General Question

robmandu's avatar

What's the best martial art for kids?

Asked by robmandu (21201 points ) June 8th, 2009

Taekwondo, karate, kung fu, krav maga are all pretty easy to find around here. Others as well probably, if you have something else to suggest.

No intention of putting the kid in an octagon one day. Just general sports training, like soccer, baseball, etc.

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16 Answers

MrGV's avatar

Any kind of martial arts is good for a kid.

wundayatta's avatar

My son loves Aikido, which is a defensive martial art.

jfos's avatar

To my knowledge, Krav Maga is a martial art based on neutralizing/immobilizing/seriously damaging a threat or an enemy. I don’t think that is necessary for kids to know. Not these days, at least.

Warpstone's avatar

I would probably suggest the more traditional arts as they have less emphasis on striking (i.e. krav maga!) and more class time devoted to composure and discipline. Basically, you want a class that focuses on the mental aspects of martial arts, rather than just real-word application of fighting techniques.

In terms of styles, it really doesn’t matter too much compared to the feel you get regarding the suitability of the instructor and school. It really doesn’t do your child much good if you choose school X because of a certain style if the school or teacher doesn’t teach it a child-friendly and focused manner.

btko's avatar

I second Aikido

SuperMouse's avatar

I have a black belt in Hapkido and studied it concurrently with Tai Shing Pek Kwar and Machado Jiu Jitsu.

As far as I’m concerned the teacher is much more important than the style. When I was looking for dojos for my boys my first question was always “What is the youngest age you’ll give a kid a black belt?” Anything younger than 16 and I was out of there. Any school that gives young kids black belts is in it to push them through the belts and make money. No ten year-old has any business with a black belt, there is much, much more to the martial arts than just sparring, fighting, and colored belts.

A good kid’s karate teacher is firm, fair, consistent, and patient. It is imperative that the teacher is very clear about the fact that these are skills that are not to be used to show off or to hurt friends or siblings. The teacher should also stress that karate is a skill that should be used to solve conflicts not start them, that it is not about kicking ass. Basically this is not a teacher I would pick to teach my kid.

>>Mouse hops off her soapbox.<<

That being said, Aikido is a great style for kids as are Hapkido and maybe even Judo or Jujitsu. Personally, I plan to put my kids in Capoeira..

robmandu's avatar

@SuperMouse… great advice for selecting an instructor. Thx!

phoenyx's avatar

I would choose Aikido for my kids as well. I think the philosophy behind the martial art is important.

libraryguy's avatar

For sport, listen to the guy above on Hapkido. For self defense no martial art is good.

SuperMouse's avatar

@libraryguy, I’m a girl, but thanks for the compliment!

JMCSD's avatar

@SuperMouse
I for one highly disagree with you. In fact I for one find that statement offensive. I started Martial Arts at the age of four. I am very talented and think that being held back in belts would have been disheartening. Now depending on the style, you may have a very valid point. But why do you think that putting kids through the belts is just for money? I very rarely get frustrated from reading peoples OPINIONS on here, but reading your die hard statement offends me. I had a great instructor, learned a lot, and never for a second thought that he was putting any of his students through the belts for the reason of keeping them there and making money (Although I’ve never seen a non-profit dojo… have you?). TaeKwonDo was the style that I learned from him at the time (not the only he taught mind you) and if you can memorize the forms, be a good student, and actually turn up, then there is NOTHING wrong with allowing a child to be promoted. I reached 2nd dan by the time I was 12 and I did that by working hard. I would think that any instructor NOT willing to promote any of his students based on age would be one that possessed bad judgement. To go on top of that, I don’t see how Hapkido is a good style for children. Now I am by no means a professional on the various styles of Martial Arts, but I find teaching a child joint locks and pressure point strikes to be a slightly more dangerous route then something along the lines of regular Karate or, indeed, TaeKwonDo. Just my Opinion.

Warpstone's avatar

@JMCSD, I’m sure your experience with your instructor was good and that the dojo in question was a good environment. However, I think @SuperMouse may be addressing the more overtly commercial schools that emphasize collecting a rainbow assortment of belts over discipline and skill. Again, your mileage may vary, but I would generally be more skeptical of instructors who emphasize quick advancement.

BTW, I’ve only ever participated in non-profit schools.

SuperMouse's avatar

@JMCSD, @Warpstone made my point very well.

I am glad to hear that you are happy with your martial arts training, but I stand by my statement that no 12 year-old should have a black belt. A junior black belt? Sure, but to say that a 12 year-old is capable of understanding all of the concepts that are part of being a black belt? I’m not buying it.

It sounds as though your teacher, while I disagree with his promoting a 12 year-old to black belt, was an excellent teacher who was not just in for the money. It is great that you were able to get great training from a good teacher. I have visited dozens and dozens of dojos in two states and I will tell you, teachers such as yours are the exception – not the rule. I promise you that none of the instructors I ever studied with were in it for the money. They were in it because they loved their art and loved being able to teach it to others.

I also stand by my statement that Hapkido – and Aikido for that matter – are good styles for kids. While it is true that it is not a sparring style like Tae Kwon Do and many other styles popular with kids, I think it is a great style for kids to learn. It is a very powerful style that is good for self-defense, and I think there is something to be said for not teaching a kid to hit to earn points.

This is just my opinion, and I apologize if it offended you, but I do stand by what I said.

libraryguy's avatar

Just remember why you are doing this. Fun, sport, health then TKD and Hapkido are great. Self defense in the street, sorry but you are asking for trouble until you are very very good and even then practicing barefoot in oriental “pajamas” and forms aka katas are a complete and utter waste.

sakura's avatar

My husband loved Judo as a kid, my daughter enjoyed teh taster session they gave at school, but lessons clashed with dancing and I’m sorry but dancing won for her!

JMCSD's avatar

I cant believe I forgot to respond following. @SuperMouse , well put, and I respect your standing behind your statements. I came on strongly at the time, and just felt that while it should not be a student’s priority to earn the next belt, it is still a goal/achievement that provides reward for their hard work. I’ll have to slightly disagree on a couple of the opinions you have, but I respect them as I can tell you’ve had more experience than I. Hope everyone has been well by the way!

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