Parents looking to enroll their kids in a martial arts class often ask themselves if it’s the right time to do so. Will your child actually be happy learning martial arts at that age? While martial arts may have a slew of benefits for children, the decision to enroll them in a class should ultimately depend on their happiness.
At what age should a child start taking up martial arts so that they stay happy and take the discipline to adulthood? Read on to find out.
How Does a Child Benefit From Martial Arts?
Before we get into the various starting ages for martial arts, let’s look at how martial arts can benefit children first. Learning martial arts can impact children in many ways, most of which is in a positive manner.
- Teaches kids self-discipline and helps them control their aggression
- Gets rid of a child’s tendency to bully
- Has been linked to stress prevention and relief
Signs That a Child Enjoys a Martial Arts School
Is a martial arts school the right one for children? The following are good signs that they are.
- Children feel at home in the dojo
- Instructors work with children individually and not as a class to address their specific needs
- Instructors group children according to their skill level to create more challenging scenarios, which leads to better progress
- When a sensei cares and knows his or her students by heart
Proper Age To Start Practicing Martial Arts
There are various age ranges for starting martial arts, depending on where your child is currently at developmentally.
Early Age (Four To Five Years Old)
Kids as young as four years old can start taking martial arts classes. Schools typically accepting these ages also put safety in mind above all else, so parents don’t need to worry about that. Any complicated or potentially dangerous move usually isn’t part of the youngster program.
If your child is happy to attend martial arts sessions at four or five years old, he or she could have a great foundation for their chosen martial art form. That’s because their program will center mostly on doing the basics in a fun and exciting way.
Nevertheless, not all schools will accept kids this young. A karate school might, but the rest usually won’t take chances on non-prodigies. At this age, karate classes also tend to focus on learning principles and not drills and techniques.
Six To 10 Years Old
Starting at this age range can easily help children achieve success in their chosen martial arts discipline. The proof lies in some of the most famous martial artists in the entertainment industry.
Both Jackie Chan and Jet Li started their journey in this age range, and look at how successful they’ve become. It shows that your children can achieve the same success when they put in the hard work and actually love what they’re doing. Starting between ages six and 10 shows there’s a good chance your child will learn to love their chosen art form immensely.
Eleven Years Old To Young Adulthood
Martial-artists-turned-action-stars Chuck Norris and Bruce Lee began their path to mastery at this age range. Others, like Michelle Yeoh, were able to forge a similar path even after starting beyond 20 years old.
Still, some martial arts schools will refuse to teach students below 16 years of age. That is, of course, unless they show signs of being a wunderkind and have the temperament suited for the discipline.
One thing to keep in mind regardless of the age your child starts is that any form of martial arts requires a certain level of skill and focus. Some children might reach that level early, but others might take a little bit more time to get there. Nevertheless, it’s important to consider how suitable your child is for a particular martial arts discipline, as that will factor into their happiness with the experience.
Can You Start as an Adult?
The answer is a resounding yes. As mentioned earlier, Michelle Yeoh got her start not earlier than 20 years old. Given her success in her art form, it stands to reason that you can still lay the foundation for success in martial arts even if you start as an adult.
What’s more, practicing martial arts holds countless benefits for adults. When you practice your chosen art form correctly, you can immensely improve your fitness, posture, self-esteem, and general health.
The fact is, martial arts is for people of all ages. The very core of martial arts disregards age, so as long as you can find happiness in the discipline, don’t hesitate to try it out. Some even start training at 60 and are still able to unravel much about themselves they have yet to learn. Stop regretting you didn’t learn a martial art form when you were younger; remedy the situation by enrolling in a class today.
Martial Arts Suits All Ages
These days, you won’t have trouble finding a martial arts class for yourself or your children. Plenty of martial arts schools have programs for children as young as four years old and adults as old as 60. If you’re interested in learning and know it can make you happy, you shouldn’t let your age stop you from taking up martial arts.