As an adult martial artists, I can say that my decision to start practicing was 50% because of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, 50% Power Rangers, and %100 Dragon Ball Z. You’re probably thinking to yourself that the percentage of my decision is more than 100%, and that’s absolutely what I intended. My passion for the martial arts goes beyond the typical threshold. To see ordinary people taking on the “bad guys” was empowering. It changed my life. This is why I started the Oronin Wear brand.
You didn’t come here to hear my story. You came here because you have a kid of your own and you want the martial arts to be a part of his life—life-altering, possible.
Let’s get into some details that will help you find the best martial art for your kid.
Why do I want to enroll my kid in a martial art school?
You have to determine why first? This will help determine what type of style will fit best. If you can align your child’s goals with the mission of the school or intent of the style, it’ll be easier for you to narrow down your options. There are, of course, several reasons you or child would want to start martial arts.
Bullying is one of the biggest and noted reasons for starting in the martial arts. Even someone like Georges St. Pierre, one of the most feared, skilled, and kind MMA fighters, started Kyokushin Karate because he was being bullied. This boils down to your child being capable of defending themselves. You’ll want to keep self-defense in mind.
Exercise is another reason. With the surge in video games you can play on your phone, it’s getting easier for your child to waste time sitting and doing nothing with their childhood. I remember when I was a kid and only had console games to worry about.
Fads are also one of the biggest reasons. It’s no wonder that when a movie like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or the remake of the Karate Kid come into town there’s a huge influx of kids entering karate schools. This is the most difficult reason to deal with because it’s more than likely that your child will get over their obsession and want to move on sooner than you want. On the flip side, there’s also a possibility that this fad will be the catalyst for a life-altering event in your child’s life.
What type of Martial Art should I look at?
These are important questions because of you can break martial arts into three large categories: striking, throwing, and grappling. Finding the best martial arts for your kid is going to weight heavily in this area as well.
Once you determine the reason, then you can get into the different types of martial arts.
Here are the three biggest categories of martial arts:
Striking- Your child will be using their fist and feet to strike another person. This may seem alarming at first, but there are sever safety precautions taken in styles that focus on striking. There are protective pads, controlled environments, and repetitive movements to practice self-control in their kicks and punches.
Styles to consider: Karate, Taekwondo
Throwing- Your child will learn the basics of balance and unbalancing. A popular style in this branch is Judo.
Grappling- Kids love to wrestle and this is one of the most popular forms of martial arts today is Brazilian Jujitsu.
Does school or the instructor matter as long as I have the perfect reason and style?
Eventually, the decision will come down to the quality of the instructor and the school. Even if you have the perfect martial art in mind, it makes no difference if there isn’t anyone to convey the message and teachings effectively.
Here are a few tips for finding the right instructor for your kids:
- You and your child should meet the instructor in person. See how they interact. It’s highly recommended that you watch a class and see how the instructor interacts with other kids as well. You’ll want to see how patient they are and how they teach. Do the kids look sloppy? Yes, they’re kids, but there are several videos of kids who are more than capable of kicking, punching, throwing, and grappling better than adults.
- Make sure to check the school lineage. If your child stays in the martial art of their choice, nothing would be harder to swallow than to hear that their black belt is not recognized by the governing body of the style. To put it more simply, if they spend 10 years practicing, earn their black belt, and decide to move to another country and train elsewhere, their rank or black belt may not be recognized. Not all karate black belts are black belts in another country or organization. There are a lot of what we call McDojos out there, so keep an eye out.
- Finally, you’ll want to keep an eye out on the contract. Look for the length of the contract, the monthly price, and what options you have for breaking the contract. This will be the final deciding factor because you have to remember that your child is young and does not know what they want for themselves.
I know you came here to find the best martial arts style for your kid, but the truth is that they’re more than likely not going to stick around long enough to justify the amount of time and research you put into finding the perfect fit. Go to your closest schools and do a trial class. If the schools don’t offer a trial class and don’t have a good reason for not doing so, then it’s probably not the best place for you. Keep in mind that this may just be a phase, so keep an eye out for schools that do month-to-month. If your kid seems to enjoy it and you think you could do better, then go out and find the program from friend’s recommendation or online reviews.
Finally ready to sign your child up for a class?
Check out our padded compression shirt just for kids.