Parents and martial arts instructors have various opinions when it comes to a good age to start martial arts. Some believe that it can be beneficial for children to study martial arts at the youngest age possible while others view it as unsafe and detrimental.
In truth, being successful in martial arts does not depend on the child’s early start. Other factors such as the type of martial arts, school philosophy, instructor, and the child’s desire and readiness all play a role in your kid’s learning success.
So at what age should children start martial arts? We’ve covered the important things every parent should know before teaching their kids the art of self-defense. So read on!
Things to consider before enrolling your kid in a martial arts class
Instead of considering the youngest age to start, determine the optimum starting age for your kid to study martial arts. As a parent, you also need to know your goals before enrolling your kids. Do you want your child to achieve a black belt early? Do you consider martial arts an effective way for your kid to fight against bullying? Or is it for your kid’s social development and physical health?
Whatever your goal is, you need to consider these relevant factors before making a big decision for your kid to attend a martial arts school:
Assess whether your child is ready
Every child is unique - others might express an earlier desire for martial arts while others might not be ready enough to engage in a self-defense class. Some kids might also be too young to join a martial arts class, particularly those below 6, since their physical bodies are rarely capable of learning difficult punches and kicks. Body proportions also change as the child grows which can affect the techniques being taught to properly execute the movements. Eventually, this might cause the child to get bored and give up.
Another thing is that young children tend to be clingy towards their parents or guardians and show violent outbursts when left along with the teacher, making it even more difficult to teach independence and cooperation.
With these in mind, it is important to consider the right age where young kids can be ready for the training. Although martial arts can be a great exercise and fun activity, it might not be for every child. Talk to a martial arts instructor if you are interested in enrolling your child. This way, you will have an idea about the class and determine if your child is at the appropriate age for the training.
Get to know the martial arts instructor
The background of the martial arts instructor as well as his knowledge in early childhood education are essential factors for your child to get the most of the class. Before signing up the registration form, make sure that you get to know the teacher as well as his qualifications. Take the time to observe the class and know the class structure, discipline, objectives, and training expectations.
Keep in mind that the experience of the instructor is more important than the class details. Not all experts in martial arts are great teachers, especially for young children.
Communicate with your child
Your child’s happiness and safety matters the most. So, these factors should be prioritized above anything else.
So try to talk with your kids and reinforce their progress. Help them succeed without applying too much pressure. After all, it’s still important for young kids to enjoy the activities while learning new skills and self-discipline.
Finally, before enrolling your child to a martial arts class, make sure that he is physically fit for the training. Get a physical exam done first to ensure that your child is in good health. Talk to your pediatrician as well so that you will have a better idea whether your child is fit enough for the physical demands of the class.
One of the greatest concerns you might have before enrolling your child in a martial arts class is the potential injuries as well as the safety of the training. Young kids are still developing and their bodies are susceptible to physical injuries. Without a proper program and safe environment, your child might be at risk of long-term damage especially if they are not physically ready for the class.
So, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the structure of the program, such as the time spent on warm-ups and active rest, and the training program. Evaluate the class and try to talk to other parents to understand their impressions. This will help you decide whether your child is ready to join the class.
Martial arts involve focus and lots of physical activities to help your child develop self-confidence as well as good health. But as a parent, you also need to prioritize your child’s safety and well-being.
Martial arts based on age
Four to five years old
Kids aged 4 to 5 years old can start building their foundation in martial arts by learning about the basic principles of the chosen discipline. However, not all martial arts schools willaccept children within this age bracket for several reasons. First, it can be difficult to find a qualified martial arts instructor that knows how to teach kids as young as 4 or 5. Additionally, many believe that kids within this age bracket are too young to be exposed to any self-defense classes.
It is also important for young kids to have fun in the class and avoid techniques that can make them vulnerable to physical injuries.
So you need to consider whether your kids are ready for learning a martial art skill as well as the school where you want to enroll them. Investigate the teacher by observing classes, understand the structure of the program, and asking for feedback from other parents.
Six to 10 years old
Eleven years and up
Children and young adults can be mature enough to learn the focus and skills, increasing their chance of succeeding when they begin training in this age range. However, it might still depend on your child’s preferences and whether she would enjoy pursuing the skills up to adulthood or not. Some kids might give up along the way and find other interests while others can learn to appreciate the discipline and continue until adulthood. Some schools might also have age limitations in accepting students. For example, most Krav Maga classes won’t accept young adults under the age of 16.
Whatever age and martial arts discipline you are planning to enroll your child, be assured that the training can give young kids several benefits. However, you do need to keep in mind the important factors such as your kid’s readiness as well as the maturity levels before enrolling him/her to a martial arts class. At the end of the day, your child’s happiness and safety matter the most.
The bottom line
Hi, I’m Christy, and I’m an electronics engineer by profession. I have taught in a university for 2 years while pursuing my master’s degree in cognitive radio and worked for a company to develop wireless medical devices. Currently, I’m doing research for a doctorate degree in engineering using a wireless sensor network for smart agriculture. I’ve been active in our local IoT community, IoT Cebu, where I participate in conducting talks about Arduino, Raspberry Pi, and DIY home automation using Wi-Fi and ZigBee devices.