What are the benefits of martial arts classes for kids?
While specific skills will vary depending on the type of martial arts class your child attends, all will equip your child with self-defence skills. Enrolling your little warrior will also foster a whole range of soft skills, including:
Improved concentration is one of the most remarkable advantages to kids martial arts. With their strong focus on active listening and observation skills, children can embrace the foundational elements of mastering new moves and sequences.
Children thrive on routine and with each martial arts class they'll experience an action-packed routine that instills discipline, teaching them over time to be accountable for their own actions. H3: Coordination With each punch, kick and jump, children develop their motor skills, helping them to develop the essential coordination for excelling in a variety of physical activities. The sequences they will learn in martial arts can also help with balance and agility.
While martial arts are generally a solo activity and can be a good choice for those who are not so interested in team sports such as football or rugby, children can still use these classes to develop their teamwork skills. They will often be partnered up for activities and learn the importance of taking turns and working together.
How many different types of martial arts are there?
According to the website blackbeltwiki.com, there are almost 200 different types of martial arts. While the choice is overwhelming, the most well-known and recommended types of martial arts for kids are (thankfully!) narrowed down to just a handful.
Karate, Judo, Aikido, Taekwondo, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu are all good martial arts for kids because they do not use weapons and are well suited to children's strength and physical ability.
Karate: The Japanese word Karate means “empty hands” in English. Although Karate is about learning kicks and blocks for self-defence, there is just as much focus on good manners and strength of mind.
Judo: Judo is a grappling or wrestling form of martial arts that does not involve kicks or punches. Instead, it focuses on flexibility and is likely to involve as much time learning to fall properly as learning how to “swipe” an opponent to the ground.
Aikido: Aikido also focuses on self-defence and directing force back to the attacker in a non-harmful way. It is non-competitive and has a strong focus on respect.
Taekwondo: Taekwondo is a Korean martial art that focuses on fast-kicking techniques. The tenets of the sport include courtesy, perseverance, self-control, integrity and indomitable spirit - all of which are great life lessons for children!
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is also a grappling and wrestling form of martial arts, with the focus being to take the more dominant position, with no kicking or punching. It is ideal for children who like having a roll around on the floor!
What’s a good age for kids to start martial arts classes?
Although it differs depending on the type of martial arts class you opt for, a general rule of thumb is that most martial arts classes start at the age of 4-6 years old. It is important that children are old enough to understand the concepts being taught to them, including the importance of respect and self-control. Classes for younger children might therefore be a little harder to find.
Does my child need a special kit to do martial arts classes?
When starting out at martial arts classes, your child will be fine wearing comfortable clothing such as jogging trousers and a t-shirt. It can be best to avoid clothing with zips or buttons, as there can be a higher risk of injury. As they progress with their chosen martial arts, children may be expected to have their own equipment or uniform (gi) - this might also include safety kit like mouthguards or handwraps.
Will taking a martial arts class make my child violent?
It’s a common concern that signing your little wannabe martial artist up for a class will turn them into a ninja in the playground and that you’ll be called into school to deal with the consequences. The reality is that, for all disciplines, instructors will place a lot of focus on the importance of respect - which means not using (or misusing) skills outside of classes.
Will my child get hurt in a martial arts class?
As with any sport, there is a risk of injury. However, a good instructor will minimise that risk and will likely have a robust injury prevention plan as part of their classes. Preparing your child before class can help - as with anything in life, kids shouldn't do anything they don't feel safe doing. Once you find a class that you like the look of, ask to go along to a taster session and get a feel for their approach - quiz the teacher and chat with other parents if you have any concerns.
What qualifications should I look for in a martial arts teacher?
Most martial arts coaches will hold at least a black belt in the style that they teach. They should also hold a coaching qualification recognised by the national governing body for their specific discipline. The British Martial Arts and Boxing Association website has more information on qualifications.
Find a kids martial arts club or activity near you
Simply check out our list of suppliers, which can be filtered by location and age, to find the right club for you. If we don't currently have a supplier in your area, then let us know, or check back soon. Our team is constantly adding new suppliers to make sure that Pebble helps you to find children’s activities near home.