Should I Teach My Kid Grappling or Striking Martial Arts?

Should I Teach My Kid Grappling or Striking Martial Arts?

1. Why is Martial art good for Kids?

Martial arts are amazing for your kids to build confidence, self-defense, discipline, and make new friends. It is a diverse arena when it comes to selecting the befitting martial art for your kids. Experts recommended that kids should begin learning martial arts at a younger age. A martial art can even be beneficial to toddlers. However, competing is not on the priority list of many parents, but if the kid wants to participate in competitions, it is recommended to wait till the age of eight. Martial arts offer a great spectrum of benefits and kids are great at learning. Staying fit and active both mentally and physically can encourage kids to keep improving themselves. You can choose one from grappling or striking techniques for your kids. . Martial arts is a historical and traditional way to inculcate the essential skills of sportsmanship, concentration, and self-defense at an early age. It is the right approach to adopt if you want to strengthen the neural structure of the body and mind of your children. Learning martial arts  can arm your kids with the superpowers of discipline, endurance, control, and increased flexibility.

Martial art strengthens muscles and builds endurance while improving balance, agility, and coordination. Better mental and physical health leads kids to enjoy happier and more well-rounded lives. Teaching martial arts promotes consistency and fortitude in the lives of kids which is a prerequisite of success for achieving long-term goals. Meeting the physical activity guidelines from early age promises heart rate control and prevention from possible cardio fatigue. Building cardio endurance and increasing aerobic stamina and impact are essential. Martial art inculcates more agility, mobility, and swift footwork in kids.

2. What should you teach your kids about grappling or striking?

When it comes to starting teaching martial arts to children, experts recommend that you should always start with grappling arts because generally, it is safer for kids. However, grappling arts are complex yet have established and systematic approaches when it comes to learning and no one is more agile at learning than children. Jiu Jitsu is more of science because it is focused on the joints and has elusive step-by-step guides, especially for novices. Some also suggest that striking should be the first choice because it is not as complex as grappling techniques. If learning self-defense is your priority than grappling martial art is your go-to priority. Learning grappling or striking first is also a question of priorities. If you are training in martial arts for self-defense, it's best to start training with grappling art like wrestling or Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. Striking is effective and helpful to stop a threat, grappling is the art of controlling the threat. Both martial arts grappling and striking can be effective for self-defense but grappling is more effective for self-defense than striking because trained strikers might be really good at fighting someone their own size in a stand-up fight. But in street fights, there would be no weight division and you don't get to choose someone who is your size. The basic element in the teaching of jiu-jitsu training is to win against the bigger opponent. Therefore, grappling is essential for self-defense


Grappling martial arts use body locks, grips, chokes, and similar techniques to grab and hold an opponent and also use throws and takedowns to get the fight to the ground.


  • Enable control over your opponents and lead the fight with your techniques.
  • Improves endurance, flexibility, and physical strength.
  • Teaches you how to take down the attackers and make submission attempts.
  • Reversal or sweeps to get more dominant positions.
  • Enables you to adjust the level of force you need.


  • Grappling is less effective for multiple opponents.
  • You can’t grapple if you can’t get your hands on your opponent.
  • Does not support distance management.
  • Less ability of stand-up practice.


Martial arts with substantial damage capacity from distance by hitting with strength and power to condense determined results. Simply throw a strike to an opponent to save your side with a powerful strike. Striking martial arts also offer a diverse spectrum of benefits in real-life situations. But when it comes to kids, no one wants to hand over something lethal to their delicate minds. This is the reason it is always recommended to start from grappling and with age and maturity lads should learn to strike.


  • Striking ends fight a lot quicker than grappling.
  • Most effective against multiple attackers at a time
  • Improves distance management.


  • Striking cause unintentional injuries
  • Less effective on the ground with grappling
  • Quite limited in their practical implications
  • Striking practice or training sometimes led to a high risk of injury which is a major drawback that happens in real fights.
Striking Grappling
Striking focus onhitting the opponent on the feets Grappling is famous forground bouts and rolling on the ground with opponents.
The strike may consist of kicks and jabs with elbows, feet, knees,and fists Grappling art consists of joint locks, mount and guard positions,etc.
In striking, the risk ofhead injury is high. Less risk of headinjury.
Striking is more suitable for multiple opponents.  Grappling can be less effective against multiple attackers.
Striking can improveyour distance management in a fight. Grappling is worthlessuntil you can close the distance between yourself and your opponent.

3. Expert Complete Guide

For beginners, the tricky part of martial arts might be choosing the right one to start with. Choosing the perfect art according to your aims and ground realities is crucial. But if the kids are enjoying it and show progression in a good art then it is good to follow that particular martial art. To help with the right decision, understand the discipline and guide of each grappling or striking martial art, and assess what is in sync with your preferences.

3.1. Age Divisions: Grappling or Striking

Age Grappling Striking
3- 5 years old
  • Class time: < 30 minutes
  • Learns basics of art through fun and enjoyment
  • Focusing on respect elements.
  • Most instructors do not prefer to teach strike under this agebecause kids are not ready for striking.
  • Unless kids have exceptional patience and control.
  • Class time: 30 minutes
6-8 years old
  • Class time: 30 minutes
  • Follow rules and practice thedeal of winning and losing in a healthy way.
  • Involve in competitions.
  • Kids in this age might burn outand resist easily.
  • They can continue in conjunctionwith their other martial arts techniques that contain no striking. Classtime: 30 minutes
9-12 years old
  • Class time: 40-60 minutes
  • Involves in different competitions.
  • Focus on their techniques and should train for mastering themoves using flexibility.
  • Professionals in striking martial arts support the strikingclasses started from the 9+years. Starting too early can result in kids’frustration and fear of injuries.
  • At this age  kids  can endure long-term training.
  • Class Time: 60 minutes

3.2. Safer For Kids: Grappling or Striking

Grappling Striking
Grapplingis the safest combat sport for the kids. With the benefits of self-defense,and mental and physical agility. Strikingsports in general contain the risks of injuries, especially for early age practitioners.
Besides, grappling techniques areunusually easier to learn for controlling the movements of your opponent. Kids might have difficulty when itcomes to punching or kicking in strikes.
Grapplersof course focus on winning without hurting their opponent. Whilestriking, focusing on winning at any cost can cause serious injuries.
Sparring in grappling is much safer Sparring is safe and healthy until itinvolves a high-intensity kick, elbow strikes, etc.
Grapplingmartial art is taught to avoid violence and teach ways how to submit byapplying minimum force. Strikingalso emphasizes kids' safety, which improves kids' physical fitness.

3.3. Self-Defense: Grappling or Striking

Grappling or striking both are effective for self-defense, but in a fight, everyone wants to end the fight quicker. For self-defense in a street fight, striking has more advantages than grappling. Striking ends fight quicker than grappling. If a kid is well trained with striking, he can escape from street fights with a single strike. Also, techniques in grappling fight chokes, joints lock, and takedowns can be applied in street fights. But look no one trains their children for the street fight. We are talking about the rare possibility of the event because it involves self-defense.  Both martial arts play an important role in self-defense against attackers or bullies.  

 Striking is good for street self-defense but it involves the danger of getting hit. Immersed in both grappling or striking is important from the beginning that grows confidence with various offensive and defensive techniques in self-defense. The best way to go is to start from grappling and over the years, you can entertain the possibility of teaching your kid striking art too.

3.4. Better Option: Grappling or Striking

Nowadays, fighters have become good at defending submissions. And if you want your kids to pursue combat sports, grappling is a better option. Mixed Martial Arts sports have gone mainstream with top grappling fighters. Without regular ground training, a striker must depend on perfect timing and a little bit of luck to finish a fight. If you are training your kid's martial arts for self-defense, grappling is the best training to start.

Grappling art has proven its versatile effectiveness in MMA with striking. In modern days, the majority of fighters are experts in just one fighting style. In MMA style, different techniques are incorporated including grappling and striking, interestingly, most of the time grapplers dominate the strikers. Strikers can’t transition to MMA without any grappling training. It is a fact because as the name suggests, it's a mixed martial arts style of fighting. Almost all MMA fighters are well versed in more than one martial arts. Striking martial arts do require advanced grappling techniques to stay in MMA. Using the grappling skills in MMA can give you great advantages.

4. Best Grappling Martial Arts

4.1. BJJ

What is BJJ?

Brazilian jiu-jitsu is a ground-based grappling techniques initiated from judo in the early 90s. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu used the principles of leverages, angles, pressures, fluid transition of movements, and timings. It is an extreme yet non-violent sport. Kids usually enjoy grappling while rolling on the ground. It is popular because it benefits kids with both physical and mental abilities and skills. It teaches discipline and dedication and how to maintain and control yourself in stressing environment. It allows you to beat a physically stronger opponent and is considered great for self defense.

Which age is best to enroll in BJJ?

BJJ enrolls children of 3 years old, it can improve the physical fitness and flexibility of the kids. For BJJ, 3-6 is the best age to start with a patient instructor who can guide kids’ right way of martial art and other life principles.

Is it for your kid?

If your priority is discipline and self-defense for your child then it is the best choice. Without using weapons or striking the kid can defend himself from the stronger attacker. It also gives your kids iron griping.

4.2. Judo

What is Judo?

Judo came up in 1800 in Japan, it concentrates on throws, chokes, and joint locks of all sorts. It is a great grappling martial art and combat sport. Judo is the source of the development of strength, flexibility, agility, and endurance. Judo is a purely defensive form of martial arts. Judo capitalizes on the opponent's energy and maintains ground control. This grappling art includes a wide variety of throws.

Which age is best to enroll in Judo?

Kids can start learning when they are4 to 6 years old. It is an excellent activity for kids. For kids, 5 years is an appropriate age to learn initial practices of judo.

Is it for your kid?

Judo is an extremely popular sport for kids. Judo is an excellent activity because it builds health and improves cardio in kids. It teaches self-control as it is characterized by a low degree of aggression.

4.3. Wrestling

What is Wrestling?

Wrestling is a form of grappling art that uses a variety of techniques to gain a superior position over the opponent. Wrestlers work on grappling techniques and focus on ground fighting while looking for submission holds. Pining is used as grappling holds in wrestling that resist most maneuvers in wrestling moves. Wrestling teaches you to take down the opponent and maintain your top position.. Wrestling involves weight division, balance, leverages, and similar techniques of  BJJ.

Which age is best to start Wrestling?

Experts can suggest that kids  can start wrestling between the age of 6 -8. Practice and learning wrestling inculcates the ability to control an opponent with power and techniques. Starting wrestling at this age can teach agile coordination of reflexes and develop emotional maturity.

Is it for your kid?

If your kid is interested in wrestling, is it his favorite sport? Consider whether your kid is mentally and physically ready for the wrestling sports, if you think he is ready, you should go for it. It also makes watching wrestling a lot more exciting.

5. Best Striking Martial Arts

5.1. Karate

What is Karate?

Karate is a Japanese martial art, composed of all forms. It is highly effective for self defense training. Karate is the primary striking art that teaches and incorporates practitioners to utilize punches, kicking, and striking against disabled opponents. The basic purpose of karate is self-defense in any condition. It teaches the practitioner to block the strike of an opponent. Regular implementation of karate practices keeps the body stable and fit. Karate is an oriented system of unarmed combat sports. It is a seasoned form of striking martial art.

Which age is best for starting Karate?

Most instructors accept kids old enough to understand the rules of this mannerly sport and discipline to use karate safely.  Young kids have enough time to build their confidence that they can stand up against bullies and defend themselves in any dangerous situation. Overall, the optimal age for a kid to start karate is 5 to 15 years.

Is it for your kid?

If your kids are embedded mentally and physically with karate then it is valuable to start learning from an early age. It teaches the basic columns of discipline, emphasis on self-confidence, and extreme self-control.

5.2. Muay Thai

What is Muay Thai?

The term kickboxing is used in Thailand. It involves kicking and punching. But with extra features of knee and elbow strikes, as well as clinches which are stand-up grappling. Muay Thaihas a lot of history. It is the best form of self-defense and it is a great discipline of solid stand-alone martial arts.  Regular Muay Thai training provides fitness, confidence, physical flexibility, control, and endurance.

Which age is best for Muay Thai

Kickboxing classes are offered for kids in two different age groups including 5-8 years old and 9-13 years old. The aim is to build confidence and motor skills, swift response time, discipline, courage, and a healthy lifestyle. Kids can start learning Muay Thai as early as the age of 5-6 years.

Is it for your kid?

Skills taught in the Muay Thai training program consistently sharpen kids psychically, emotionally, and mentally. Muay Thai is the basis of striking sports and kickboxing games. If your kids are flexible with kicking and punching then it is suitable for your kids. If your kids are under the age of 8-9 then they can enroll in Muay Thai.

5.3. Boxing

What is Boxing?

Boxing is a form of striking martial art in which two fighters fight with their fists. Boxing is considered a martial art because it fits the definition of martial art perfectly. Utilizing head movements, footwork, and punching for efficient and powerful striking.  Power, ferocity, and technical knowledge of high-level boxing skills never fail to amaze its audience. Boxing has its optimal striking base in MMA (Mixed Martial Arts). Boxing releases stress and anxiety and works as a great stress reliever.

Which age is best for it?

Starting too early could result in revulsion for the student. Boxing can be taught to 5-6 years old kids.

Is it for your kid?

If your kid is under a suitable fitted age both mentally and physically, then you can teach your kid boxing. Boxing practice is a safe and fun way to keep children engaged in healthy physical activity. Boxing with the right instructions helps your kids to control aggression.

6. Final Thought: Teach Your Kid Grappling Vs Striking

As a matter of fact those parents who have learned any martial art would love to involve their children at an early age. Because they know the physical and mental advantages of learning martial arts. Even prominent gyms have opened adjacent areas for kids to get familiar with the sport at a younger age because their adult students love to bring children with them. Most of the parents are not well versed in any form of martial art. That's why it is not an easy decision for them to make. There are many taboo things associated with learning arts related to fighting. So, parents need to educate themselves on these issues. Yes, most of  the pioneers of contemporary Martial Arts are involved in the fierce style of combat either in MMA, or UFC excluding BJJ. But we need to understand that this is their profession. They know what they are doing and believe me they are more than prepared to face and handle the dangers than we can comprehend. We have elaborated at length on the pros and cons of all the prominent martial arts.

When it comes to deciding one for your kids, you need to focus on all the benefits that martial arts offer. Self-defense is just one yet important part of these benefits. At a younger age, learning, focus, agile reflexes, calmness, control over nerves, and use of all the physical and mental power are no less than any superpower. It will be going to help the kids in all areas of life.  Whether it is studying, good manners, self-control in a stressful situation, decision making, or leadership skills, they are going to learn all of them. So these are the things that you must consider before making any decisive decision about enrolling your kid in martial arts.

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