rating from Fitness Magazine in February, 2013.
My oldest daughter, Nicole, a college freshman is pursing a degree in Exercise and Nutrition Science. Nicole is a Black Belt, HKC Certified and a staunch vegan with a popular recipe blog. At 99 lbs, she can do 100 snatches with the 12kg (25 lb) kettlebell in under 4 minutes. She does yoga, zumba and martial arts in college and ran track in high school. Fitness and sports have helped her through many tough times in her life and have become a big part of her persona and a way of life. She loves helping people live better.
My son Spencer is a poster child for Kettlebell Training. He is 16 years old, 6 foot 1 inch, weighing 210 lbs. His most recent throw of 58’ 8.5” put him at the #7 spot in the nation and #2 for all High School Juniors. One of the most amazing things is that he also wins and places in the 100 and 200 meter dashes and he is anywhere from 50 to 100 lbs lighter than the other Elite Status throwers. I do not have him do barbell back squats, but he can do a heel to butt Pistol (single leg squat) with the Beast (106 lb kettlebell) with either leg, easily! He has never done a max bench press or deadlift. He only started doing those exercises last year, and only for reps. He is a true product of Kettlebell and Bodyweight training.
As you can see, Kettlebells and the RKC has had an incredible, positive impact upon my family. Heck, I even have my 74 year old mom swinging bells three times a week! The RKC is more than a simple fitness organization. It’s an incredible network of people committed to helping others achieve better lives through our proven training methods. Everyone loves to share their knowledge and help others to succeed. We have such a great community with such a vast knowledge base. I’m so thrilled to be a part of it and I know that my life is immeasurably better ever since I made the decision to pick up a bell, sign up for my RKC and go for it. I urge others to do the same. You will get back your financial investment 100-Fold!
Yes, the RKC Certification is not inexpensive. So what? Is anything worth anything cheap? You get what you pay for. If you want to learn how to use Kettlebells from watching YouTube, GOOD LUCK! If you want to be part of an incredible organization of like-minded people, join the RKC Community, it will be worth every penny.
For more information on Kettlebell Training visit Dragon Door or www.kettlebellking.com
The “Dirty Dozen” Exercises:
More often than not, I get asked “Coach, what are the best exercises to do?” Or “If you were to choose “X” amount of exercise, what would they be?”. There are a plethora of great exercises and variations that my students and I truly love to do. However if I were to boil it down to several movements that are essential to any strength and conditioning regiment, I would choose 6 Kettlebell exercises and 6 Bodyweight movements.
I’m not saying that these are the ONLY exercises you should do but they all should be included in your workout regiment, no matter what your focus is. These exercises will increase strength, endurance, coordination, flexibility and durability like no others. These exercises will even improve your performance with your bench press, deadlift and bar squats.
Over the next year, I’ll be putting forth write ups accompanied by videos on the “Dirty Dozen”. We’ll discuss variations and progressions, especially when considering bodyweight. I’ll discuss each movement in depth and give my reasoning for the selection of each movement.
OK- here’s the list.
The Kettlebell Swing: This movement is the root of all Kettlebell Training and the great differentiator between Kettlebell based training and all other strength developing exercise systems. The Kettlebell Swing “reverse engineers” the practitioner’s hips by developing hip hinge through the pop and lock required to execute the movement properly.
The Front Squat: Single Rack or Bottoms up. Squatting is the most important movement for lower body and core strength. The Front Squat, by virtue of the position of the Kettlebell, this exercise requires the complete linkage of the upper and lower body. Tensioning of the trunk (core – tho I’m not a fan of the word) and maintaining the bell in the prescribed position requires considerable upper body engagement in addition to the tension in the trunk.
The Kettlebell Press: Pressing heavy weight above your head is very cool and extremely useful. The Kettlebell Press employs full range of motion, full body tension and active negative (downward) motion of the bell.
The Get-up: There is not a single movement that incorporates more muscles of the body than the Get up, also known as the Turkish Get Up or TGU. This incredible exercise is a signature movement of Kettlebell Training. Dynamic tension, balance, flexibility and body alignment are all developed with the TGU. The Clean: The Kettlebell Clean is used in a great deal of Kettlebell complexes, racking the kettlebell for Squats and Presses, but it’s an incredibly beneficial stand alone movement. A single arm clean taxes the stabilizers in the trunk as well as reinforcing the tensioning and relaxation.
The Kettlebell Snatch: This is my favorite of all Kettlebell movements. The Kettlebell Snatch is a ballistic movement that develops strength, endurance, speed, coordination and there is no question why this movement is used in both competitions and testing as a fitness barometer. The Kettlebell Snatch V02 Max workout is unmatched in maximizing one’s volume of oxygen uptake.
The Bridge: An ignored movement in American physical fitness. Very few athletes, except for wrestlers and gymnasts, utilize this crucial movement. The Bridge is exactly what it’s name connotes. The development of a strong, flexible spine linking together the upper torso with the trunk and lower limbs. Strong spinal erectors are essential to a healthy spine and unhindered movement. Key to athletics, active living and certain vocations – not to mention every day living!
Hanging Abdominals: One can do thousands of crunches and buy every gimmicky ab machine on the TV at 2:00am, nothing will develop your abdominals better than the Hanging the Abdominals. Lifting your legs up to your chest or your feet above your head develops and requires significant abdominal strength.
The Pistol (Single Leg Squat): The most difficult and beneficial leg exercise – period. The training enroute a butt to heel Pistol develops balance, trunk stability and incredible leg strength. There are weight lifters that can full squat 600 pounds, yet they collapse and fall over when attempting the Pistol.
The Hand Stand: This is the coolest of all bodyweight exercises. Nothing demonstrates full body control and balance than being able to invert yourself in the middle of a room and hold it there. The progressions building up to the Handstand develop incredible shoulder and trunk strength.
The Pull-up: There is no single exercise that demonstrates and develops upper body strength like the Pull-up. If you can do 20 pull-ups, you are in great shape. I challenge you to show me a person who can do 20 pull-ups and doesn’t have a 6-pack.
The Push-up: The Push-up is my favorite for several reasons. There are fun and challenging variations, the movement works not only your upper body but conditions your abdominals and reinforces the total body tensioning. The best thing about Push-ups is that you can do them virtually anywhere that there is a floor. Your bedroom, basement or office – anywhere. There is no good reason for you not to do them. Get started now!
There you have it. 12 exercises that no training regiment should be without. If you want to achieve ultimate, applicable strength and conditioning, your program needs to include these core “Dirty Dozen” exercises.
I’ve been asked “Is it possible to gain size with Bodyweight only exercise?” The short answer is “Yes”. It’s easier to accomplish upper body size gains with bodyweight training than with lower. Without meeting you personally or at least getting to know you better, it would be impossible to adequately provide you direct program recommendations. However, I will provide some guidelines and concepts.
First, a few “Don’ts”. Do not treat your calisthenics as a quasi-aerobic or simple warm up. Find challenging movements and utilize progressions, as employed in Coach Paul Wade’s book Convict Conditioning. Or view the video version with Max Shank.
Let’s address push-up, for example. I chose those to address, because you can do push-ups, even at the most difficult levels, anywhere and with no equipment. Remember to use progressions and be certain not to skip any levels in your progression. You may form “holes” on your training and hinder your ability to achieve your highest levels. Here are a couple of YouTube clips of me performing push-up variations.
Please make certain that you employ strict technique and do not rush through the movements. The combination of 10 second push-ups and spiderman push-ups have yielded some particularly favorable results.
As far as your legs and lower body are concerned. It is difficult reaching great size with simple bodyweight exercises. Squats and Pistol Squats (Single Leg) movements with result in a great deal of strength, but not a supper amount of size. Why is this so? You are on your legs all of the time and you need to substantially increase the resistive load to stimulate muscle hypertrophy. It’s most easily accomplished with adding weight to your exercises. I prefer kettlebells, because you can use much less weight for attain results than you would have to with barbells or machines. If you don’t have access to kettlebells or if you are adverse to using weights, employ a regiment of plyometric exercise. There is a great deal of plyometric literature and exercise programs available.
Coach Phil Ross
Phil Ross: I’m always looking for the best things available as far as training goes, especially concerning martial arts. I first heard about kettlebells at Frank Shamrock’s place in the Summer of 2005. He mentioned that he knew someone in San Jose who was training with these cool things called kettlebells. So, he showed me a few moves at his studio in San Jose and I thought they looked interesting. Then, one of my clients, Dr. Pat Roth—a very notable neural surgeon who operated on Rutgers football player Eric LaGrande—told me about Steve Freides. Steve had recently explained to Pat how kettlebells helped to cure his back. I just kept hearing a lot about kettlebells, so I went online, bought a set from Power Systems along with the Steve Cotter Encyclopedia of Kettlebell Lifting.
I researched a little deeper and discovered that Pavel and the RKC were the “Gold Standard” for kettlebell training and certifications. From there I found Dragon Door and signed up to test for the RKC. I attended the 3 day workshop in October, 2007 and became RKC certified.
Dragon Door: Was your interest in kettlebells mostly personal at this point, or were you beginning to use them with your clients and martial arts students?
Phil Ross: I wanted to learn as much as possible, so I started buying more videos like Enter the Kettlebell. I started training myself, because there weren’t too many available instructors yet. Steve was nearby, but our schedules didn’t work, and I was busy teaching at my own studio. I started adding kettlebells in some of my advanced classes, and with my advanced martial arts students—wrestlers and fighters—who either wanted to take it to the next level, or were competing.
After I got my RKC certification, I started a kettlebell-only class. Now I’m running eleven kettlebell classes a week. Every Saturday morning, I have a training class especially for our certified instructors. Seven people at my studio are certified HKCs and have been training with me for quite a while.
Dragon Door: In your opinion, what are some of the best kettlebell exercises for martial artists?
Phil Ross: I like alternating cleans, swings, snatches, and any squatting motion—there are so many different squats we can do. I also like push presses for martial arts.
Dragon Door: What benefits have you experienced from kettlebell training?
Phil Ross: First of all, learning about kettlebells has expanded my own training knowledge to an incredible degree. Physically—even though I just turned 50—I’m in much better condition now, far superior to when I was simply weight training.
Luckily, I was always into bodyweight training at some level, but incorporating kettlebells has just really made me strong to the bone. It’s enabled me to keep going as I get older. I have had over 300 fights (a low estimate), and injuries accumulate, but kettlebell training has helped me keep going and enabled me to keep training.
Dragon Door: Very cool. When we talked earlier, you mentioned some issues with your knees, has kettlebell training helped?
Phil Ross: Yes. On Saturday, I was single rack squatting with the Beast for sets of 5 reps. It’s helped me a lot. I’ve had knee surgery, and currently have a torn meniscus and a torn quad tendon, but I’m healing with kettlebells. I’m not going to have another operation; I’m just training the knee and restoring it. On the injured side, I can already do a body weight pistol squat, and the single rack squats mentioned earlier.
Dragon Door: Are you still competing in martial arts?
Phil Ross: I had an injury requiring an operation on four levels of my neck in December, 2011. My doctors told me not to compete anymore, but prior to that my last competition was in NAGA, the North American Grappling Association. I had won the Battle of the Beach, a nationally rated tournament in 2010. I was almost 48 and had five fights in that tournament. I went undefeated with no one scoring against me. I competed in both the 40 and up division and the 18-29 division, and actually won a title belt for the expert division.
Dragon Door: It’s impressive that you were able to compete against athletes of all ages.
Phil Ross: Yes, I would say weighing in at 184, I was definitely stronger than all but one other competitor who was 200lbs. He was huge! I was able to wear him out a little bit though, because my endurance was pretty good.
Dragon Door: You’ve been recently promoted to Master RKC, what do you see yourself doing next with kettlebells?
Phil Ross: I want to bring my knowledge and experience to the RKC and the Dragon Door community. I won’t be reinventing the wheel, but want to bring some nuances that will enhance our community’s training, especially for group training. Since I teach martial arts, I’m used to having people at different skill levels all in the same class. I might have a black belt and a white belt training side by side, but they could be doing different things. The same thing happens in my kettlebell classes, some students have been with me for five years, and some for just a few days.
As a martial arts instructor as well as a kettlebell instructor, I’ve developed the ability to train people of different levels in the same class. In an ideal world, we’d all have one-on-one sessions, or everyone in a class would be at the same stage in their training. But that’s not going to happen and there are only so many hours in a day.
Dragon Door: What’s a favorite strategy for working with a mixed-level group class?
Phil Ross: I’ve created a collection of over 150 different workouts, and have filmed 104 of them, which are in editing right now. The project is called the Kettlebell Workout Library. It’s going to be a great training tool, especially for instructors who will be able to help a new student on one workout, while having an intermediate and advanced student do two other workouts. I can have several different workouts going on at once in the same class by referencing the manual accompanying the video series. I’ve been working on the system by logging my routines, ever since I started training with kettlebells.
Dragon Door: That’s excellent. I remember the last time we talked, you mentioned a comic book project.
Phil Ross: A buddy of mine is Joe Antonacci, who was just inducted into the boxing hall of fame for his work as a ring announcer for Friday Night Fights on ESPN, HBO, fights in Atlantic City, and more. He purchased Joe Palooka, a comic book from the ’40s and ‘50s about a boxer. He’s now reinvented Joe Palooka as a mixed martial artist. Joe Antonacci enlisted me to collaborate on all the fight scenes. Mike Bullock is the prize winning comic book writer on the project, but they’ve brought me in as a specialist to help him make the fights appear realistic. Mike will ask me how a fight between Joe Palooka and a capoeira guy would go for example. Mike tells me who will win beforehand and I lay out the whole sequence of the fight so that it makes sense. In fact, UFC Magazine did a write up on the comic book series asked us how we make the fight scenes in the comic book so realistic, then they dedicated two paragraphs to me.
Right now, two issues of the comic are out, but we were recently purchased by IDW—the same company who brought GI Joe to the silver screen. So, they might be looking to do something similar with Joe Palooka. In issue five or six, I might be introduced as a character—a trainer with my kettlebell and RKC shirt. I’ve got to make sure that happens.
Dragon Door: We’ll definitely need to see that. You have a lot of exciting things going on, especially with the new RKC.
Phil Ross: I’m really excited about the new RKC. I think we’re putting together an excellent team—Max Shank, Andrew Read, and of course Andrea Du Cane. New leadership announcements are happening all the time, and everyone’s top shelf. I don’t have any complaints about the old RKC, I just think we can continue to make the system even better. I’m glad to be part of it.
Dragon Door: What other experiences are you bringing to your leadership position?
Phil Ross: I also have some experience with powerlifting. I’m not hugely involved in it, but did compete up until 1987 where I clean benched 370lbs with a pause at at a body weight of 179.9 lbs. I also achieved a 525lb squat, and 505lb deadlift at the same event. Powerlifting gave me a lot of perspective. I also won some Olympic lifting contests and bodybuilding contests too. I left bodybuilding because to me, training is all about health and sports, so I wasn’t going to use steroids to get bigger just to win the next contest.
Dragon Door: In addition to your studio you’re also doing online-based training?
Phil Ross: Yes, I’ve put together a very low cost beginner’s kettlebell training program, available at KettlebellKing.com. It has three technique sections, two warm-up and bodyweight sections, along with twelve beginner kettlebell workouts. There’s also an electronic manual included which is based on a program I put together for NASM.
Dragon Door: What inspired you to create the program?
Phil Ross: I want to reach as many people as possible since everyone can’t come to New Jersey and train in my studio. It’s also good for people who are still researching kettlebells before making a big commitment like an RKC Workshop. I wanted to make a way for people to get a solid base of knowledge, along with something to practice and reference. It will give them an idea of what they’re getting into, and the benefits that they can expect. I’m certain that once they go and practice the program for a few months, they’ll be started for life. After 90 days they’ll see the benefits.
Something else I’m bringing to the RKC is my Fit to Fight program, it’s based on my SAVE (Surviving A Violent Environment) program. SAVE is a self defense fitness program which was rated number one several times by independent video reviewers, actually beating out Krav Maga, and Dillman’s pressure point system. It has its own certification process, and I just finished teaching it to a group of phys ed teachers at one of the local high schools. They’re going to use it as a unit for their phys ed classes.
The Fit 2 Fight concept is based on martial arts self defense movements coupled with bodyweight exercises. Max Shank and I are collaborating on this project, I’m providing the martial arts techniques and he’s supplying the bodyweight exercises and associated regimens.
Dragon Door: That’s very exciting, and we’re all looking forward to see how you bring your unique style to your new leadership role.
Phil Ross: I can’t wait to lead my first RKC Certification Workshop, I think it’s a great opportunity. In the past five plus years, I’ve put a lot into training with kettlebells. I’m looking forward to see who else is going to be with the RKC and how we all develop it even further.
I have been in the Combat Arts for over 35 years. I’ve won numerous State and National Titles, competed in International Competitions and as a Professional.I was a Department of Criminal Justice Defensive Tactics Instructor and a Licensed Body Guard. I am an NJ State Licensed MMA Trainer, Promoter, et al. Despite the fact that I have won over 300 fights and have Black Belts and Instructorships in 6 styles of Martial Arts: I HAVE YET TO HAVE MY HANDS REGISTERED AS LETHAL WEAPONS. I have also promoted dozens of students to the level of Black Belt. Not once was there a requirement for licensure of their hands. Laughable.
The fact that these “Masters” dupe their students into believing that they need to register their hands speaks volumes about the Instructor, system and school that they run. Why do they feel the need to perpetuate this myth? Lying to their students and instilling in them a false sense of security and accomplishment; only for the purposes of financial gain? It’s appalling!
Before you spend your hard earned money and jeopardize the integrity of your children’s training, check into the system and the instructor of the school that you want to sign your child up at. There are plenty of good schools in the area, but there are enough unscrupulous “Masters” out there to make it reasonable to be wary of their practices.
Watch a class and review the class curriculum. Make certain that all phases of the martial arts are addressed; striking, blocking, grappling, self defense, fitness, etc…Inquire about the testing procedure. Make certain that the students have a set of tasks that need to be performed with reasonable proficiency.
Good luck in your training!