In this article, I will talk about the best martial arts for kids, the benefits of martial arts for your kids, and what about safety concerns about martial arts and kids.
Martial arts are generally very suitable for kids. Most of the gyms that have a program adapted to kids are very flexible and additionally adaptable.
Meaning, they will not unnecessarily force and strain your kids, but will rather train them slowly so that they enjoy the training sessions.
Best Martial Arts for Kids
Worth noticing is that the list is not ordered. There are a lot of martial arts that are perfect for kids.
Choosing the right martial art largely depends on which is the most fun for your kid.
One more thing before I suggest you few martial arts that are good for your kids. Here are the four tips you need to take into the account when choosing a school where you will sign in your kid to train a martial art:
- Check out the instructor. Look on the internet, ask someone who has been to the class, etc. You have to be sure that the instructor knows how to work with the kids!
- Check out the bathrooms and mats. The area where your kid will train has to be clean. It’s hard to spot if mats are not clean, but if the bathrooms are not clean, isn’t there a big chance that mats are as well?
- Be sure to have good communication with the school. Have a constant update on how your kid is progressing.
- Take a look at the prices. Schools usually have a monthly contract. Check out if there are any additional costs.
Now that you know what you have to look at, let’s list down the martial arts.
When talking about striking based martial arts, taekwondo is probably the first choice. Why?
Although there is striking involved, the amount of contact is nowhere near sports like boxing, kickboxing, Muay Thai.
Because of that, the chance of injury in taekwondo is significantly lower than in the aforementioned martial arts.
Taekwondo is kick based (there is less punching involved). Your kid will learn how to kick with a perfect technique, but there probably won’t be any sparring involved.
There is a lot of pad hitting and throwing kicks at the instructor, but no full one on one contact with the other kids.
Because of the emphasis on kicking, taekwondo is one of the best options to improve your kid’s mobility and flexibility, especially in the lower part of the body.
If you want to learn more about Taekwondo for kids, here is the article I wrote.
The art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu depends on the age of your kid a lot. It is an extremely complex grappling martial art.
Jiu-Jitsu doesn’t involve any striking but is based on submissions (you have to put your opponent in a choke, joint-lock, etc.).
Why do I say that it depends on your kid’s age? Because Jiu-Jitsu is like chess with your body.
There is a lot of different moves, submissions, positions, so it might be difficult for a young kid to know such complex systems.
It’s hard to explicitly give an age, but somewhere around 7 to 8 is a good age to start with Jiu-Jitsu. If your kid is younger, it might be difficult for them to overcome all the different techniques.
Judo might be the best option if you want a martial art that doesn’t include striking. It contains throws, takedowns, submissions with a choke or a joint-lock.
Judo will also teach your kid how to fall the right way which can help him a lot when translating to some other martial arts like wrestling or jiu-jitsu.
It is also a very good option because there is a really small chance of an injury. Yes, it seems that the falls can be dangerous, but a good instructor will teach your kid how to fall the right way at the beginning.
There is also no damage to the head because of the lack of striking.
When it comes to self-defense, judo is an incredible martial art.
It will teach your kid how to defend against a bigger bully. Knowing some takedowns and throws, your kid should be able to deflect the attacker and run away.
And the last thing, judo is really fun. Your kid will very likely like all the throws and takedowns.
It is also easy to learn the fundamentals and practice them a lot with the other kids at the class.
Those techniques are something that kids really seem to enjoy, and also, as I said, there is a really small chance of an injury in the process.
Wrestling is very similar to judo. There is no striking involved so it is also a very good option if you want a non-striking martial art for your kid.
Wrestling might be the best option to get your kid in shape. It is probably the best foundation for building strength and condition.
12 Benefits of Martial Arts for Kids
Now, let us examine some of the major benefits of martial arts for the youngest practitioners:
1. It is great for kids!
One of the best things about martial arts is that they very broad and includes a lot of styles and techniques, which means that anyone – even the youngest of kids – can find something that fits them.
Martial arts usually have three basic elements that they teach their practitioners, which means that whether you prefer to just learn the technical aspects, you want to fight or master the forms – you’ll certainly find something that suits your interests and preferences.
Also, because of this width, they can be practiced by practically anyone, even kids.
The general benefits of sports for kids are well known, but since martial arts teach so much more, it is pretty clear why they are so beneficial for kids.
This is also good because you can adapt your training according to your preferences and it doesn’t matter at what age you start, because it’s never too late to do it.
2. Martial arts help prepare kids for real-life situations
Martial arts are diversified, but they don’t usually have such essential differences, at least in the fighting aspect of the training.
But, unlike some disciplines and even combat sports, martial arts are more realistic and can prepare you for more real-life situations.
You probably won’t, for example, enter into a real-life situation where you’ll use your karate skills in the same way you use them during practice, but, the other hand, martial arts are so diverse that they will surely, at one point or another, imitate a real-life situation better than the most thing that comes to mind at one point.
Since it prepares you for a real-life situation, it is certainly more effective than some other similar disciplines.
This is important for kids because they will learn to apply their knowledge from an earlier age.
3. Martial arts are the perfect full body workout for your kid
Martial arts are not just a good fighting preparation, they are also great for a workout.
Since a lot of martial arts disciplines use specific training techniques that activate your whole body, it’s only logical that martial arts provide an excellent full-body workout for your child.
They will activate and engage every part of your body – from head to toe – and will burn a lot of calories per one-hour session for you (depending on the art)! This is especially important if your child is overweight.
4. Martial arts teaches kids how to defend themselves
Although self-defense is – directly or indirectly – a part of a vast majority of combat sports and martial arts, the latter usually offers a more precise, complete, and focused approach to self-defense than the former (with some exceptions).
Due to the fact that martial arts rely heavily on a complete combat philosophy, they will teach you a lot of different defensive (and offensive) techniques, which means that you can learn a variety of different self-defense techniques by training martial arts.
If you relate this aspect to the one mentioned in point 2, you will quickly deduce that the realism of martial arts is an excellent addition to the self-defense techniques you’ll certainly want to learn, because – it’s better to be safe than sorry.
The good thing is that martial arts are also adapted for kids in this aspect also, meaning that kids will learn simpler self-defense techniques before moving on to more complex ones at a later stage.
5. Your kid will build strength with martial arts
Due to the fact that martial arts can be both demanding and physically straining (keeping in mind the fact that it is adapted for younger kids), along with the fact that most kids start off slowly and then work until they reach the desired level, we can conclude that martial arts will certainly elevate your child’s strength, along with other things.
Martial arts are good because they enable you to work and upgrade a child’s strength in a relatively short period of time.
So, if you think it is good for your child to become stronger, while also enjoying and learning new things, martial arts are definitely something you should consider for them.
6. Martial arts build competitive spirit
Although your child doesn’t have to become a professional fighter, martial arts will certainly try to increase your child’s competitive spirit and if you allow them to do so, they will succeed.
Martial arts are generally very competitive and that kind of spirit doesn’t come just with professional fighting. It comes from the beginning, from the starting point of a martial arts career – the training arena.
So, whether you want it or not, martial arts will train your child to want to be better, to actually be better.
Of course, it’s up to them how they’re going to use that competitive spirit – they can become pros or just recreational sportsmen later on – but their competitive spirit will certainly increase and you can easily translate that into other fields of life.
7. Martial arts teaches respect
Although martial arts are usually perceived as aggressive, brutal, and vulgar, with a lot of trash talking, it actually teaches you how to respect your opponent and the rules of the game, which is especially typical for most Oriental martial arts.
To be frank, this is a thing all combat sports and, as I’ve said, martial arts especially, but even if it doesn’t look like it – martial arts will certainly teach you respect.
Respect is very important in martial arts. You have to respect your coach, your opponent, your rules and you will never become a good and well-respected fighter until you give the necessary respect to others.
You can see how it can positively influence your child in this aspect.
8. Martial arts help kids with solving problems
Interestingly enough, martial arts can be just as effective as chess in some specific aspects.
Well, they won’t stimulate your brain the same way, but martial arts are a very unpredictable discipline that requires concentration and constant mental activity.
You have to watch out for your opponent, you have to apply an adequate tactical approach and you have to know how to get out of a tight spot.
Certainly, your child’s physical predispositions are more important, but brute force won’t get you very far if you’re fighting an intelligent opponent who knows how to play to his strengths and to your weaknesses.
9. Martial arts build confidence
Building on point 8, it has to be said that martial arts will also increase your child’s confidence.
Confidence usually comes from self-satisfaction and by elevating your stamina, your physique, and your boldness, martial arts will raise your child’s confidence to new levels.
After seeing what they can do in the gym and during training sessions, they will use the newly found energy in all other aspects of their lives, so it’s not surprising that martial arts have their psychological benefits as well.
10. Your kid will learn new skills
Martial arts will teach your child something new.
Your child will probably start off not knowing anything about martial arts in general, and while the complexity and diversity of different martial arts may seem a bit too much for a child, the art will always allow them to learn something new, no matter what, because it offers a lot when technique and combat are concerned.
This is also another psychological benefit of martial arts, but it can be related to several aforementioned points.
So, if you want your kids to broaden their horizons and learn something new, martial arts will certainly give them enough material to do exactly that, so don’t hesitate and use it to your advantage.
11. Your kid will make new friends
Although you probably won’t enroll your child into a martial arts class to find them, new friends, it’s one of those benefits that come with the program, whether you want it or not.
Although most things are done alone or one-on-one, training sessions are usually done in groups; plus, they’ll always meet new people in the gym.
So, with everything going on, your child will learn how to be a part of a larger, new group of people who share the same interest and passions as them, and that is always a good thing.
12. Martial arts help with stress
Although kids aren’t that subjected to stress as working adults, school and other real-life problems could cause them to be in a bad mood or feel down.
This is where martial arts step in, as their training program and all the aforementioned points, will help your child to relax and enjoy the time spent in a training session.
Are Martial Arts Safe for Kids?
Most popular martial arts have three elements of training – basic elements, sparring and forms – so it is easy to devise a plan for kids.
What you need to know first is that kids rarely spar in any martial art, which means that the risk of injury is minimal.
Sparring is practiced by older trainees, who also wear protective armor, which means that the contact between kids in martial arts is generally minimal.
What kids practice are the basic elements (this mostly includes technical aspects of different kicks and punches, but which are practiced either on a bag or using some other utensil) and the forms, which prepares them for a future application of those elements.
Kids are taught the technical side of martial arts, but younger groups usually combine new things with games, which is why it is necessary to have a good instructor.
At such an early age, it is important to have fun alongside learning new things, which means that the instructors will usually combine teaching with educational and recreational exercises that will develop a fondness for martial arts in the kids.
The Bottom Line
To conclude, all of the listed martial arts are perfect options for your kid.
I advise you to let your kid try a few martial arts and then choose which one your kid enjoys the most.
One more thing that you need to have in mind is the martial arts instructor. It is the most crucial thing when signing your kid for martial arts training.
Feel free to be in the first few classes so you can see how the instructor works with the kids.
Be sure to determine if the instructor knows how to work with the kids, or if he is maybe too sharp or uninterested.
Keep in mind, your kid is in the first place. Let your kid choose where they feel the most comfortable and let them enjoy the process of learning martial arts!