This section will hopefully answer most of the questions not already answered in the other sections.

Table of Contents

  1. Why doesn't Northern Crane accept students under the age of twelve?
  2. Why doesn't Northern Crane give out the location of its training facility or any martial arts program pricing on this website? 
  3. Which martial art offered by Northern Crane would suit my needs better? 
  4. Why doesn't Northern Crane offer Self-Defense Seminars?      
  5. What is it about Northern Crane that sets it apart from the rest? 

Why doesn't Northern Crane accept students under the age of twelve?

Psychologically, the age of twelve has been shown to be the age of 'reason'. Historically this has also been the age when youth have started their training in martial arts and or vigorous sports training, both in the traditions of the East and the West. It has only been since the 1970's (in popular sports) and 1980's (in martial arts) that this trend has been broken....and it has been broken to the detriment of the emotional and physical health and well-being of children. Worse, it has been broken primarily for one reason - money.

As parents we want only the best for our children. We have, unfortunately been fooled by mass marketers and advertisers and the sports and media industries for their financial gain. The popular saying goes something like this: "The younger you start your child in acquiring sports skills, the better!" We are just now starting to realize that our children have been used, and not altruistically! 

***The following information is in no way meant to offend anyone. We are simply stating the facts based on solid evidence and professional experience formed over more than 50 years of martial arts practice and more than 30 years of educating in it. We will also share with you information provided by many highly regarded professionals in related fields. Each parent must make up their own mind about their own child and their child's best interests. We are simply sharing valuable information here to help parents make an informed decision before placing children in youth martial arts or any other vigorous youth sports program.***

Please keep in mind that when we chose not to accept children under the age of 12 it was because we deeply felt that it may not be the right thing to do by your child. 



It has been estimated that 80% of the martial arts instruction in the United States is in the 3 to 8 year old market. Also, the average dropout age in the martial arts is 7! Yet the value of a good martial arts education is best suited for a student during adolescence, well after the age of 7.

So why do we at Northern Crane bypass most of this lucrative market. The answer is simple, we don't want to take your money knowing that doing so will most likely do more harm than good to your child.

Although there are no hard and fast rules, we at Northern Crane as well as many physicians understand that the majority of children:

1. Under twelve years years of age children do not have the emotional maturity and social skills necessary to handle issues presented in real martial arts training, any other training would be either fraudulent or severely watered down.

2. Most children who start training in martial arts do not stay long enough in real martial arts programs to be truly beneficial to the development of the child. National statistics state that 99% of all children who start training under the age of eight quit during their initial 3 to 6 months of training (the majority after just a handful of classes or less). Between the age of 8 and 12 the drop out rate is not as bad but is still substantial (at around 85%) during their first few months of training.

3. The growth plates of children’s bones before adolescence are too immature and susceptible to permanent damage if injured or over-stressed by frequent rigorous or repetitive physical training. It isn't until adolescence that bones and joints are finally strong and well formed enough for continuous vigorous activity.

4. Before the age of twelve most children cannot truly grasp the ethics of personal or civil defense, in other words: They have a hard time understanding when it is appropriate to use versus not use the physical self-defense skills they have learned.

5. True martial arts training is tough at any age. It is much too much to ask a pre-adolescent child to train at a level necessary to attain any real understanding of, or to have any realistic competence in self-defense skill, and if it is unrealistic to expect that kind of competence, then why subject the child to it in the first place. There are some things young children are just not ready for.

For example, would a responsible parent let a 10 year old drive the family car? Driving, then, is commonly considered to be a skill we do not allow our children to possess. Why? Surely not because they can't physically drive or learn to do so. Many children at the age of 10 or 11 are tall enough, taller than some adults and can certainly acquire the physical skills. Yet, we still don't allow them to do so because our society and our government both understand that children are definitely not ready for the critical decisions, legal and financial responsibilities and liabilities associated with driving. 

Traditionally in the Orient and in the West before the mass marketing of martial arts began in the 1980's, no one under the age of 12 was ever admitted into martial arts training.

Northern Crane's Karate program is designed to promote a healthy, strong body and mind. This program is however not recommended until around the age of 12, the beginning of adolescence.

It is during adolescence that a child is usually confronted with the  unhealthy peer pressures to indulge in drugs, tobacco, alcohol and promiscuous behavior. It is also during these precious teen-age years that they typically start to lose interest in their academic studies, just when they need to focus even more on them in order to qualify for admission in the best possible colleges or professional training institutions.

It is also during adolescence that they should be involved in vigorous physical training that will determine their adult constitution, health habits, bone density levels, etc. Karate is one of the best health practices to participate in since they can continue to practice and enjoy it and its benefits for a lifetime and not just for a relatively short competitive collegiate sports career.

The June 7th, 2004 issue of U.S. News & World Report Cover Story closely re-iterated our issues concerning children and organized sports. Children who are involved in organized sports before the age of adolescence have an incredible drop out and injury rate. Many talented athletes burn out or are severely injured in training or competition before high school age! Many are physically and or psychologically damaged for life because of it. Here is the breakdown:

From the June 7, 2004 U.S. News & World Report pp.52-53:*

Using data from nationally affiliated Basketball leagues (many other sports come in at the same ratios or even worse - including sport Karate), they estimate that the total number of fourth-grade boys playing organized Basketball was about 475,000. At the same time, the team (Dan Doyle's team - see below) found, only 87,000 teens were playing basketball as seniors in high school. Of the 87,000, they say 1,560 will win Division I college scholarships, 1,350 will get Division II scholarships, and 1,400 more will play at Division III schools. And of those 4,310, about 30 will make it to the National Basketball Association. An additional 130 will play Professional Basketball in Europe.

In Soccer, the odds are even worse, because so many colleges recruit foreign players. "It's not a worthy objective at the fourth- or fifth- or sixth- grade level," Doyle says (Dan Doyle - author of The Encyclopedia of Sports Parenting published in 2005) "which is what some of these coaches are telling parents": 

From AMAZON: For more than a decade, former Basketball coach Dan Doyle has been traveling the country, speaking to student-athletes and their parents about their involvement in and dedication to every sport imaginable. As founder and executive director of the Institute of International Sport at the University of Rhode Island, Doyle has attended his fair share of sporting events and has heard countless stories about confrontations taking place on and off the court between coaches, players, parents, and even fans.

"You know, If you don't play for me you're not going to get into college." And Tennis? Doyle found that there are approximately 3 million males between 10 and 18 world-wide aspiring to be top Tennis players. How many make money on the pro circuit? 175. "The professional aspiration is just crazy."

Equally crazy, experts say, is the idea that stars can be created by starting early. "It doesn't matter when you start a sport. If you start at 3, it doesn't necessarily help," says Paul Stricker, a pediatric sports medicine specialist in San Diego...."often it's the late bloomers who turn into stars....I've seen at least a 30 to 40 percent increase in overuse injuries like stress fractures and tendonitis. Those are things we just didn't see much in kids previously....The bones break down faster than they can build up...The growth plate gets pulled apart like an Oreo cookie."

The American Academy of Pediatrics states: "Those who participate in sports and specialize (involved in organized and competitive sports) only after reaching the age of puberty tend to be more consistent performers, have fewer injuries, and adhere to sports play longer than those who specialize early.

The chances of your child receiving any kind of college scholarship for sports: 


So just let your little boy or girl enjoy playing freely without any kind of overly structured or competitive pressure until they are around 12. Let them just have fun with other kids with commonsense but minimal supervision, they need this more than you think. Creativity and socialization skills are best developed this way.

*Unfortunately, the statistics published in 2004 have become significantly worse over the last 17 years.  

Back to Top

Why doesn't Northern Crane give out the location of its training facility (dojo) or any martial arts pricing on this website?

We do not disclose the location of our training facility (dojo) on the website because our members like training in privacy. We do not like impromptu visitors dropping in during a training session.

We do not give out pricing information unless personally requested because we do not believe that monetary costs should be the most important aspect in selecting a martial arts school. Much more important should be features such as: Is this art form and this instructor and curriculum compatible with what I am looking for?

If you are not very knowledgeable about martial arts training this can be a daunting task. The only sincere advice we can give is to comparison shop by observing at least one complete class at each of the schools you may be considering. Incidentally, popularity does not equal quality. Just because a school has a lot of students does not mean that what they are teaching is high quality. There are a number of reasons why a school can be popular such as its location, marketing, advertising, etc. Before the mass marketing of the martial arts began it was very typical for authentic martial arts teachers to have less than a dozen students at any given time, this included most of the greatest historic masters of the martial arts.  

Also keep in mind that if it is a sports program you are considering there will be additional costs involved that may be sizeable but not actually part of the direct costs. Tournament fees and travel expenses can actually be more expensive than tuition costs. Annual contracts can also make that 'free' uniform that may have come with membership quite expensive if you decide that the program is not a good fit after all.

If you have decided that our program and training approach suits you, we will gladly supply you with our affordable pricing, without a contract! When you compare the value of the curriculum offered at Northern Crane to the curriculums of others we know we will fare rather well. Our curriculum is rich in information, authentically sourced and well taught. 

You will be happiest in the long term with a well-informed decision made by comparing the content of the curriculums offered versus the cost for the curriculums offered.  

Back to Top

Which Martial Art offered by Northern Crane would suit my needs better?

The Karate curriculum is the only one offered to minors at Northern Crane. We recommend the Karate Program right up to the age of 50. If you are over fifty years old or have had very little recent experience (within the last five years) in a vigorous athletic activity we may recommend the Tai Chi Chuan program. Northern Crane however only instructs in Tai Chi as a Martial Art, not as just a holistic 'exercise' program. Martial applications are taught and practiced in these classes.

If you are still unsure, we suggest you examine your current physical fitness level. The Karate program is definitely more rigorous. The Tai Chi Chuan program although still physically demanding, is much less vigorous, yet it can be very beneficial for those with many kinds of cardiovascular medical concerns. If you still can’t make up your mind, watch a class of each. Then decide which one suits you best.

In closing, we are interested in teaching this spectacular art form as a MARTIAL ART, not as an exercise program. We have found that when the martial aspect is removed from it, Tai Chi Chuan has very little difference in health and fitness benefits than any other exercise program such as Ball Room Dancing, Soft Aerobics, jogging or power walking. Although we do not mean to demean any other exercise program, as a matter of fact they can be a lot of fun and effective ways of getting healthy and in shape, it is however the unique razor sharp mindfulness acquired from a warrior's mindset that sets Tai Chi Chuan training (and or any authentic martial arts training) apart from any of these other programs.   

Back to Top

Why doesn't Northern Crane offer Self-Defense Seminars?

We at the Northern Crane Martial Association have come to the realization from over 30 years of teaching experience that self-defense skills need to be practiced frequently and over an extended period of time in order to become viable. 'Muscle Memory' cannot be created over a short period of time and it is this kind of automatic response in a critical situation that is essential for survival. 

This is the same reasoning or logic that is used by insurance companies in setting automotive insurance premium rates. Premiums tend to be high for the first few years because statistically a new driver is less likely due to the lack of experience in the driver's seat to maneuver correctly to avoid an avoidable accident when compared to a seasoned driver.... Muscle Memory!

Back to Top

What is it about Northern Crane that sets it apart from the rest?

First of all, the Northern Crane Martial Arts Association is not a business and it is not operated as one. Instead, the word 'club' could be used to describe how the organization is operated. We could care less about profits and losses, marketing, advertising or whether we have many or just a few members. We are only limited by space and can safely and comfortably accommodate only a few individuals in our training facility (dojo) at any given time so we are not concerned about having a lot of students. 

We do not have any young children training at the facility, so we can concentrate on many survival tactics, techniques and strategies that are not appropriate for them to be exposed to.

Our members are serious students of the martial arts. Their concern is about their survival skills, not winning matches or tournaments. We are strictly interested in researching, training in and teaching other like minded individuals these survival fighting skills. 

Northern Crane’s curriculum is infused with a wealth of anatomical and acupressure/acupuncture knowledge. The fundamental oriental concept of Qi energy and its anatomical meridians and acu-point (tsubo) information is the basis of oriental hand or needle healing arts and coincidentally so are traditional Oriental martial striking and grappling arts. Sensei Perez has over 30 years of Japanese acupressure Shiatsu massage experience. More importantly, this holistic healing art-form is taught to our advanced students, at no extra cost!

Our non-competitive training approach is not only more traditional but also a much more realistic approach to self-esteem building in adolescents. It also allows the curriculum at Northern Crane to emphasize real-world self-defense needs that are usually not a meaningful part of a competition or sport martial arts curriculum. Sports curriculums, by definition must stay within competition / sport rules. Unfortunately many of the most effective and devastating survival self-defense techniques are not allowed in sports or competition due to safety concerns, therefore for the most part are either not taught or very little emphasis is placed on them to the detriment of developing the 'muscle memory' or automatic reflex responses necessary for survival.

Lastly, because many Oriental societies are still somewhat hierarchic due to the feudalistic systems which were in place well into the 20th Century, a form of this Oriental hierarchic structure is also the norm in many martial arts schools. They do not translate well into our modern western society. Martial arts schools that require their students to strictly conform to these old Oriental hierarchic social structures introduced through the use of many archaic rules of 'etiquette' re-enforce this not-so-subtle subservient 'pecking order' system. The use of the belt rank system as a form of hierarchic social class order in a dojo is an abuse of that system that adversely affect the relationships that exists between a teacher and students and between students themselves. Martial arts schools that incorporate these Oriental feudal-like hierarchic structures risk being misunderstood by an American student base.

These schools are what we at Northern Crane refer to as 'cult' schools. Why? Because there is a fine line between healthy admiration for acquired skill and knowledge and its unhealthy twin - idolization. In our opinion, 'cult' schools cross that line.  This practice can become dangerous if a narcissistically inclined individual becomes immersed in this type of hierarchic culture. The making and arming of a Sociopath should be the last thing a martial arts program delivers into the local community.*

One of the major reasons the Northern Crane Martial Arts Association separated itself from Sensei Kise's Matsumura Seito Shorinryu organization, of which it had been a member of for many years, was because this type of cultism was not just being exhibited more and more but actually promoted and endorsed by many Sensei in the organization, especially Greg Lazarus, Sensei Kise's U.S. East Coast director in his Dover, New Hampshire dojo. Sensei Perez's disagreements with Sensei Lazarus were due to these issues! **

*On August 14, 2014, A criminal court in New Hampshire handed down the maximum sentence to 31 year old Seth Mazzaglia. Mazzaglia was the assistant instructor of Bob Modee, himself a senior student of Greg Lazarus and the sensei of the Kittery Ken Shin Kan Karate Dojo since Sensei Perez left it in 1990. Mazzaglia was convicted for the brutal sexual murder of 19 year old Elizabeth "Lizzi" Marriott, a student at the University of New Hampshire.

**On July 11, 2015 the Okinawa Shorinryu Matsumura Orthodox (Seito) Karate and Kobudo Federation issued an official statement on their website; that as of June 15th, 2015 they had no interest in being further involved with Greg Lazarus in any way. 

Back to Top

Copyright © 2003  By Phil Perez [Northern Crane]. All rights reserved.