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What’s the Most Popular Martial Art for Children?

Updated on January 5, 2015

There are believed to be more than 16,000 martial arts schools in the United States and almost 400 in the state of Arizona. A survey conducted by Simmons Market Research suggests that 25 percent of teenage boys and 22 percent of teenage girls participate in some form of martial arts. But which one is best suited to kids?

With dozens of different martial arts forms to choose from, it is difficult to suggest which one is “best,” but in terms of sheer numbers, karate is Number 1 around the world with an estimated 100 million karateka, according to the World Karate Federation. Keep reading to discover why karate is the favored martial art of kids.

Safe, Yet Effective

In some ways, karate is really easy to learn, but practicing at a high level is extremely difficult. Kids can advance relatively quickly at first but will need to show dedication to get any further. Nonetheless, getting started in karate is not a problem for most kids, and they soon grow to enjoy it because it is such fun.

During training, you will rarely sustain more than a bruise as long as you train at a high-quality karate school and avoid the dreaded McDojos. Yet despite all this, once you learn karate to a reasonable level, you will discover just how effective it is. When you have mastered some complex movements and know how to use combinations, you can disable an attacker in seconds in an enclosed space.

Different Martial Arts Styles

Rich Culture and History

Unlike some other martial arts, there is more to karate than physical training. There is a deeper connection and mysticism that kids love. Experienced practitioners say it is the “brain surgery” of martial arts, because there is so much to learn and you will never know it all.

Kids are, by their very nature, inquisitive and enjoy the fact that when you open one door of knowledge in karate, another dozen doors appear. The more kids learn, the more they want to learn, and in karate, there is an infinite well of knowledge.


Regardless of the style you train in, there is always something new to do in karate; this may be kihon, kumite, kobudo, or kata, for example. Although karate is very much rooted in ancient Okinawan tradition, it is easy to implement modern training ideas and techniques to create an effective form of karate for your needs, whether you train for fitness, health, or self-defense.

As kids grow older and more experienced in the ways of karate, they find that there are no limits to the ways they can use this martial art to develop their own journey. It is also possible to find progressive instructors who can mold their students in a unique way, and this is very exciting for kids to discover.

While it is worth your while to choose any form of martial arts, karate is the Number 1 choice of kids not just in America but all over the world. It is safe, fun, effective, and can take you absolutely anywhere you wish.

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