Karate and other forms martial arts are great for teens. The sport encourages self-discipline and strength, flexibility, agility, and honor. It also instills respect, hard work and honor. A lot of programs also teach self-defense skills and confidence building. Some parents might be concerned about the dangers of injuries and wonder if karate encourages violence.
Before you decide if to enroll your teenager in Martial Arts classes, there are many factors you need to consider. Find out the risks and benefits of each program and how to choose the right one for your child.
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Martial Arts Forms
Make sure that you and your teen are familiar with the basics of each style of martial arts before choosing a class. There are many types of martial art, each with its own history, focus and style. Some classes focus on individual practice and mastery in kicks, punches and other moves while others are focused more on competition and direct combat with other students.
More than 6.5 Million children in America participate in martial arts.
Discuss your teens’ goals and expectations with to help them find the right program. Ask questions about the program and its history, as well as any other commitments that students may have. Learn about the philosophy behind the program and the leadership. These are the most well-known martial arts:
- Aikido : Aikido is a non-aggressive way to self-defense. It uses joint locks, restraints and throws rather than kicks or punches. It is not a sport for competition.
- Judo Judo is about using your opponent’s energy against you. It involves submission holds and takedowns to ground.
- Jujitsu – Jujitsu allows smaller fighters overcome larger opponents. It is a grappling-style martial arts that combines karate, Judo and Aikido.
- Karate Karate: Karate stands for stand-up martial arts and uses punches, kicks, open hands to block strikes.
- Kung Fu: Kung Fu is a standing-up martial art that’s well-known for its powerful blocks.
- Mixed Martial Arts: Mixed Martial Arts may include a mix of boxing and wrestle with various submission holds and takedowns.
- Muay Thai Kickboxing: Muay Thai Kickboxing involves sparring, kicking and punching using boxing gloves. You can use different levels of protection.
- Taekwondo Taekwondo uses 80% kicks, and 20% hand techniques. Blocks, punches and open-hand strikes are all part of the training.
Your teen should be aware that competition is possible. Teens who have seen a video of Taekwondo or a mixed martial art fight might expect to compete immediately. However, it is common for competition not to begin until the basic skills are mastered. Competing may be as simple as performing solo moves before a judge rather than sparring with your partner.
Teens can benefit from Martial Arts
Martial arts can be used to teach self-defense and discipline skills to your teenager.
Martial arts offers many benefits to students of all ages.
- Motivation and work ethic
- Muscle strength and physical fitness
- Cognitive function is improved
- A sense of community
Martial arts can be a great outlet for teens who aren’t interested in traditional sports such as soccer or baseball. Martial arts aren’t for everyone. Your teen will not be cut from a group. Students can progress at their own pace, and still have the benefit of an Individual sport in a group setting.
You can set goals for your teen, such as achieving the next color belt or learning a new move. Over time, you’ll see how hard work, perseverance, and consistent practice can help you achieve your goals.
Martial Arts: Common Injuries
These are the most common injuries from martial arts.
- Fractures (from falling).
- Hyperextension of the joints
Martial arts can cause more serious injuries than those that are less common. For example, your child could sustain head and neck injuries from participating in the martial arts. Many of these injuries can easily be avoided with safety precautions.
How to reduce the risk of injury
Talk to your child’s pediatrician before enrolling them in any form of martial arts training. Talk to your doctor about the type of martial art that you are interested in and make sure your teen is fit enough to take part. Discuss which form of martial art you are interested in and ask your doctor if they feel that your teen is healthy enough to participate.
Different types of martial arts have different injury risks. Competition and fighting experience are the most dangerous, while stand-alone training is the least. To lower the chance of injury, consider a noncombat karate program.
- Talk to the instructor about safety. Before signing up your teen for classes, learn about their experience, training, injury prevention, and philosophy. You want an instructor who is focused on safety and encourages competition only when students have demonstrated adequate emotional and physical maturity.
- Your teen should only compete in a safe environment. Competitions should discourage headbutting and deduct points for dangerous and illegal moves. Before allowing your teen to compete in a competition, make sure they are learning defensive blocking techniques.
- Start with the less contact forms of martial art: Choose a class that does not involve too much physical contact. If your teen is able to demonstrate self-discipline, maturity, and a willingness to learn in this type of class, you may consider moving on to a more competitive environment if necessary.
- Discuss safety equipment with your doctor and instructor Ask about soft headgear.
Promotion of Martial Arts vs. Violence
Most martial arts programs do not promote violence. Instead, they focus on self-controlling and de-escalation. Parents may be concerned that students learn combat and self-defense skills, which can make them a little more cautious depending on their child’s personality.
Parents may hesitate to enroll their teen into a martial arts class for fear of encouraging violence. This is a very important point to consider. This is an important consideration.
Only you can decide what is best for your child, and which activities will encourage the values and behavior you value. Martial arts can be a great way to help kids become more self-reliant and focused.
Martial arts don’t promote violence when taught correctly. Martial arts are about self-discipline, self-defense, and learning self-discipline.
Martial arts programs emphasize avoiding conflict and overcoming petty disputes. Study after study has shown that teens who take part in martial arts are less aggressive than those who engage in other sports, such as swimming or golf.
Which Martial Art is Best?
Certain martial arts are better for teens than others. There are some studies that show differences in the types of martial arts as well as the externalizing behavior. One study showed that teens who took judo lessons were less likely than those who took karate classes.
It is important to consider the type of martial art, but the most important aspect is the instructor’s role. Your child’s experience can be affected by the instructor’s teaching style and perspective.
Mixed martial arts are not recommended for children by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Mixed martial arts are more dangerous than other contact sports like collegiate football.
Due to hard blows and chokeholds to the head, teens who take part in mixed martial arts have a higher risk of asphyxia and concussion.
Be cautious about media portrayals
Mixed martial arts have become a sensation in the media. Mixed martial arts may seem easy to make a living by watching reality shows or movies. These shows glorify violence, such as choking an opponent or punching him in the head.
Video games can extolle the aggressive side of martial arts by focusing on injuring or killing enemies.
Evidence suggests that media violence exposure can lead to aggressive behavior in children. Witnessing violent acts could also make it less likely for them to resort to violence.
Your teen should be restricted from media portraying martial arts as violent. Talk to your teen’s psychiatrist or mental health professional if your teen is interested in violent media, even if you are not against it. Before enrolling in martial arts classes.
How to encourage participation
Martial arts can be a positive activity for teens. If your teen is interested, you should encourage them to sign up for a class. Make sure to find a safe, positive class with a great instructor.
Before enrolling your teen in a class, make sure they talk to a professional if they have a history of aggression or any other mental condition.
Some evidence suggests that martial arts may be beneficial for ADHD-related behavior disorders in children and teens. 15
Karate lessons and taekwondo classes are suitable for all ages and fitness levels. You may find classes that the entire family can take at a martial arts center.
Not all teens are interested in taking up martial arts with their parents. If you have a shy teenager or one who is hesitant to take part in physical exercise, it may be possible to join together as a family to encourage them to do so.