Is it Okay for Kids to Learn Martial Arts?

Is it Okay for Kids to Learn Martial Arts?

1. Martial Arts

Martial arts are an amalgamation of different combat styles used for self-defense that help you improve your physical and mental health. The exact place of origin is not known but martial arts are linked with the cultures of many countries like Brazil, China, Greece etc.

Supposedly when trade routes opened between India and China around 600 BC, the Indian citizen Bodhidharma came up with martial arts techniques as a form of protection. From then, martial arts flourished and went through many moderations up to the modern day.

The popularity of martial arts has been soaring day by day due to the benefits gained and seen among practitioners. Martial arts training is part of the curriculum at many elementary schools. Combat sports are categorized into two groups:

  • Striking
  • Grappling

The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is the most popular mixed martial arts league

2. Forms of Martial Arts

When deciding to choose a martial arts class for your kid, make sure that your kid has a basic understanding of a particular martial art or can relate to a martial art’s history and techniques.

Talking about different martial arts with your kids helps them figure out which ones suit their expectations. The most popular martial arts include the following:

2.1. Aikido

Aikido is a non-competitive and non-aggressive sport. It teaches self defense by involving different techniques like joint locks, holds, and throws.

2.2. Judo

Judo originated in Japan in 1882. Judo is a martial art that subdues the opponent and uses his/her mass against them. The most common techniques in judo are takedowns and submission holds. Timings and techniques are crucial to being successful in this sport

2.3. Jiu-Jitsu

Jiu-jitsu is a mixture of karate, judo, and aikido. It involves grappling techniques to choke out an opponent. Smaller fighters can take full advantage of grappling to dominate larger opponents.

2.4. Krav Maga

Krav Maga is also a combination of different combat sports: judo, aikido, boxing, wrestling, and karate. This martial art originated in Israel and emphasizes the importance of quick reflexes.

2.5. Karate

Karate involves striking techniques. It is considered a standing martial art that incorporates kicks and punches.

2.6. Kung Fu

Kung fu is also referred to as Chinese martial arts. Like karate, kung fu is also a standing martial art that incorporates blocks in fights.

2.7. Mixed Martial Arts

MMA is a combination of jiu-jitsu, boxing, wrestling, and Muay Thai. The techniques used involve grappling and striking. MMA is sometimes referred to as cage fighting.

2.8. Muay Thai

Muay Thai originated from Thailand. Muay thai incorporates different protective equipment used in other martial arts like jiu-jitsu, MMA, judo, and karate. Boxing gloves are used to punch and block against opponents. Kicking and sparring are also a part of Muay Thai. The fists, elbows, knees, and shins are mostly used for striking in Muay Thai.

2.9. Taekwondo

Taekwondo is a Korean martial art that combines punches and kicks to defeat an opponent. Popular techniques in Taekwondo involve spinning punches, head kicks, fast kicks, and striking.

The core benefit of all martial arts is that it teaches self-defense. The intensity may increase or decrease between combat sports but they are beneficial for both kids and adults.

3. Benefits of Martial Arts for Your Kids

Our children have to face many threats in their daily life. Parents worry about how to protect them from bullies, drugs, violence, and other harmful threats. To build up confidence and discipline, training in martial arts methods can be fruitful for the protection of kids as It promotes:

  • Self-defense
  • Awareness of unforeseen risks
  • Honor and perseverance
  • No violence
  • No smoking, drinking, and drugs
  • Improved quality of life
  • Self-confidence
  • Self awareness
  • Balance
  • Ethics

Teens can benefit from actively participating in martial arts. It is beneficial for kids to learn martial arts for the following health benefits:

  • Psychomotor skills
  • Cardiovascular conditioning
  • Muscular strength
  • Weight control
  • Fat loss
  • Increased anaerobic power and capacity

Martial arts do not require any prior skills or experience to enroll in classes. Martial arts can even be beneficial for people who do not actively participate in any sports. The martial arts community is social and friendly enough that it has a positive effect on participants.

4. The Most Common Injuries in Martial Arts

There is always a risk of injury associated with all martial arts forms. The most common injuries that occur in martial arts are:

  • Fractures
  • Tendon injuries
  • Muscle distensions
  • Joint sprains
  • Contusions
  • Joint inflammation
  • Skin lesions/Cuts
  • Luxation/Subluxation

It is normally said that practice makes perfect. This holds true for combat sports as well. When kids have gone through enough training, the risk of injury becomes minimal.

5. The Risk of Injury can be Minimized

Before enrolling their kids in a martial arts school, parents should first discuss with the doctor about their kid’s physical health. If you wish to take martial arts classes then you must accept that there are risks involved. All you can do is devise ways to minimize the risk of injury. But as kids become used to practicing martial arts, they become less prone to injuries. The following safety measures can help reduce the risk of injury for kids practicing martial arts.

5.1. Experienced Trainer

Search for a trainer that is focused, skilled, and shows interest in training children. An experienced trainer will encourage children to both physically and mentally mature as well as learn adequate techniques suitable for competitions.

5.2. Safe Environment

When children train for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu competitions, judges discourage blows to the head. Only when your kid has learned proper defense is he/she ready to move from training to competition.

5.3. Less Physical Contact Martial Arts

Your kid can start with a martial art that has less skin contact to reduce the chances of injury. Do not opt for competitions until your child is sufficiently trained.

5.4. Use of Safety Equipment

According to research, the use of safety equipment reduces injuries in youth. The use of mouth guard, rash guard, body pads, and headgear is beneficial.


Parents are mostly worried about their kids suffering from head injuries. Headgear reduces the risk of a serious head injury.

Mouth Guards

Mouth guards help protect the tongue and teeth. A quality mouth guard also prevents concussions during fights.

Body Pads

Kids can wear body pads to protect them from severe bruising. Padding can also help protect your opponent’s body by softening the blows. The different kinds of padding include:

Rash Guards

A rash guard protects your skin from getting infected and prevent burns due to friction.

5.5. Warm-Up Exercises

Warm-up exercises also help reduce the chance of injury. By stretching the muscles before an intense workout, it minimizes the chances of sprains and muscular tension in the body.

6. Does Martial Arts Training Promote Violence in Kids?

When talking about the benefits of martial arts, improved self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-awareness are a few of them. Martial arts themselves do not promote violence as they motivate kids to find balance, focus, and help them defend themselves. Kids are taught to only use martial arts for self--defense. Martial arts teach the following values to students Martial arts teach the following values to students:

  • Avoid unnecessary conflicts
  • Ignore small disputes
  • Better handle aggression and bullying

7. Which Martial Art is Best to Choose From?

For your kids, the best martial art is the one in which your kids are interested. The martial arts which suit best according to your childs fitness or as recommended by the medical practitioner. Take your child to different martial arts centers and introduce them to as many martial arts forms as you think is necessary. Let your child choose the one that best suits him/her.

In this regard, martial arts instructors play a vital role. The child tends to adopt what he or she learns from the instructor. The instructor's perspective and dynamic personality can help teach your child to adopt healthy behavior patterns.

7.1. Don’t Force Your Kid to Do Martial Arts

You cannot force your child to do something they don’t want to. If you want your child to enroll in any martial arts program to improve their behavior and promote discipline in their lives, they first have to develop an interest. Take them to community centers that offer martial arts classes. Any interactions your kids may have with students or instructors could develop their interest. Bring home martial sports magazines and read with them or play documentaries showcasing different martial arts forms.

Some kids are more introverted; they feel shy or are reluctant to share their interests with others. It's not easy but giving them some attention will help you know which martial arts they are interested in.

Parents are encouraged to join martial arts classes with their kids. It provides the opportunity for family bonding time.

8. What is the Best Age to Start Martial Arts Training?

Every person has different opinions on which age is best to start martial arts training. Some think it is best to start as a teenager as this age group has more energy necessary to excel in sports. Others believe that when you are an adult, you can better understand and learn the philosophies of martial arts.

8.1. Starting Martial Arts Training at an Early Age

The following benefits are associated with early martial arts training for kids:

  • Balance
  • Coordination
  • Discipline

However, there can be some cons if you begin martial arts training at an early age:

  • Easily bored
  • Loss of interest

Letting your child grow up learning about the culture and philosophical foundations of martial arts helps them later on when they compete in tournaments. Not many instructors will discourage kids from learning martial arts and will try to make martial arts training more fun for them.

8.2. Starting Martial Arts as a Teenager

The benefits of starting martial arts as a teenager include the following:

  • A Deeper understanding of martial arts
  • Development of skills and techniques
  • Recovery from injuries
  • Mental and physical maturity
  • Better focus and stability
  • Efficient use of time

However, the downside of learning martial arts at this age can be:

Get easily distracted at the secondary level

Both Bruce Lee and Chuck Noris started their martial arts training in their teens. Some children develop their skills more quickly compared to other kids. But to start during the teenage years requires some initial planning and understanding of a child’s psychology.

8.3. Starting Martial Arts as an Adult

There are plenty of benefits for adults in martial arts training. Many adults continued their martial arts training until they reach their 90s or 100s. A few benefits that martial arts can have for adults include the following:

  • Improvement in fitness and posture
  • Less anxiety
  • Boost in confidence
  • More optimistic outlook on life

9. Do Most Kids Start Martial Arts Due to Bullying?

Bullies tend to have a reputation among their peers and hold themself in high esteem. Many bullies have gotten involved in fights and thefts. They also exhibited poor academic performance, dislike for class and school environments, and disrespect for school faculty.

A victim of bullying may suffer from serious health issues like depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, and suicidal thoughts. To help children develop better mental health, martial arts were introduced as a curriculum in elementary schools. The “No bullying allowed here” slogan was raised to protect and support victims of bullying.

10. Conclusion

Martial arts is a proven and effective program for encouraging certain characteristics like self-esteem, self-control, and self-discipline in children. Martial arts help develop goal-oriented behavior in kids. Martial arts is not a panacea to all the problems that children may encounter. However, martial arts training helps kid develop a solid foundation to overcome the pressures they may face in their childhood, thus helping them transition to adulthood.

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