7 Benefits of Martial Arts for Kids | Backed by research


martial arts kids

Today, martial arts are widespread. It all started with a self-defense trend. Later, people have comprehended the benefits of training in one of these fighting styles. Eventually, many pieces of research showed that it helped young kids mature better. 

For instance, young males who had lacked role models used martial arts training as an outlet. (Source) Additionally, studies proved that consistent training betters physical shape, but it also increases self-confidence and self-esteem, even for kids. 

The following list is the benefits of martial arts kids can experience from consistent training. 

  • Increase self-confidence
  • Lower physical and verbal aggression
  • Lower stress levels
  • Provide an outlet 
  • Martial arts make kids less violent
  • Teach to use self-defense
  • Enhance self-esteem

Every child should have a hobby outside of school. Because of that, finding a suitable and safe activity for your kid; is crucial for their mental health. 

Well, fighting isn’t really safe, nor does it promote mental health. Right?

Next, we’ll discuss which benefits kids will experience from learning to fight. Understand that they won’t have any from a single session. Instead, with enough consistency and dedication, the child will improve many aspects, including his social and mental life. 

As a result, training in martial arts is highly beneficial for kids. Today, I’ll show you the benefits and the studies behind them. So you’ll feel safe sending your kids to martial arts training. 

1. Increase self-confidence

Exercising, in general, is fantastic for your mental state. Yet, in martial arts training, it’s somewhat different. For instance, if a person were to run every day for a month, he would feel proud because he stayed consistent.

Martial arts will force the kid to overcome various obstacles throughout training. From accomplishing various feats, one will feel proud and satisfied. Because of that, the child’s self-image and self-confidence will immediately increase. 

Man pushing a boulder
Image by Schäferle from Pixabay

Some say that training in such fighting styles is a form of self-help. Not only that, but research also shows similar results. In fact, let me cite one study to guide you further on how martial arts increase self-confidence. 

Training in martial arts has altered experiences of control and vulnerability, self-esteem, self-concept, fitness, confidence, and relaxation. As a result, some researchers characterize martial arts practice as a form of self-help.

(Columbus & Rice, 1998).

This study is on the mental and physical effects on individuals with disabilities. Yet, it’s true that it affects everyone. In the rest of this post, I will continuously cite studies and research because what’s more appealing than that? My personal experience is positively not enough to prove my point.

From personal experience, although I wasn’t a kid when I began my fighting journey, which is too bad, I feel obliged to tell you my story. I never considered too much of myself. Instead, I had relatively low self-esteem and self-image. I thought I wouldn’t achieve anything of importance in life. 

Yet, training in martial arts changed my perspective 180 degrees. I was able to achieve various feats and- overcome many obstacles throughout my training. Thus I gained the respect of myself and my teammates, which meant the world to me. 

2. Lower physical and verbal aggression

Not being stressed and being less aggressive is a trait we all desire. As a result, knowing your child will be capable of achieving that is a fantastic feeling. Because of that, knowing that martial arts training has that effect- is crucial for sending your youngster wholeheartedly. 

Martial arts reduce overall levels of aggression, including physical and verbal. Additionally, it lowers anger and stress levels. According to a study, learning to fight doesn’t correlate with being more aggressive or violent. Instead, the opposite is true. 

This study is a fantastic piece of information. I would highly encourage you to read it to comprehend further how it lowers aggression levels. Yet, reading the next paragraph will be enough to understand this section. 

“On the basis of the results obtained in our own analyses it can be stated that regular and with full commitment training combat sports and especially martial arts supervised by a trainer who pays attention to educational aspects and compliance with the rules can become a method of reducing the level of hostility.” (Source)

Martial arts reduce aggression
Comparison of the level of aggression dimensions between the respondents’ results and the normative value.

How is that even possible? Wouldn’t learning to fight increase aggressiveness because the child now wants to try his newly obtained skills? Well, not precisely. 

Because martial arts training incorporates drills where the trainee will release plenty of built tension and stress, one would have a lower level of aggression post-training. It provides an outlet to kids to release their anger and all negative emotions. 

Therefore, training in martial arts doesn’t increase the level of aggression. Although it’s a famous myth, the opposite is true. Thus you can now send your kid without worrying about him becoming more aggressive. 

3. Lower stress levels

Being less stressed is a positive benefits everyone wants to achieve. Many different activites have a similar effect. Well, martial arts will do the same for your kid. Yet, it applies to everyone. If you want to learn more about the widespread benefits one can expect from martial arts training, follow the link to an article of mine. 

Martial arts training will lower your child’s stress and anxiety level because he’ll release built tension and aggressiveness while training. As a result, he’ll feel less stressed and with fewer worries post-training. Research proved this claim to be accurate. Let’s discuss it further. 

“The regular practice of martial arts could elevate mindfullness levels of practitioners and thus influence positively on stress management and therefore quality of life and well-being.”

(Source)

In this study, the research correlates overall exercise with a reduction in stress levels. Yet, the study was on martial arts trainees. We can infer- in fact, the claim I made earlier was accurate. Hence martial arts training will reduce stress and overall anxiety for children and the average trainee.

I’ll include an image that illustrates why this is happening. Although many believe that hitting a punching bag is the sole action that reduces stress in martial arts. Yet, 

Diagram showing the reciprocal activity between martial arts, mindfulness, mindful exercise, and stress. 

Various fighting styles include meditation drills. In them, one will practice Qi, which is mindfulness training. One can claim; that’s what causes such a benefit in aggressive environments, such as martial arts training.  

4. Provide an outlet 

When I was a child, I’ve had various issues regarding not having a place I belonged. Because it was challenging to deal with such a problem, I’ve been looking for such an outlet. Well, you can solve this issue by merely sending your kid to a martial art class. In it, one may find his new hobby. 

Martial arts training provides an outlet for kids because it’s a hobby they can socialize and have no judgment. Therefore, they’ll be capable of opening up and making new friends while learning a beautiful fighting style. I wish I had participated in such a hobby when I was a kid. 

Releasing built tension from many sources your child is under the influence of; is crucial. Martial arts training will provide exactly that. I’m not suggesting you should send your child to Krav Maga, not at all. However, martial arts, such as Kung fu, Karate, and Jiu-Jitsu, will be an outlet.

In my adult life, hitting the punching bag still is my outlet from life. There’s no place I’m more in the piece rather than the gym. I can practice what I learned for years. Therefore, I release built tension and stress. 

Not all martial arts involve punching and striking. Some, such as Judo and Jiu-Jitsu, incorporate distinct techniques. For example, Judo is about pinning or cleanly throwing your opponent to the ground. It’s one of the most non-harming sports in the world. 

At times, fighting can cause permanent damage. If you’re unwilling to experience such injuries, read more about the safest martial arts that are still effective and practical; follow the link to an article of mine. 

5. Martial arts make kids less violent

I’ve written an article about why martial arts don’t make you more violent. I highly encourage you to check it out to be more at peace with that section. You’ll learn plenty about why learning to fight isn’t what you think it is. 

Martial arts make kids less violent because it lowers physical and verbal aggression, anger, and stress levels. The causes of being violent are precisely the traits I mentioned. Therefore, training in martial will lower violence levels and promote a peaceful, stress-free mindset.

The following list is how martial arts decrease overall violence and aggression amongst its trainees.

First, they’re a form of meditation. Most people relate fighting styles, such as Tai chi and Qigong, to meditation. Yet, they all promote the use of Qi training. For instance, Kung fu practitioners meditate for many hours throughout their journey. 

Because of that, your kid will be more peaceful and stress-free, which are the traits of nonviolent kids. Overall, training in martial arts reduces the use of violence, although the contrary seems to be true. It’s fascinating watching people learn the incredible benefits of martial arts. I hope you’re doing well there. We’ve got two more. 

6. Teach to use self-defense

Today, many people feel defenseless. In California only- in 2020, there were 113,646 cases of aggravated assaults. (Source) If we think about that number, we understand that we’re all in danger by existing in public. Therefore, knowing how to protect ourselves is a valuable skill. 

Martial arts is the practice of fighting correctly. Because your child will learn how to fight appropriately, he’ll be able to use self-defense if he’ll ever need it. That way, you’re giving him this boost of confidence and a new set of skills to use in a time of trouble. 

violence
Image by Dmitry Abramov from Pixabay

Although I prefer not to talk about such instances, they’re possible. Therefore, preparing for them won’t hurt anyone. In fact, people who know self-defense are more confident and have better self-esteem. Therefore, if you can grant your kid that trait, why not go for it? 

Additionally, kids who know martial arts usually don’t get bullied. They know their self-worth and use their capabilities to ensure such instance doesn’t occur. Eventually, this will boost your child’s confidence and social relationships with others. 

Self-defense is widespread throughout the world. Many self-defense systems, such as Krav Maga and Systema, are prevalent for a reason. People want to learn to defend themselves properly. Therefore, if you can sign your kid to have these other benefits while learning self-defense, no one’s going to lose.

7. Enhance self-esteem

Learning to fight will assist you in obtaining a new skill set. Thus you’ll be able to use it for many purposes, such as self-defense and becoming more peaceful. Additionally, you’ll overcome various obstacles that’ll boost your self-confidence and self-esteem.

Training in martial arts will boost your self-esteem because you’ll overcome various obstacles throughout the classes. Additionally, the kid will receive positive reinforcements, such as higher belts and plenty more. As a result, one will feel more confident in his capabilities. 

I wish more people were familiar with that. Adults who train in such fighting styles- experience that benefit the most. Because many people are insecure and have low self-esteem, doing martial arts will immediately boost their confidence. 

Yet, that also affects children. It’s a mental health benefit that kids will experience in martial arts. The study I cited in the first section applies to this one. As a result, I’ll place it again. 

Training in martial arts has altered experiences of control and vulnerability, self-esteem, self-concept, fitness, confidence, and relaxation. As a result, some researchers characterize martial arts practice as a form of self-help.

Source

According to different research, Karate boosted global self-esteem in young adults. This outcome is in agreement with previous findings that martial arts practice improves exercise self-efficacy.

Source
Martial arts and their affect on self-esteem
Self-esteem in young adults with visual impairment

Should kids train in martial arts?

Solely from the number of benefits pieces of research found to affect people who do martial arts, your kid should learn a martial art. If I were to go back in time, I would’ve begged my parents to send me to a fighting-style school. That would’ve changed my life. 

Kids should train in martial arts because research showed that they boost self-confidence, provide an outlet, increase self-esteem, improve social life, and influence young males’ mental health. As a result, learning a martial art is suitable for children and adults. 

Overall, there’s zero doubt in my mind regarding learning the art of fighting. Not only will it not make you violent, but it’ll reduce stress and overall aggression levels. Such benefits are suitable for adults and children. As a result, both should learn a martial art to experience these incredible benefits.

Do martial arts make you violent?

Contrary to most people’s belief, learning to fight doesn’t make you violent. Instead, the opposite is true. You’ll reduce your overall levels of aggression and ensure you’re being less fierce. 

Martial arts won’t make your kid violent because they reduce the overall levels of stress, physical and verbal aggression, anger, and anxiety. When thinking about it, learning to fight appropriately will make your child less violent; and less likely to get into a fight. 

I know it doesn’t make sense. Yet, studies have shown us that it’s the case. To put it simply, if you send your kid to martial arts class, one won’t come back violent; if that’s your concern. 

Best martial arts for kids

Knowing which fighting styles to send your child to is crucial. You don’t want to sign your kid to an uncertified school teaching dangerous martial arts, such as Kenpo. Because of that, knowing which ones are the safest is wise. 

The following list is the best martial arts for kids

These are all the safest martial arts that don’t involve many punches and kicks. Most of them include drills of meditation in them. Thus they’ll be fantastic for the benefits we discussed earlier. 

Although if I were to go back in time, I would’ve chosen Boxing as the fighting style I would want to learn. Because it’s a solid style that makes solid fighters, I would’ve been interested in it. 

Yet, the ones I recommend are Judo, BJJ, Kung fu, wresting, and Tai Chi. All of these are fantastic for your kid’s mental health and will not cause permanent damage. I encourage you to do your local research and find a certified school with plenty of reviews. 

Conclusion

Martial arts are a fantastic way to promote your child’s mental health. It’ll increase his confidence, boost his self-esteem, and will provide an outlet for him. As a result, one can expect to benefit highly from such training. 

If I were to go back in time, I would’ve signed up to be a trainee in any fighting style, even Qigong, which is boring. I wouldn’t care. Even Qigong and Tai chi boost the aspects I mentioned in this post. Thus learning martial arts is a fantastic way to assist your child in developing himself. 

Levi

I've served in the military as a special forces operator for 4-years. In that period, I've trained in many martial arts, including karate, MMA, BJJ, boxing, and even Krav Maga. I want to share my passion with you, so here it is!

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