With its emphasis on exercise and self-defense, martial arts classes can be a great activity for your children. The only problem with them is that there are so many to choose from, and they’re all different enough from each other that choosing the best one for a child can feel like a daunting task.
The best way to decide what martial art is right for your child is to familiarize yourself with different disciplines. Here’s a rundown of some of the martial arts that have been popular with children.
Karate has been around since the 1300s and is the most widely practiced martial art in the world. A typical karate class focuses on striking techniques with the hands and feet and detailed choreographed routines called katas, or forms. It also emphasizes self-disciple and improvement instead of focusing on opponents and attackers. It might be ideal for children who enjoy physical activity without competing with others.
Tae Kwon Do
Tae kwon do relies on punches, kicks, and throws to be a truly well-rounded discipline. Classes also involve a lot of sparring, so it might not be a good option for a child who is afraid to get hit or hit someone else. It also involves a lot of competition, which makes it a good fit for competitive children.
Kung fu focuses mainly on balance and relaxation, with techniques that are performed in close proximity to an opponent. It relies more on punching and other techniques that rely on the upper body, so it might be a good choice for someone who doesn’t like to throw kicks. Many techniques do require one to be very close to their opponent, so a child who has issues with someone being in their personal space might not do well with this discipline.
Judo was developed to defend against strikes by grappling and using an opponent’s momentum against them. A child who doesn’t do well with strikes and wants to use throws and holds in self-defense will do well with this discipline.
These are some of the more popular martial arts that may be available to your children. Take a look at what classes are offered near you, and check them out if you want to learn more about what they have to offer your child. You might be surprised at what is out there and how it can benefit your child.