Martial arts date back at least 4,000 years in China, and it's likely that other cultures developed their own martial arts even before then. While modern martial arts are still based on self-defense and combat, martial arts training has been shown to have a wide range of benefits, and getting your child involved in martial arts early can amplify these benefits. Here are a few guidelines for determining what age is appropriate for starting martial arts.
Martial Arts Requires Coordination
Any activity that lets your young one expend some extra energy is worthwhile, but martial arts requires a bit of coordination that especially young children haven't yet developed. At Royal West Martial Arts, age-appropriate classes begin as early as 5, making it a great age to get your child involved. Classes designed for youngsters differ from classes designed for older children and adults, but they still focus on some of the same fundamentals: self control, discipline, and fitness.
What's the Right Martial Art?
Nearly all martial arts can be learned by young children, but some are more appropriate than others. Both taekwondo and jiu jitsu are popular, and children can learn the basics at a young age and improve as their coordination develops. Both of these martial arts cover a broad base of self-defense techniques, and they're great for a first-time martial art. If your child later wants to learn a different martial art style, taekwondo and jiu jitsu will serve as solid foundations and give your child an advantage.
What do Kids Learn in Martial Arts?
Martial arts are about self-improvement, and taking martial arts classes at a young age helps children learn to concentrate. They'll be rewarded as they progress, which teaches the value of working toward goals. Childhood obesity rates are high, and many children don't have access to regular fitness training; but through martial arts practice, children can learn high-intensity exercise routines that also develop self-defense skills, flexibility and some strength training. Furthermore, children with a foundation in martial arts will develop skills that will help them if they chose to participate in sports.
Martial arts range from ancient to relatively new, and there are valuable lessons to be learned in all martial arts styles. Although it’s worth taking time to find the right style for your child or your family, note that the discipline learned in all martial arts styles can be tremendously helpful as your child grows, and the confidence boost that comes from success in martial arts training can help you school-age child excel in the classroom and in other activities.