Learning a martial art is an excellent way for kids to get an adequate amount of exercise – both physically and mentally. If you are trying to find the right martial art for your child to learn, you may be overwhelmed by the many different martial art forms out there.
The easiest martial art for kids is Karate. While no martial art is easy to master, Karate does not primarily use aggressive sport based techniques compared to some martial art forms. With a perfect blend of ‘Art’ and sport, it is straight forward for children of all ages.
Karate also offers a wide selection of benefits for kids, including:
Learn more about what Karate entails, the benefits of Karate, as well as other great martial art styles for kids below!
Table of Contents
What is Karate?
Originating in Japan, Karate is a form of defensive combat using body movements and no weaponry. The martial art form, Karate, consists of three major types of practices:
- Kihon: This includes the fundamental techniques of Karate, such as blocks, strikes, kicks, and punches.
- Kata: Kata is a choreographed combination of blocks, strikes, stances, and other movements. This practice is done solo.
- Kumite: With Kumite, two Karate students spar against each other to practice their skills learned through Kihon and Kata.
Karate is considered the easiest martial art for a couple reasons:
- For one, while Karate includes sparring, the combative nature of this martial art is not as aggressive as other martial arts, such as Judo, Boxing, or even Taekwondo. Karate puts an emphasis on self-defense rather than offensive combat and sport competition.
- To learn more about safe sparring practices for children, you might like to read this in depth article I’ve written on the subject.
- Secondly, Karate offers an extensively structured journey. As Karate students improve their skills and pass specific examinations, they will earn many different colored belts, starting with a white belt and ending with a black belt to showcase their ranking. This provides an easier barrier to entry and can help new students from feeling overwhelmed by lack of direction. Many styles have fewer rankings if any.
To learn more about how your child can try a free karate class ONLINE, read here.
What are the Benefits of Karate?
Karate, which requires both physical and mental dedication, will provide your child with many long-term benefits. Some of these benefits include:
While this may seem an obvious benefit that comes to mind, Karate indeed does provide kids with a unique physical exercise that their growing bodies need. It offers a blend that many activities do not. Karate requires cardio strength and also helps develop muscular strength and good flexibility. Students will build their strength in a supervised environment and minimize the potential for your child to injure themselves.
One of the best pieces of equipment you can get for your child’s health and fitness is specifically well utilized by Karate training. A kicking bag can come in all shapes and sizes. I would suggest for younger and even middle school students the new Century Martial Arts inflatable kicking bag. It is even durable enough for teens and moms to use. Check it out here on Amazon.
Helps Teach Self-Discipline
Karate also helps teach children self-discipline. To earn their next belt, students must master individual skills. This discipline means students must learn how to hold themselves accountable and practice their skills consistently to reach whichever goal they set – whether getting their mae-geri (front) kick high enough or earning their purple belt.
The art of Karate helps teach kids how to respect everyone around them. The value of respect and compassion is emphasized throughout every facet of this martial art. In fact, from the very first lesson, students are taught to respect their instructor. Furthermore, students must learn to listen to the instructor to learn and improve upon their craft.
They are taught to only use their learned skills in Karate class for the foreseeable future in order to develop the character necessary to distinguish between self defense and aggression. They are taught creeds and oaths of conduct and the value of honor and respect.
Karate builds confidence in kids for several reasons. For one, kids gain confidence when they know they can learn new things and achieve the goals they set for themselves. This system of short and long term goals is not solely found in Karate, but it has one of the most well developed systems for this of all the martial arts.
Knowing they can protect themselves if needed can also create high self-esteem for Karate students. All of these accomplishments serves to make them less of a target for bullies and other dangers. To learn more about how martial arts in general and Karate specifically can help your child with the very real problem of bullying, see my article here.
Structure is essential in helping children learn healthy and crucial skills. Karate offers a structured routine with explicit rules and clear expectations for each class and home training session.
Creates a Sense of Community
While Karate is typically a form of martial art practiced alone, it still creates a sense of community for children. Being a part of a Karate class either in a studio, on location, or online helps children foster friendships and connections with other students and their instructors, based on a common interest and similar goals.
Patience is an essential skill for children to learn to grow into respectful adults. Karate takes years of consistent practice and patience to understand and improve in skill. Spending hours each week to perfect a craft allows your child to slow down and focus. Additionally, it helps kids become more patient by teaching them that mastering a skill takes time – it does not happen instantly.
Other Easy Martial Art Forms for Kids
Karate is not the only martial art that teaches your child essential life skills. Other easy martial art forms that provide many benefits for kids include:
Tae Kwon Do
Tae Kwon Do, a Korean martial art, is very similar to Karate. In fact, some Tae Kwon Do studios label themselves as Korean Karate studios. The main difference between Tae Kwon Do and Karate is that Tae Kwon Do tends to use more leg involvement and requires a different leg stance to allow for swift movements.
This martial art form offers many of the same benefits that Karate does, including self-discipline, respect, confidence, and a sense of community.
Another martial art that some parents not as opposed to aggressive competition my consider is Muay Thai for kids. Muay Thai uses knees, elbows, throws, and sweeps in its competition sport sparring technique.
It can be an acquired taste and definitely is not a choice for all parents. Though, there are some with troubled or very aggressive children that this can be a good option for. Boxing and wrestling have also been used in this capacity with some success for many years.
Unlike other martial art forms, Muay Thai does not have set ranks. Therefore, Muay Thai students can learn self-sufficiency by creating their own goals and learning how to effectively work towards them.
What’s more, by using structured movements instead of sparring impulsively, kids will learn how to better control their actions not only while competing, but in all aspects of life as well. To be sure, this is a full contact competition heavy sport, but for those needing direction, this could be just the answer.
Kung Fu originated in China and – like Tae Kwon Do – is relatively similar to Karate. Therefore, it teaches many similar life skills that both Tae Kwon Do and Karate teach. However, one main difference between Kung Fu and Karate is that Kung Fu can be slightly more complicated to learn.
This is because Kung Fu consists of a larger number of different techniques compared to Karate. Though this may not mean that the total number of techniques is larger, but the amount of circular movements and their variations definitely make it more difficult to learn and much less straight forward.
While wrestling does not have as complex a technique as other martial arts we’ve mentioned, it is still a very beneficial sport for kids to participate in. Again, the combative nature of the sport lends itself to specific kinds of kids and situations. Parents may or may not find that it works for their families. There are definitely great benefits to wrestling training.
- For one, it is an excellent physical exercise, as this sport requires flexibility, as well as dedicated strength and cardio training.
- Furthermore, wrestling teams help build a sense of community for your child and teach them how to be an effective team player.
- Lastly, many schools have wrestling teams, which can help lift some of the financial burdens off of the parents. Therefore, for those looking at the financials of a sport, wrestling can be a relatively cost-effective option.
Judo is similar to wrestling, with the critical difference being that wrestling is more intense and focuses more on athleticism.
With Judo, the main objective is to get your opponent to the ground and keep them there in a pinning hold. Since Judo requires you to hold your opponent for up to 30 seconds, it is actually more stationary and a less injury-prone martial art than wrestling is.
Like many other martial art forms, Judo helps teach children strength, confidence, self-discipline, responsibility, and more.
HapKiDo, a martial art form from Korean via influences from Japan, teaches choreographed techniques and focuses on not harming your opponent if at all possible. While HapKiDo students may not be able to utilize this martial art principle in every self-defense or dangerous real-life situation, it is an excellent choice for those who want to learn self-discipline, respect, and patience.
What’s more, this also means that HapKiDo is a great martial art form for those worried about potential injuries their child may get. And if you would like to learn more about the differences in martial art styles, check out this other article on my blog.
Whether you want to encourage your kid to be more active or your child needs an activity that will boost their self-confidence, Karate is a great option. With so many significant advantages this sport offers, Karate will help your child gain essential skills and values that will benefit them for the rest of their lives, including patience, excellent physical health, self-defense, and more.