Best Age to Start Martial Arts? (Why you should enroll your child in martial arts!)

Your child seems to have all the energy in the world, right?

Imagine focusing that energy into a martial art in which they learn skills that will last a lifetime.

If you have been wondering what is the best age to start martial arts for your child, you have landed in the right article.

The best age to start martial arts is between 6 to 10 years old. This is the age where a child is usually capable of actually understanding the martial art, able to follow instructions, execute techniques properly and so on. But more importantly, children starting martial arts in this age group are more likely to stick to it and progress further.

There are always exceptions to the norm of course, but generally around 6 to 10 years is the best age to start martial arts, especially if you want your child to compete or progress further in martial arts.

should I enroll my child in martial arts

Can You Start Martial Arts at around Age 4?

You can absolutely let your child start martial arts training at age 4, some even start as early as 3 years old. But do keep in mind that at this age, the focus is more on play, fun, laughter and interaction with other children.

They will also develop coordination, balance and learn about discipline while having fun in the class.

Martial arts vs. Team Sports

If time is a precious resource for your family, then you may be inclined to choose only one sports activity for your child.

While all sports provide some benefit to your child (such as physical fitness and learning teamwork), consider a few of the studied benefits specific to martial arts.              

Research shows that children who are in a martial arts program have better self-regulation, a reduction in stress, and better conflict management skills.

Another study revealed that kids in martial arts showed a reduction in aggression. These benefits help kids excel socially in school and beyond!

For kids with learning attention issues, such as ADHD, martial arts can offer a way to participate in a sport that doesn’t leave them behind.

The structure of martial arts programs gives kids with these challenges the ability to learn by emphasizing concentration and setting up reasonably attainable goals.

best age to start martial arts

Unlike team sports, martial arts offer a greater chance for individual achievement, which in turn keeps your child’s interest.

When deciding between team sports and martial arts, the choice is clear for me. Not only do kids get the assets listed here but they’ll also learn self-defense techniques to protect themselves and others.

So, what are the different styles of martial arts?

Some of the Martial Arts Basics

The term martial arts refer to a variety of disciplines including:

  • Jiu Jitsu
  • Tae Kwon Do
  • Judo
  • BJJ
  • Karate

And many others. Each of these styles is unique and emphasizes different techniques for different situations. You can read more about what we think is the best martial arts for kids here.

For example, Taekwondo is a Korean art that teaches self-defense through the proper use of fists and feet. It’s known to offer great deal of benefits for children.

BJJ comes originated in Japan but developed into what it is today in Brazil, it teaches the art of grappling.

Make sure you and your child know the style you’re looking for when searching for the right martial arts program.

should i enroll my child in martial arts

In the beginning, children learn the history, traditions, and, most importantly, the rules of the discipline from their instructor. These rules keep your child and others safe during their time learning new martial art skills. And after the first day, your child will be ready to show off something new they’ve learned!

You may have heard about belts in the progression of a martial arts program. Although belts are commonly associated with Karate, other disciplines utilize them to indicate levels of proficiency. Belts range from white for beginners to black for experts and provide a way for your child to show off their hard work.

Like other sports, martial arts have a competitive side. At some point, your child may want to take the opportunity to participate in a martial arts tournament.

These are structured events where your child can have fun while showing off what they have learned. Tournaments are supervised and safe, which leads us to the next question.

Are Martial Arts Programs Safe for Kids?

Most sports, in one way or another, carry some risk of injury.

However, it is important to keep in mind that kids tend to injure themselves throughout their childhood even while doing various other, non-sport related activities.

As a parent, it’s easy to focus on all the harm that could occur. But consider that most common injuries across different forms of martial arts are sprains and contusions (otherwise known as bruising). It would be difficult to find a child that doesn’t get a bruise from time to time.

Of course, you probably want to know about the risk of serious injury. Researchers conducting a five-year study found that the overall risk of serious injury in martial arts, particularly when compared to other contact sports, was relatively low.

If you’re looking for the lowest possible risk of serious injury for an activity, you’ve found it.

There are a few things you can do to reduce the risk of injuries.

Start by getting your child a physical examination to ensure they are healthy enough to participate. Ensure that the program you select is properly supervised and uses the necessary protective equipment such as gloves and headgear[9].

The bottom line here is that martial arts is a relatively safe sport to enroll your child into.

The most important thing to look for when selecting a martial arts program is the proper supervision of activities. Trained instructors should be equipped to recognize and act on any potential injuries that may occur.

The Rewards of Participating in Martial Arts

So, I’ve already talked about some of the studied benefits of martial arts compared to team sports. But there are other, non-tangible skills your child will gain. These are:

  • More respect for others
  • Better patience to deal with life problems
  • Courage to stand up for what’s right
  • A good attitude toward physical fitness

Who wouldn’t want their child to enjoy all these benefits?

And yet another study showed that martial arts programs improve cognitive functioning in middle school students.

The key takeaway for all of this is that martial arts are wholly beneficial for your child. Any potential risks from minor injuries are far outweighed by the overwhelming benefits.


So what is the best age to start martial arts? Around 6 to 10 years old generally speaking. But you can absolutely enroll your child in martial arts even from 4 years old, so long you understand the difference in what they will actually be doing in classes.

Should you enroll your child in a martial arts program?

Seems to me that the evidence is clear that martial arts activities have benefits not shared by other team sports. Programs are safe when well supervised and provide several physical and cognitive abilities that your child will carry with them for the rest of their lives.