Tai Chi and Kung Fu for Children

You'll see your child build strength and flexibility.

Frequently Asked Questions

I’ve been teaching martial arts for a long time, and I hear many of the same questions from parents. Here are the some of the most common:

Can martial arts turn my child into a bully?

No. Martial arts training will do just the opposite. Children are taught respect, tolerance, harmony and compassion. The use of physical force is always reserved as a last resort, and only for self-defense.

My child has special needs. Can your program help?

We have students with ADHD, mild autism, physical disabilities, and other challenges. Martial arts is one of the best activities for children with challenges.

Is your school’s emphasis on competition and winning trophies, or is it on the development of my child?

Your child’s development always comes first. And unlike with most sports teams, there are no bench warmers sitting on the sidelines. Every student participates fully in every class.

My child has tried other activities like music and sports teams, but always quits after a short period. What happens if my child wants to quit martial arts?

We understand the psychology of children, and we use proven methods to motivate children that even many educators and coaches are not aware of. Usually children want to quit an activity because of one of four reasons:

1. They find it is too hard early on and they become discouraged and intimidated.

2. They find it is too easy and lacks challenges, leading to boredom.

3. Something negative happens with a classmate or the instructor and the student prefers to avoid the class rather than resolve the issue.

4. They fail to get encouragement and participation from both the instructor and the parent. With our program, kids get tons of encouragement and feedback, and they really have a blast in the classes.

In fact, while the average retention rate for sports teams and other activities is under 10%, almost 80% of our students choose to renew!

A Message From Sifu Wes Adams, Founder and Head Instructor


Dear Parent,

Wouldn’t it be great if your child could develop amazing self-discipline, a positive attitude, incredible focus and concentration, and an unstoppable “can-do” level of confidence. Well here’s some great news: Children are developing these wonderful traits and more every day through our martial arts program at Columbia Tai Chi and Kung Fu Center!

Experts agree that sticking with a high-quality, traditional martial arts program over the long term is one of the very best ways to help children gain these positive traits that are essential for success in school, at home, and in life. In Columbia Tai Chi and Kung Fu Center’s program, your child will achieve these traits plus:

  • Real Self-Defense
  • Greater Respect for Others
  • More strength and Flexibility
  • Advanced Athletic Skills and Coordination
  • Better Focus and Concentration
  • Weight Loss and Fitness
  • Stress Management
  • Self-Confidence
  • Anti-Bullying Strategies
  • Better Grades and Study Habits
  • Improved Health and Energy
  • Tons of Fun!!

I know your child can achieve these benefits from the arts that we teach here because thousands of children already have. Continue reading to learn more, or you can register for your Introductory Visit to schedule your child for a FREE week of classes to try it out!

Why we’re one of the best martial arts schools in the area

Our students achieve life-changing positive results because we focus on the inner teachings of traditional martial arts: The development of a clear mind, healthy body and positive spirit. In keeping with the 1500-year-old traditions of Chinese Tai Chi and Kung Fu—the same styles that Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan made famous and that gave rise to the popular Kung Fu Panda movies —our school emphasizes the cultivation of:

  • Respect
  • Wisdom
  • Harmony
  • Compassion
  • Bravery
  • Confidence

Of course our Martial Arts Program also teaches kids great self-defense and combat skills. But at Columbia Tai Chi and Kung Fu Center, combat skills are never regarded as more important than the cultivation and improvement of one’s character. We teach our students never to use or display their self-defense skills unnecessarily. As head instructor I’m often asked if I’ve ever had to use my martial arts skills.

My answer? I use my martial arts skills every day! No, not the fighting part. I haven’t had a physical confrontation outside of the ring since I took up martial arts over 20 years ago. But each day I enjoy reduced stress, greater relaxation, improved physical fitness, better tolerance and understanding, a more positive and generous spirit, and so much more. And these skills are a direct result of my martial arts training. Here’s a short Chinese story that we teach our students to help them understand how and when to use their skills correctly:

One day a famous kung fu master was visited by another famous master. The visiting master asked how his friend’s three sons were progressing in their kung fu training. The host decided to let his sons display their skills for the visitor, one at a time starting with the youngest son. The host took a huge clay pot that weighed close to a hundred pounds and hid it propped up above the half-opened door. When the door would open the pot would fall, testing the son’s reflexes and response.

The father called out, “Youngest son, I have a visitor I would like you to come meet.” “Yes father,” replied the youngest son. He came running into the room, swinging the door wide open. The huge pot came crashing down towards him, but just at the last moment the son saw it. He jumped in the air, spun around and hit the pot with a fancy spinning kick, breaking it into dozens of pieces. “Very impressive,” said the visiting master. “Now let’s see how your middle son is doing.” They cleaned up the pieces of the pot and set a new one atop the door. “Middle son,” called the father, “Please come greet my guest.” “Yes father,” replied the middle son. He too came running into the room, and like the youngest son he saw the pot falling at just the last moment. His response was swift and graceful: He stepped back, caught the large pot in his arms, gently set it down and while bowing said, “I’m please to meet you, sir.” “Ah,” said the visiting master, “An excellent display of martial arts skill. I hope your youngest son will also achieve that level some day. Now, let us test your eldest son’s skill.”

At that point they put the big clay pot back up atop the door. The father called out, “Eldest son, I have a visitor I want you to come meet.” There was no reply. “Eldest son,” he repeated, “do not be rude. Come greet my guest right now. Suddenly from behind the two masters a voice responded, “Pleased to meet you, sir.” As the two masters turned around, the eldest son was bowing politely. He had come in through the window, avoiding the pot altogether. “Now there,” said the visitor, “is a true master in the making.”

This story teaches that fighting and self-defense skills are not to be displayed arrogantly or unnecessarily, and that the wisdom and sensitivity one learns from martial arts training can help avoid conflicts before they even arise. We teach our students many stories like this one because the children love stories—and they learn valuable lessons that stay with them for life.

Our Teaching Approach

Though all martial arts schools teach kids how to kick, punch, block and grapple we focus on the inner teachings of martial arts: the development of a strong mind, body and spirit. I’ve been teaching in one way or another for even longer than I’ve been doing martial arts–both as an adult and children’s instructor under my martial arts teachers, and even before that as a tutor for children with learning disabilities. I can speak with some authority when I say that your child’s biggest challenge likely doesn’t come from physical threats at school or in the neighborhood (although our martial arts classes will give your child the confidence and skills to cope with that).  The biggest challenge comes instead from battling the forces within.

Often your child’s greatest enemy is his or her own lack of confidence, self-discipline and self-esteem. I’ve watched more than one student start out painfully shy and insecure, eyes glued to the floor, afraid to make a move. As they’re guided and nurtured over the days and weeks and months, as they start to achieve real progress and feel their own strength, they’re like butterflies emerging from cocoons. In fact, many of the most popular young instructors that I’ve seen were themselves once hopelessly shy students in my teacher’s children’s program!

One of my favorite success stories concerns a boy with autism who I taught at my teacher’s school years ago. He acted out at home and at school, getting extremely angry and hitting other children. His parents were in despair. It might seem paradoxical that a child with hitting problems could find the answer in martial arts, but he did. He learned that if he couldn’t control his impulses he couldn’t attend the classes he clearly loved. The staff worked closely with him and his parents and we’re all delighted to see how much he’s progressed. In fact, he is often named Student of the Month!

Optimal Class Structure

Our children’s classes are tiered by age groups and by level of experience taught in a “semi-private” style to ensure that each child progresses individually at his or her optimum pace.  We have Young Dragons classes for 6-12 year olds with additional class time for the 9-12 year old Young Dragons (13 and up attend our Adult classes). Classes are conveniently offered throughout the week and weekends for you to choose from.

Top Martial Arts Styles

The styles we teach include China’s 1500-year-old Tai Chi and Shaolin Kung Fu, which are the “grandparents” of East Asian martial arts, as well as Kenpo Karate and grappling. If you’ve seen martial arts action movies with Bruce Lee or Jackie Chan, or some of the breathtaking martial arts dramas such as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon or Jet Li’s Fearless then you’re already aware of the power and beauty of Kung Fu.

A recent Discovery Channel documentary on martial arts styles chose Kung Fu as the Number One style in existence! Today nearly every strip mall has a commercial Tae Kwon Do or Karate school, but it remains difficult to find authentic and traditional Tai Chi and Kung Fu training with their rich history and true mind, body and spirit emphasis. Columbia Tai Chi and Kung Fu Center is one of the few schools in the Carolinas to offer such genuine Kung Fu.

When your child enrolls in our program, he or she will be training as part of a highly-motivated and dedicated group of children.

We don’t accept students who aren’t dedicated, motivated and enthusiastic about martial arts training. Martial arts is a full-time, family-owned business for us. We could easily take in much more revenue if we accepted any student who walked in off the street. Most martial arts schools do just that: They’ll take anyone’s money. We carefully screen every application, and do our best to weed out the non-serious students and families. Why? Because your child can’t reach his or her full potential without the support and example of other highly dedicated students.

I understand that Columbia Tai Chi and Kung Fu Centercan’t be the right school for everyone

It’s possible that we are not the kind of martial arts school that some parents are seeking for their child. We’re not a babysitting service, nor do we give away belts to anyone who pays tuition. Your child will have to work hard at real martial arts training in our classes, and must develop the physical, mental and emotional qualities that a skilled martial artist is known for. We are a top quality, full-time school offering authentic martial arts at a great value. We are competitively priced with other quality full-time martial arts schools.

See All That’s Included in Our Children’s Martial Arts Program

Your family will enjoy a number of benefits that go far beyond just the great classes we teach.

A Carefully Developed Curriculum

Your child will follow a carefully thought out curriculum that leads all the way to the highest levels of martial arts skill. We’d be delighted to show you exactly how we will help your child develop the mental, physical and emotional skills needed to advance all the way from novice up to advanced levels of knowledge and skill!  Boys and girls who stick with this training long-term stand head and shoulders above their peers when it comes to confidence, self-esteem, success skills, leadership skills and a positive view of themselves and the world around them. (And frankly, so do the parents who train along side their children.)

Think how important that confidence and positive self-image are for kids to be able to say “No” to the negative peer pressures they face every day, and “Yes” to the positive challenges that lead to success in life. Martial arts really can change your child’s life forever! As a parent you are always welcome and encouraged to join the classes with your child. Even if you choose not to participate you can sit right inside the studios and carefully observe your child’s class.

All classes are held at 2761 Rosewood Drive.

If you live in West Columbia, Lexington, Blythewood, Irmo, Cayce, or any other area around Columbia, don’t worry, we have many children taking classes here from your area, and with our many flexible class times, you will be able to find times that work for you. If you live in West Columbia, Lexington, Blythewood, Irmo or Cayce but work in Columbia, then it’s even easier because we have many evening class times—so don’t let distance keep you from improving your child’s mind and body with Tai Chi and Kung Fu!