A martial art is a system or tradition of combat practices. They are usually learnt for self-defence, health, fitness and/or competition. There are lots of different forms and styles of martial art and each one has its own requirements and benefits. Most forms of martial arts developed during ancient times in eastern Asia, but more modern forms do exist and can originate from almost anywhere. Students of martial arts are able to develop their fitness, self-confidence, spirituality, self-defence skills, flexibility, strength and much more depending on which martial art is chosen. Martial arts can also improve discipline, self-control and focus as a side-effect and even improve social skills if studied in a club setting.
Some of the more popular forms of martial arts include Kung Fu, T’ai Chi, Karate, Taekwondo and Judo. Kung Fu is a very traditional Chinese form whose name means ‘hard work’. Wing Chun and Wushu are related to Kung Fu but can be quite different. Wushu is very showy similar to acrobatics whereas Wing Chun is sometimes known as ‘beginners’ Kung Fu. T’ai Chi is a soft and elegant martial art used for strengthening the organs, joints and muscles; however its roots date back centuries where it was a deadly form used to surprise larger opponents by using their own strength against them. Karate is an excellent hard core workout which includes punching and yelling and was developed as a form of self-defence in response to a weapons ban. Taekwondo and Judo are the only martial arts in that are Olympic sports so are a good choice for a child wanting to enter competitions.
Martial arts will allow family involvement as a lot of clubs put on shows to exhibit what the students have learnt, and competitions and gradings usually allow spectators.
The term ‘Martial Art’ is Latin and means the art of Mars, referring to the Roman God of war.
The 2010 remake of “The Karate Kid” depicts American teen actor, Jayden Smith, actually doing Kung Fu.
Famous Martial artist Bruce Lee invented his own style called ‘Jeet Kune Do.’
Wing Chun is a form of Kung Fu invented by a small woman to defend herself against attacks from large men.
Actor Chuck Norris was a student of Tang Soo Do in Korea in the 1960s and has since founded his own martial arts school.
In the film ‘Way of the Dragon’, Bruce Lee fought Chuck Norris in the Roman Colosseum.
Earning a black belt in any martial arts is usually the end goal for most students. This can take anywhere between 3 and 10 years, it all depends how much effort you put in!
Some key points to consider when choosing a Martial Arts club/class for your child:
What ages and skill levels does it cater for? Does this suit your child?
What is your child hoping to gain from Martial Arts classes? Confidence? Self-defence skills? Fitness? Strength?
Will this style of class achieve these aims?
What style or form of Martial Art does the teacher use?
What style is your child interested in learning?
What should your child wear for the classes?
Do you need to buy anything specific prior to starting?
Most martial arts use a grading system based on coloured items such as a belt or a sash. The basic system starts with yellow, then green, blue, purple and black but may incorporate more colours between, before or after. Individual differences occur between different martial arts so it is important to understand how the grading system of your chosen style works. If your child starts a martial art, it is a general guide that he/she will advance one grade per year at the very least. Therefore a child starting at age 8 years old is likely to have their black belt by the age of 18 at the latest.
This again is dependent on the individual sport.
Different teachers will have different qualifications for the type of martial art they wish to instruct so it is important to check that the qualification the instructor holds is relevant to you.
Gross motor skills
Each martial art has a different focus. A parent needs to consider what a child hopes to gain from a martial arts class (e.g. fitness, self-confidence, spirituality, self-defence, flexibility, strength, social skills, etc.) and then can research the different styles available, choosing the one that best provides the skills required.
Sherlock Holmes was supposedly a master of the uncommon but very real form of British martial arts “Bartitsu”, which helped Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s hero defeat his nemesis, Professor Moriarty.
Batman star Christian Bale (born January 30, 1974) and Chaplin actor Robert Downey Jr (born April 4, 1965) both have trained in Wing Chun, a form of Kung Fu.
Elvis (1935 – 1977) – Pop star during the day, master of Chito-ryu (Japanese form of karate) by night. Earning a black belt in this, the 60s singer also dabbled in Shotokan karate and Taekwondo.
Hong Kong actor Jackie Chan (born April 7, 1954) is a Chinese martial artist widely known for injecting physical comedy into his martial arts performances and for performing all his own complex stunts. He has appeared in more than 150 films starting his acting career by being a stuntman in Bruce Lee films.
Bruce Lee (1940-1973) learnt Wing Chun (a close range combat martial art) from the age of 12 years old, before developing his own style of martial art as an adult. He was very much focused on the acrobatics and fitness side of the sport and managed to translate this into his role as a film actor and director.
Black belt karate kid 8 year old - A film of Mark Garry who was the youngest person to achieve Karate Black belt at only 8 years old.
9 Year Old Jake Ramos Testing for Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do - There are lots of films out there of cute children trying different martial arts but this one is really worth watching. 9 year old Tae Kwon Do student, Jake Ramos, testing for his Black belt after 6 years of training.
Facts about martial arts - A short article about choosing martial arts instruction for children.
karate is fun and i think more kids should learn it because it is educational and fitness wise
i love karate