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by GM Greg Silva, president of Black Belt School International.Author of the Silva Solution, "Building Black Belts from the Inside out"

Martial Arts has so many benefits that parents are looking for.  Parents also see very young kids on TV and featured in publications.    So what is the right age to start?

The age to start depends on the school, style of martial arts and the instructor, much more than the age of the child.

I began teaching in the 1970's and have maintained that the most important thing especially with a young child is that he had a positive experience.   I have had kids come in to try my program because mom and dad see's him jumping and kicking around the house and feel that he must have some talent.   However once in a structured environment we find the child constantly needing to have a talking to or removed from the class.   I then tell the parents that it's just not going to be a positive experience for the child.   Especially with preschool children who haven't had any experience with group involvement.  My recommendation is they  wait 6 months and let's try it again.  Each child is different so take a trial program and watch for yourself.   

Ages 3 to 4 years olds do well in a 30 minute class with a patient instructor.   The classes should be fun for the kids and they should be doing some basic martial arts.  Running and playing games is fun but most parents are looking to establish some self control and social skills along.  

Ages 5 - 6.   This is a great age because these children have had a year or two of class environment at pre-school and kindergarten.   Look for 30 minute classes with good protocol and established rules.   Again fun is important but learning to be still, focused for minutes at a time, respectful, patient, along with kicking, balance and curriculum to memorize will have long term benefits in all aspects of lives.

Ages  7 - 12.    Seek out a school with young but mature instructors that kids can relate to.   Martial Arts is a very visual endeavor and kids learn by moving, watching and working out with others.   I recommend avoiding schools with very long classes.  45 minutes seems to be just right for this age group.   Kids leave wanting more instead of feeling they can't wait for the class to be over.   Schools focus on different aspects and parents want to look for a school that fits their goals.   Is it self defense, fitness or competition you are looking for?   I also feel it's important a school combines social events in addition to classes so kids make friends and enjoy some friendly competition.

There is no upper age limit.   Martial Arts is one of the few sports that kids and parents can enjoy together.   Be a VIP or Very Involved Parent and lead by example by joining a martial arts school with your child.



09/12/2016 8:22pm

Martial Arts are the kind of sports that can make you strong and be alert as it enhances your skills in fighting and self-defense as well. Martial Arts can make you smart because it makes you think of such actions that will make you a winner and beat your opponent. Martial Arts can also make you healthy as it makes your body fit.

12/21/2016 1:18am

For me, there's no right age for teaching martial arts. As long as the child is ready to learn, that's the right time for them to teach martial arts. As we all know, it is important to learn martial arts for self defense to those bad guys out there. It also makes your body healthy as it is also a form of exercise. It is where you can enjoy while making your body healthier.

09/12/2016 8:27pm

Martial Arts are very essential in these days for it allows you to be strong and make your body fit and it can make you smarter as it enhances your mind to think of such actions for you to succeed in battle. It is a great sport for all of us and must be practiced always.

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12/29/2016 7:30am

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02/10/2017 9:43am

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04/08/2017 1:39am

The first and last thing you need to remember about martial arts is that it is a field of discipline that is supposed to prepare you for combat. It is not simply a set of movements that look great to spectators. Every movement, every breath done by the martial artist is meant to accomplish something during a combat encounter. If you are ready for the idea of using your martial arts skills for combat situations, then you are ready to train and progress in martial arts.

04/08/2017 1:41am

In this article we list the top 10 reasons to consider doing a martial art for fitness and weight loss to help you decide if doing one is right for you.

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