How to Choose Martial Arts for Kids: The Complete Guide for Parents

Over 6 million kids in the United States engage in martial arts.  Your child may have already asked you to enroll them in a martial arts school. There’s something about the dynamic, athletic, structured nature of martial arts that appeals to kids. Chalk it up to their sporty tendencies, videogames, or hyperactive imagination. No matter how you look at it, kids and martial arts go together.

But not all martial arts schools were created equal. How do you find the best martial arts for kids? 

This article will walk you through everything you need to know about joining a martial arts school and teach you a bit about martial arts styles. 

Consider What Your Child Wants 

You might be excited that your son or daughter is interested in martial arts simply because it’s a great way for them to get exercise. However, martial arts have many benefits above and beyond exercise. Because of this, you’re not going to want to pick a style of martial art that primarily focuses on the exercise elements, such as Thai chi. Thai chi is good for those who want to engage in some conditioning, but at the end of the day, it doesn’t have many self-defense capabilities. If self-defense is a priority for you and your child, you may also want to avoid more sport/competition focused martial arts such as: Judo or Taekwondo.

When you’re looking to get them interested in something, you may want to follow what they naturally gravitate towards. Your child will never be able to commit themself to martial arts unless it happens on their terms. Try your best to include your child in the decision on choosing the right martial art, if at all possible.

Find a Reliable Martial Arts Studio 

Movies like Napoleon Dynamite have popularized the stereotype of the cheesy, over-the-top, con-artist sensei that doesn’t really have any training but knows how to convince people he does. While this isn’t quite an accurate stereotype, there are those out there who run martial arts studios with minimal qualifications. 

Those who run the martial arts studio that you send your child to should have years of experience in the industry. They should be able to provide proof of their training, and should still keep up their training. One of the ways to verify this is through lineage. Lineage is an instructor’s martial arts background. The legitimacy of a martial arts academy/instructor is often determined, at least in part, by the head instructor’s lineage.

Make sure you stay away from any sort of “cowboy” martial arts instructor who has an inflated sense of their own ego. Instead, choose a martial arts school with positive role models for your child. The best instructors not only teach, they lead by example.

You also want to stay away from scam artists who completely invent styles of martial arts on their own. Anyone who deals with “telekinetic” techniques, or claims to be able to knock someone down without touching them is clearly not to be taken seriously. You’d be surprised by the number of people who believe in these hoax-based martial arts programs.

Attend a Class Yourself 

The best way to understand if a martial arts school is to be trusted is to attend a class yourself. Any legitimate martial arts school would have no issue with you and/or your child sitting in on a class before beginning, if you choose to do so. Be weary of any program that does not offer a free trial class. It may indicate that they are not confident in what they have to offer.

This is a wonderful way to make sure that your child is in good hands. You can always talk to the instructor afterward and ask them questions. If this is the right martial arts school for you, they should be able to answer your questions with grace and interest. 

Many academies offer a variety of classes for different age groups and skill levels. Make sure you check the academy schedule, or contact the them to ensure that you attend the correct class for your child.

It’s also important that you pick the right martial art for your child. While each school will vary by instruction, every martial art has its own system. 

Karate and Taekwando are popular choices. However, if you were to ask us, we would say that there’s another martial art that’s an even better option for kids: Jiu-Jitsu. Jiu-jitsu is a dynamic martial art that focuses primarily on grappling. Behind boxing, it’s the second most popular martial art in the United States. 

Jiu-jitsu is the perfect combination of discipline and practicality that kids will love. They’ll achieve a sense of satisfaction when their practice pays off, but they’ll also be able to see immediate results with the techniques that they learn. 

Are you genuinely concerned about your kid’s safety? Jiu-jitsu is one of the most practical and efficient martial arts out there; if you want to know more about the reason why jiu-jitsu is great for self-defense, just check out the rest of our blog

Find the Best Martial Arts For Kids

To find the best program for martial arts for kids, you’re going to have to consider many factors. Look into what your kid really wants from martial arts, find a reliable studio, and pick the right martial art, and you’re far more likely to make your kid happy with your martial arts choice. 

For more information about jiu-jitsu and how why you should choose it for your child, contact us today.