There is more to physical activity for kids than just going to the playground. Whether it’s karate or judo, martial arts for kids can provide them with discipline, self-defense, and fun!
One of the best parts of being a kid is the fun of physical activity! Martial arts may be an ancient way to train, but there are many variations for your children to try. Whether they’re getting involved in karate, judo or taekwondo, there are many classes for kids to love!
Instead of plain, old fitness, martial arts can focus your child on a meaningful hobby! As they’ll have to absorb ancient traditions, they’ll be able to develop skills they can use in their daily lives. They may want to start with a makiwara, a padded striking post used in karate. Whether your child is practicing kicks, strikes, or punches, this can be a great way to begin. Another added bonus: martial arts also teach self-defense. So parents signing their kids up to a class are also helping their children defend themselves.
There are many different martial arts classes and finding the right one for your kid might be a little bit of trial and error. But surely there is a martial arts practice that will inspire your child's curiosity and enthusiasm!
- Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu – It might be surprising, but jiu-jitsu is derived from judo. Buddhist monks originally used this method of self-defense. However, Helio Gracie created Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and he developed the sport for a smaller, leaner fighter. As a result, this hybrid martial art is a combat sport that involves takedowns, ground control, and submission. The ultimate goal of Brazilian jiu-jitsu is to take one’s competitor to the ground.
- Folk Wrestling – Many people may know wrestling from the WWF icons that rumble in the ring. However, schools and colleges participate in folkstyle wrestling as ground fighting. There are many ways to score, including reversing control or turning the competitor’s back to the mat. The ultimate goal of folk wrestling – in any style – is getting your competitor down to the mat.
- Judo – This sport was created by Professor Jigoro Kano and is one of several Japanese martial arts. By combining defense forms from different styles of jujutsu, Kano created a martial art that was both streamlined and powerful. As a practice, judo is ideal for self-defense and can also be an optimal recreational activity. Its moves include throws and arm locks.
Learning martial arts is a great way to teach your kids the importance of fitness and discipline. Attending a class will also help them with socializing and developing other skills. If you're still into researching the right sport for your kid, check out the following martial arts as well:
- Karate –In 1922, Gichin Funakoshi brought karate to Japan and it is one of several Chinese arts. Karate, however, has gained a following through martial arts movies like “The Karate Kid”. Like many martial arts, it emphasizes mental control and self-development. Some of the signature moves include punching, knee strikes and open-hand techniques like palm heel strikes.
- Taekwondo – With tae meaning foot or leg, kwon meaning fist or fight and do meaning way, taekwondo values both mental and physical discipline. While the martial arts inspiring this sport existed for over 5,000 years, taekwondo became prominent in Korea in the 1940s. This tradition has gained a reputation that has made it an official game of the Olympics. It includes moves like head-height kicks, jumping, spinning kicks, and flying kick techniques.
- Tang Soo Do – Tang soo do is karate-based and includes elements of many different techniques like shotokan, subak, taekkyon and Kung Fu. As a Korean fighting art, it includes a variety of stances, breathing exercises, self-defense, foot techniques and free fighting.
- Kempo – Shaolin Kempo Karate combines the five basic animal forms of Kung Fu: the tiger, crane, snake, leopard, and dragon. While it’s a type of karate, it also contains elements of Mongolian wrestling and Western boxing. Kempo uses ‘four ways of fighting’ including striking, grappling, kicking and felling.
Both karate and taekwondo classes are good ways to get your child into martial arts. While karate offers striking techniques, taekwondo focuses on sparring. Taekwondo also offers many opportunities to engage in healthy competition. If your child wants to learn throws and self-defense, judo can be the best option. Fortunately, there are many places in the Virginia Beach area for your kids to develop their martial arts skills:
- Kim’s Hapkido – With more than 35 years of experience, Master Kim offers many different martial arts for kids. There is something for everyone with Korean karate, jiu-jitsu, and taekwondo.
- Kobukan Martial Arts – Located in Norfolk, this martial arts center opened in 2008. The Roku GoRyu Shorin Ryu Karate program offers classes to those ages 4 and up. Students will learn the basics of self-defense and escape while practicing traditional concepts.
- Virginia Beach Jiu Jitsu – Recognized by the Ribeiro Jiu-Jitsu Association, this organization offers lessons for those 4-17. Children 4-7 can participate in the Little Samurai program while those 8-14 can become Junior Samurais. They will learn the basics of self-defense, sports, and being a good citizen.
Whether your child begins with a makiwara or taekwondo lessons, martial arts are a great tool for children. Have you enrolled your children in any martial arts classes? If so, share your experiences in our comments! Given the opportunity for physical activity, self-defense, and personal improvement, martial arts are a sport second to none!