You already know martial arts can instill confidence, respect, loyalty, and honor in your kids.
However, did you know each martial art also has its own benefits, separate from those mentioned above?
No matter which martial art you choose for your children — or they choose for themselves — they will reap the many physical and psychological benefits of studying that discipline.
In this article, you will discover the five best martial arts for your kids.
TOP 9 best martial arts for kids
Taekwondo usually sits on the top of parents’ lists when it comes to martial arts for their children. But popularity aside, your kids reap some great benefits when studying taekwondo.
Your kids improve their muscle strength, flexibility, and balance. And, because taekwondo’s forms vary, they learn how to control their bodies.
Dutch-Surinamese kickboxer Regian “The Immortal” Eersel started taekwondo at just eight years old. He originally took up the martial art to burn energy and learn self-defense.
In May 2019, “The Immortal” became the ONE Lightweight Kickboxing World Champion.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is another one of the best martial arts for kids. Often called “the gentle art,” it teaches children how to compete on the ground through grappling and submissions.
Because students have to figure out how to avoid being submitted while trying to tap out their training partners, BJJ helps your kids develop patience and problem-solving skills.
Brazilian martial artist Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes started in BJJ at a young age after his mother passed away. The martial art ultimately changed his life, as he won many grappling and mixed martial arts World Titles.
This past March, “The Flash” reclaimed the ONE Bantamweight World Championship.
Muay Thai is an excellent martial art for your kids. Unlike kickboxing, which is also great in its own regard, students of “the art of eight limbs” use knees, elbows, throws, sweeps, and the clinch.
As students of Muay Thai, your kids learn self-control because they spar lightly and intentionally. Also, since the martial art doesn’t have a ranking system, your kids learn how to set personal goals instead of working toward pre-set goals.
Thai athlete Rodtang “The Iron Man” Jitmuangnon started training in Muay Thai when he was 7 years old, and his remarkable talent helped him provide for his family and brought him to incredible heights.
Earlier this month, “The Iron Man” reached the pinnacle of the sport when he captured the ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Championship.
Wrestling is one of the oldest martial arts in the world, as it involves various takedowns, locks, and pins.
Because wrestling stands as one of the toughest sports to train and compete in, your kids will have unmatched physical and mental conditioning.
Filipino-American competitor Brandon “The Truth” Vera started wrestling in college and carried the love of the sport with him into the United States Air Force, where he joined the military’s Greco-Roman wrestling team.
“The Truth” continued to build upon his wrestling foundation, and he went on to win the inaugural ONE Heavyweight World Championship in December 2015.
#Mixed Martial Arts
Mixed martial arts is ideal for kids who want to be well-rounded martial artists.
As opposed to the disciplines mentioned above, which focus only on their respective styles, mixed martial arts teaches kids how to compete on the ground and standing up. This will make them more well-rounded and prepared for real-life situations.
Vietnamese-Australian dynamo Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen started mixed martial arts at the age of 21.
Despite the late start, “The Situ-Asian” became a two-division ONE World Champion and has proven himself as one of the sport’s greats.
Created as far back as the 1300s, karate is the most used martial arts in the world. There are no weapons involved, and the focus is on a full-body workout. Most traditional karate classes teach students to incorporate martial arts as a way of life, with the emphasis being on the self instead of the opponent.
Who it’s for: This discipline is suited for kids interested in learning striking techniques with the hands and feet. Philosophical teachings focus on leading a happy and balanced life, with activity being a primary area of concentration. Breaking boards and forms are major elements used during training.
The focus of kung fu is on balance and relaxation techniques. Strikes are usually performed moving forward in close proximity to your opponent.
Who it’s for: If your child doesn’t do well in close personal spaces or has slow reflexes, this probably isn’t the martial art you should choose. It also relies more on upper body movement, which is good if your child struggles with kicks. If you want a sport that focuses on balance and concentration, this is a good pick.
Also an Olympic sport, Judo was designed to defend against strikes and use the opponent’s attacking mentality against them. Concentration is on throws that involve timing and controlling your opponent’s body weight.
Who it’s for: If your child wants a martial art that involves striking, this isn’t the discipline. If learning throws and defense are a high priority, judo is one of the best there is.
This modern Japanese art is known for teaching practitioners not just how to defend themselves, but also how to protect their attacker. This requires a lot of joint locks, throws, and turning movements that allow you to use your opponent’s momentum against them.
It is a way of learning that winds up being safer for kids to learn since the risk of injury is low compared to other martial arts. Aikido also does well at teaching kids how to properly fall down without hurting themselves. It is something that can translate into keeping your kids safe in other sports and physical activities.
What are the age requirements for your different programs?
Children’s karate/taekwondo – Ages 4 to 11
Teen & adult karate/taekwondo – 12 and older
Children’s judo – Ages 7 to 12
Teen & adult judo – 13 and older
Aikido – 13 and older
Systema – 16 and older
What is the best age to learn taekwondo?
To make a long story short, those who want to learn Taekwondo should be at least eight years old. Children younger than eight may not possess the physical and emotional maturity to develop their skills. Adults over the age of fifty should consult both their doctor and Head Instructor before beginning training
What should I wear to my first martial arts class?
What should I wear for my first class? It depends on which class you are trying. You can wear sweat pants or baggy shorts, and a t-shirt if you are trying a karate/taekwondo class. If you are attending an aikido or Systema class it is best to wear sweat pants and a long-sleeved shirt.
Can taekwondo be self-taught?
You can’t really learn Tae Kwon Do, but you can learn a few things and incorporate them into your style. Many people learn the Thai roundhouses, and you can learn a few holds from self-defense videos, but you can’t really learn it all until you start taking class.
How many years does it take to learn taekwondo?
TaeKwonDo – 3 to 5 years
In TaeKwonDo it’s likely that a dedicated student will be eligible to test for a 1st Degree Black Belt (Il Dan) after 3 to 5 years. Some schools have a minimum for 4 to 5 years in order to achieve a 1st-degree black belt, while others don’t have any sort of minimum.
When deciding on a martial art for your kids, there is no one “best” martial art. Instead, enroll your children into a discipline they feel comfortable doing because if they enjoy studying the art, they will reap the many benefits that come with it.