How to Choose the Best Martial Arts for Kids?

When children start going to martial arts classes at earlier ages they become physically healthier. Also, many martial arts are perfect for self-defense. So once they learn the basics they can protect themselves against bullies in school.

Martial arts also improve patience, discipline and help them become mentally stronger. And it is quite important for youngsters as when they are used to cope with challenges of life sooner it is more likely to be a habit so they can become successful in the future.

So training and choosing the best martial art for kids has vital importance.

Why the martial arts on this list are suitable for kids?

Let’s face it. There are many martial arts that children can learn and the choosing process can make anyone confused. Some martial arts below are relatively easier to learn. So kids would be more confident when they learn the basics and improve their skills. Some are perfect for self-defense and they can protect themselves effectively just after a couple of months of training. This may surprise you however many children’s primary goal is to learn self-defense.


There are many reasons why there are so many wrestling clubs and high school wrestling tournaments. Firstly, wrestling is great for anyone who is looking to improve physical skills like agility and explosiveness. Wrestlers need to be quite powerful as they need to do takedowns and various other techniques that require a great amount of strength.

Children learn how to control the opponent, slam an opponent to the ground and techniques which are quite useful in real life. So when they face dangerous situations they can react quite fast with these techniques.

Also, there are not many gears that are needed. If you purchase some singlets, shoes and mats that can protect your body after slams, these would be enough for training. So there are actually many youngsters who can train in a garage or a yard. You can even hire an instructor thus your children can learn wrestling at their own homes.

Considering these, wrestling definitely should be in your consideration.


Children need to learn a lot of different BJJ submission techniques, grappling techniques, escapes and more. So there is so much to learn and practice. Also progressing in BJJ is incredibly difficult. When this is the case dedication and discipline become really important.

BJJ is a grappling style martial art that does not involve striking and it is perfect for self-defense as you don’t need to overpower your opponents to beat them. So it is okay that if you don’t want to prioritize strength training. BJJ minimizes the importance of physical skills like strength, length of limps in a fight.

Basically, when the fight is on the ground BJJ practitioner has a huge advantage over the opponent in real life.

Also, instructors tend to give children higher ranks easier. So this seems like children get rewards easily. However, it works extremely well as children become more motivated and can’t wait to roll on the mats again.

Jiu-jitsu offers a great workout. It helps you lose fat very fast so the children can have fitter bodies in no time and they can achieve this goal while learning self-defense and having fun!

Having quality equipment helps practitioners learn this effective martial art more efficiently. So if you decide to send your kid to a dojo you can grab one of these gis for kids.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which martial arts are best for discipline?

All martial arts are good for discipline. After all, these martial arts require children to go to classes at certain hours so they don’t miss a class. Also, paying full attention in classes is a must otherwise it is not possible to learn the complicated striking or grappling techniques.

However, some require more dedication, consistency than the others. For instance, even though Muay Thai, boxing and other striking based martial arts are great, comparing to submissions it is relatively easier to learn striking techniques. So, if you practice one of those, having five-six week breaks do not do much harm. Over the years, I also experience that people are just better at remembering striking techniques after a short break.

However, when you miss multiple BJJ sessions especially if you are a beginner, then this will be a serious problem as it is difficult to remember techniques and complex submissions. This is not to say that the other martial arts are bad for discipline as all of them require dedication, patience… And you need to be able to withstand physical challenges constantly. Thanks to these, it can be even argued that when it comes to discipline, these are better than most sports.

Shortly, after they start training martial arts regularly, they can be mentally strong and gain self-discipline. Thus any martial art is amazing for self-discipline.

What is a good age to start martial arts?

People start learning martial arts at almost any age. For example, I constantly see elderly people who do footwork drills and battle rope sessions in local martial arts gyms. However, is there a good age to start? Yeah, actually there is. Children, who just start going to school, are at the perfect age to start practicing martial arts. So sending your five, six, seven years old kids to a proper martial arts gym is one of the best decisions that you can make for physical development.

How do you choose a proper martial arts gym or dojo for your children?

Firstly, you need to check out the local forums and reviews for a martial art gym that you consider joining. You need to make sure that the reviews are legit and good. After these, go to that gym and talk with instructors.  And ask the following questions.

Are there classes for children?

As you may know or even experience that some martial arts gyms have kids, who are between five years olds and thirteen years olds, in the same class. This is an issue and obviously, the older ones learn faster and younger ones seem to fall behind. Also, there is a serious power imbalance between these kids and these can create all kinds of problems including injuries. So it is important that the gyms have separate classes for different age groups.

Which martial art is more fun?

Kids seem to enjoy the physicality of wrestling, takedowns and scrambling. This is one of the reasons why it is very popular among young athletes and there is a myriad of high school wrestling tournaments. When kids grow up and start going to high school they continue training this martial art and even join tournaments.

Are the instructors competent?  

Obviously, if you have not practiced a martial art you simply can’t understand whether an instructor is competent or not. However, you can check out the certifications and how many years they have been teaching that particular martial art. Also, you can check out whether they competed or not and definitely ask which certificates they have.

Also, if you decide to send your child a dojo, you should definitely gather information about the lineage tree of the instructor and you can do so with this link. As a side note, I really admired this page as it is quite hard to gather all the information about all the black belts, their profiles, updates, etc. So in order to evaluate the instructors of a dojo, be sure to check out that page thoroughly.

Does the facility have quality gears and equipment?

Even though the instructors and training plan are important for children to improve the skills the quality of equipment also matters. For instance, if the mats are not good at absorbing shock you really don’t want to be slammed to the ground during a wrestling match. So, you need to check out the brands of gears, equipment and whether these are maintained well or not.

Will martial arts like karate make my child more aggressive?

No. Martial arts are quite demanding on the body and help kids to stay in shape. So the children exert so much energy during these classes and after these exhausting and long sessions, they become less aggressive. Also, these improve many different mental skills including patience. So when something bad happens in real life people, who have practiced these, don’t react immediately. They wait, try to understand the situation and react at the right moment which can help them big time.

Final Thoughts

Some martial arts are more suitable for children as these are great for the body and help them lose a significant amount of fat in a short time. And these are great for self-defense so they can effectively protect themselves in the street.

After choosing the martial arts, parents need to vet a martial arts gym according to a few important criteria. These are the quality of gears, the knowledge and the competency of instructors. Also, after your kids actually train a few times, ask them whether they are having fun or not during training sessions. This is quite important for them to continue training. Because let’s face it if they are not having fun they actually are not engaged with it.

This guide includes these in detail and more. Hopefully, you have come this far and now you know everything about choosing the best martial art for your kids.

You might have questions about the topic or about the martial arts which are not on this list. If you have any further questions or anything to share, feel free to let me know below. I would be happy to answer your questions.

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