The Best Age for a Child to Begin Martial Arts

Martial arts has long been considered a worthwhile pursuit for kids, and the benefits really do speak for themselves. But is there an ideal age for kids to get started? Here at Freestyle Martial Arts in Reno, we offer martial arts classes for children and youth, and we’ve learned a thing or two along the way. Here’s what to know about the best age for a child to begin martial arts.

According to the Research

Just for kicks, and in the event you aren’t already clear on the real value of martial arts for kids, let’s run through the research.

  • Research gathered from over 350 papers associated lower aggressiveness in kids who had been training for longer periods.
  • Research from 2015 draws a link between martial arts and stress relief.
  • An older study from 2008 associates martial arts training with lower levels of aggression and a greater likelihood of helping victims of bullying.

And then there’s the anecdotal evidence. We’ve heard from kids and parents who credit martial arts for improved self confidence, self-esteem, discipline, respect, tenacity, and the list goes on. It’s truly amazing to witness.

Ages Four to Seven

Our Little Dragons program welcomes kids as young as age four, with a focus on safety and fun. At this level, we’re simply laying the foundation of things to come, modeling good behavior, and helping your kids burn off some energy. Every child is different, and our instructors are skilled at meeting every student where they are. Kids benefit from improved coordination and balance, learning patience, improved concentration skills, and confidence as they learn new skills and abilities.

Ages Eight to fourteen

This age range is when many children find their way to martial arts. It’s also the window that very often marks the beginning of the path to a black belt. Martial arts is unique in that in requires focus, persistence, and the ability to fail again and again along the way. Some kids embrace this and find themselves rising to the challenge in ways that surprise their parents. Some kids are drawn to the sense of community and friendship. Some kids are incredibly motivated by getting the next tip on their belt. Whatever it is that hooks a kid, this tends to be the biggest age group.

Our youth program teaches mixed martial arts in a safe, respectful, age-appropriate way that challenges without intimidating. The focus is on safety, personal responsibility, and goal setting.

Age fifteen and Up

Truly, it’s never too late to begin martial arts. And in this world of “start ’em young,” let us reassure you that a child well into his or her teens hasn’t missed the boat. Interest and motivation are all a kid needs. Plus, there are benefits to starting to train a little later in life. A fifteen year-old isn’t going to behave like a six year-old, simply because he or she has more emotional and physical maturity. Depending on the kid, there’s an option for our youth or adult program, and we work with the student and parent to find the program that works best.

Getting Started

Finding the right school for a kid to begin martial arts is like anything — it takes a little effort. Consider this your personal invitation to sit in on a class, speak with our team, and get a feel for whether your child will feel comfortable. You’re welcome to contact us, take advantage of our getting started offer, or call us with any questions. The best way for a kid to feel out martial arts is to try, and we make it easy.

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