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When Should Children Start Martial Arts Training?


One of the most contentious topics for many martial arts schools is the age kids should be when first they start their practice. At AKI, we believe the student and the parent play the biggest role in this decision. While some parents think no age is too young — as long as the classes are tailored for tots — many others think starting a child in martial arts too early is a recipe for disaster. In most cases, this will come down to the child, the martial art, and the instructor, but there are other factors to consider.

At the American Karate Institute, we need to collectively work towards providing your child with a balance in their training and physical activities. This will be a key factor in well-being. However, consistently training rigorously is something that must come with age and is not advised for young children. Here are some thoughts on when your child should start training in the martial arts.

Overuse Injuries

The biggest subject of concern for most parents is physical, chronic injuries that can occur from unsafe play. Young children can be more susceptible to this. Without a good physical activity plan, they can cause long-term damage. According to Allston Stubbs, M.D. (an orthopedist at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, in Winston-Salem, NC), he’s seeing more teens than ever with major joint problems, such as pulled or torn ACLs.

These types of injury issues are prevalent in athletes who spend a lot of time training, as it increases wear and tear, as well as potential imbalances in the body. Our instructors #1 priority is the safety of your children, and we are able to asses every situation to make your child is ready for each form of martial arts and activities.

Depends on your Child

Child development doesn’t occur at the same rate for every child. Some develop very quickly, while others are late bloomers; there’s nothing wrong with that. Some children may enjoy a martial arts class at the age of 5, while others may not like it until they’re 10. Before the age of 6 though, the most important thing is that the child is having fun. At that age, it’s likely too early for other school teachings they will be learning later on, such as how to resist peer pressure.

Children at this age may not have the motor skills to perfect their hook kicks, but they can still experience great lessons, get some physical activity, interact with other kids, and have a blast doing it. You can always experiment with a few of our child classes, see what your child and our instructors think, and then make a thoughtful decision.

Depends on their Instructor

The biggest value your child can receive from an early start in martial arts is the life lessons it can teach you. There’s a reason why people so often speak about the benefits of martial arts for kids. Our Martial Arts Instructors are the best in Miami so please be sure you ask every question and voice your concerns before you decide to enroll your child in one of our programs.

Communicate Often

Don’t let your desire for seeing your child as the next Olympian cloud your decisions. Their immediate and long-term well-being are important to note, along with their overall happiness. Communicate with your child on a regular basis, to get an unbiased and honest assessment of the classes they are taking. Feeling too much pressure to compete could turn them off of martial arts and sports for a long time; the focus should be on having a good time, while developing and nurturing their discipline and philosophies.

Whatever age you decide to start your child’s journey in martial arts, make sure to get them a physical examination, to make sure everything is okay for them to start training. Your family doctor should be able to give you more advice, to help you make the right decision for your family.

Contact American Karate Institute for a Free Trial Class

At the American Karate Institute, we teach a way of life. Our Miami martial arts school and MMA Classes has developed a well thought out curriculum that teaches more than just the art of self-defense. We delve deep into our students’ technique, skill set, intelligence, intuition and overall physical fitness. Contact us today if you’re interested in mixed martial arts and self-defense classes and schedule your free-trial class!

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We know that Nothing Beats Experience, and we have over 35+ years of Mixed Martial Arts experience to show for it. At the American Karate Institute in Miami, we have a systemized curriculum that not only will help you become a champion in competitions, but most importantly, a champion in life. 

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