There are over a hundred different types of martial arts being practiced around the world today. If you are looking to get your child into a martial arts class, you will want to find one that is structured, disciplined, and safe.
Teaching any child how to protect themselves and know when using violence is warranted is the most important part of a good martial arts class. In the world we live in today, teaching your child any form of defense is a good call, but making sure these moves are not used at inappropriate times is essential.
Out of the 100+ forms of martial arts, here are five that are well known and popular for children to take. These classes teach children everything from respect to overall well-being as well as self-protection.
Why Choose Martial Arts for Kids
There are many benefits to taking consistent martial arts classes. Starting children in these activities at an early age can set them up for a very successful future. Attending martial arts classes has been known to improve home life and their time in school. Kids tend to behave better in class, get better grades, and often help out around the house more often.
So why is martial arts a good choice for your child? Here is a list of what martial arts is known to do for kids.
- Increases Physical fitness– Classes provide an hour or so of physical fitness and movement to keep children active and physically healthy. It also encourages a healthy diet and nutrition.
- Growth is accomplished individually, not as a team with expectations- Unlike team sports, there are no winning points. Your child only has to be better than they were yesterday to grow in martial arts.
- Kids work towards goals specific to themselves- Even in classes with many children, kids are working to reach their own goals (belts), not as a team to get to a victory win.
- Routines are separated into parts- Each class or routine is separated into different parts of lessons to teach kids all the aspects of martial arts in easy-to-learn classes.
- Teach and emphasize self-control – Martial arts is known for self-control and keeping calm in high-stress situations. It shows kids what they are capable of and how their decisions can affect others.
- Improves concentration– Martial arts focuses on the mind and body, helping kids focus on the task at hand and how to stay in the moment. It teaches them to let go of distraction.
- They help with coordination– With each technique, your child will have to focus on every motion and movement, practicing balance and teaching the body to work in harmony.
- Provides structure- Martial art teaches discipline and routine, and when repeated many times, it provides a structured way of life that children adapt to and thrive in, staying with kids their whole life.
- Gives an outlet for pent-up energy- All children have a lot of energy. Giving them a safe place to use that energy in beneficial ways gives parents peace of mind that kids are exerting themselves in a healthy productive way.
- Encourages teamwork- Although goals are structured to an individual, martial arts still teach children how to trust, respect, and work well with others.
- Teaches conflict resolution– Martial arts provide children with the tools to solve their problems maturely and appropriately in all situations.
- Helps with self-esteem- Martial arts teaches independence and personal growth, improving self-esteem and giving them a reason to feel proud of themselves. When a child masters a skill or hits their first goal, they will feel joy in their accomplishments.
Top 5 Forms of Martial Arts for Kids
Martial arts are not only great for kids to learn self-defense and discipline, but it also gives them a sense of self-worth, self-pride, and higher self-esteem. It boosts morale and improves overall health and well-being. There are endless reasons to get your kid into a martial arts class, and here are five good ones to look into it.
Karate is one of the most popular forms of martial arts to get children involved in. There are a wide variety of classes in nearly any location you live in, with plans and prices that will make them affordable for just about any budget.
Karate has ways to incorporate discipline and respect into every class, encouraging kids to use manners and follow the rules. They learn to respect the practice, the sport, and everyone around them. Students bow before they get on or off the mat and when greeting their teacher as sensei.
This form of Martial Arts is great for teaching structure and control. Kids who seem to have a hard time with directions or focus will benefit greatly from these classes.
- Gi (karate uniform)
- Belt (Will need a new colored belt as skills improve)
If you choose a class with free fighting you will also need
- A groin cup for males
Note: Many karate schools offer first-time students a free white uniform to start with.
Ages to start: Kids can start at most karate schools at the age of six; however, some do offer classes for children as young as three, and these classes are more introductory and fun than training.
The practice of Taekwondo has started to increase dramatically over the years, especially for children. Parents have found that it offers their kids lessons and skills that they cannot get anywhere else. These skills include confidence, discipline, and acceptance.
Many children who attend Taekwondo classes are the ones who are not comfortable in team sports like baseball and basketball because of the fear of failing others. In the classes, students gain confidence while striving towards their own goals. They show pride once they start mastering kicks and breaking boards.
This form of martial arts also teaches kids respect, not only towards their teacher but the students. Therefore, there is never any bragging or making others feel less than based on rank or skill level. Students learn this from day one and treat each student as equal and important.
- Head protector
- Chest protector
- Shin pads
- Arm pad
- Groin protector
Not a lot of people know that boxing is a form of martial arts. However, it is one of the oldest forms, and it has been practiced and improved over thousands of years, making it the great sport it is today.
When people think of boxing, many think of violence and competitive fighting. But it is so much more than that. Training in boxing teaches your child what self-control is and how to use it effectively. Learning to control their tempers and actions gives kids tools that will last them throughout their whole lives.
Boxing is also famous for quick movements, balance, and timing. It will help with motor skills and overall physical fitness. They need to stay in good shape to be successful, which will teach children how important health and nutrition are if they want to win their matches.
- Boxing gloves
- Body protector
- Boxing mitts
- Boxing shoes
Ages to start: Training can start at any age, sparring (fighting) should start around nine or ten years old.
Wrestling is another style of fighting that many people are not aware is an old form of martial arts going back hundreds of years. It has evolved and improved tremendously to become the popular sport that it is known as today.
So, how is wrestling a good sport for your child? This form of martial arts is known for quick thinking, agility, explosive power, and great balance. The training necessary in wrestling will provide your child with physical and mental fitness and stability.
Wrestling is a great sport to practice on its own, but it is also known to be combined with kids in other sports who want to perfect their skills through wrestling. Kids who participate in other sports like football learn body awareness, coordination, and balance, giving them what they need to perform better on the field.
- Wrestling shoes
- Groin cup
Ages to start: Age five.
5. Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu
Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu is a form of martial arts known for its teachings in reliable self-defense techniques. These classes teach kids how to be safe and detect a dangerous situation and what to do if they ever find themselves in one.
Jiu-Jitsu teaches kids how to keep themselves alive during an attack by giving them the tools needed to restrain or disable anyone who is a threat to them. It is known for teaching basic ground survival skills. Parents get the peace of mind of knowing that their kids can take care of themselves, not only now but throughout the rest of their lives.
Kids who take Jiu-Jitsu tend to have higher self-esteem and pride. They learn discipline and respect, so they are more likely to behave better and perform better in school and other activities and treat their peers better.
- Gi (uniform)
- Grappling shorts
- Rashguard shirt
Age to start: Five to seven in most schools.
Other types of Martial Arts
The five types of Martial arts listed above are the more popular forms that aren’t be too hard to get your child into. However, they are not the only ones that could benefit your kids. If you can find local classes, here are a few other types of martial arts with great lessons for kids.
- Kung Fu
- Muay Thai
- MMA (Mixed Martial Arts)
How to Choose the Right Class for Your Child
A common question parents have is which style is best for their child. The simple answer is to pick the skills you feel are most important for their situation. Find a style that teaches them better skills in areas they may lack in, or you would like them to know more about.
Are you more interested in self-defense techniques? Are you looking for your child to have more confidence and higher self-esteem? Does your little one have a lot of energy, and you want to help them learn how to focus that energy? Each class teaches in specific areas, but all of them offer lifelong benefits.
Every child is different. They mature differently and at different paces, decide which classes your child will thrive in and grow, then start making some calls.
While your child is learning and growing, they will learn to respect their parents, teachers, and friends. They learn the importance of taking care of their responsibilities, such as chores and homework. However, at this age, parents need to know their role in their child’s classes.
- On-time: Kids should never miss even the first 5 minutes of class. This teaches kids time management.
- Get to all classes: Life is busy, but kids need to be there for every class. They must never miss what is being taught, and this is important to teach kids responsibility and keep a routine.
- Having all equipment: Kids should be responsible for packing and bringing all their equipment, but as parents, you need to make sure your children have everything they need.
- Support: Support your child throughout the entirety of their training. Kids need support and sometimes a push to keep going.
- Be a cheerleader: Encourage your kids to keep going, practice with them, cheer for them.
Martial Arts provide families with many benefits and can help resolve conflict and problems. Teaching children respect, self-control, and discipline from a young age is key to a successful life from their first-class and into their future. Children who participate in any Martial Arts class will learn fundamental skills to be happy and healthy and grow positively.
Picking the right class for your child may seem overwhelming, but remember it’s all about learning. If one class just doesn’t fit, you can try another one. The great thing about the variations of styles is there is something out there for everyone. You just have to find it.
No one has ever ended up regretting learning something new, but many have ended up regretting never trying.