As a parent, you’re probably wondering what age your child should start learning karate. Some parents want to expose their children to the benefits of karate as soon as possible, but children that are too young may not be physically or mentally ready yet to learn the art of martial arts. At Urban Martial Arts, we believe that age 4 is the suitable age for children to start learning karate, since children younger than this haven’t yet developed the focus and self-control needed to get through an entire class. Even within the same age group, children tend to mature and develop at different speeds. Here are some factors to determine whether your child is ready to become a karate kid:
1) Is your child independent enough to participate in the class without you by their side?
Some karate schools may offer “family” classes where children and parents can train together, but at Urban Martial Arts we believe that children can only fully reap the benefits of karate if they start off by learning independently. Parents can watch from the side and provide support during the classes, but if your child cannot leave your side for the duration of a class and is heavily dependent on you, they may not be ready yet to learn karate. Since karate classes tend to be in a group setting, your child also has to be comfortable around people they don’t know to get through a class.
2) Can your child focus on one task for at least 2-3 minutes at a time?
Although karate classes for young children are designed to be very fast-paced with multiple short segments, your child needs to have a minimal level of concentration to get through each segment. Each segment tends to last for 2-3 minutes – if your child can provide 100% attention span within this period of time, they’re off to a good start. Parents may want their children to learn self-defense and discipline as early as possible, but classes for this age group tend to be more focused on co-ordination and fun to cater to their young age.
3) Is your child willing or able to control their body most of the time?
Learning karate can help children build focus and self-control, but they also need a minimum amount of these two factors to start off with. If your child lacks self-control from the beginning, they may have trouble developing these two assets as they get older. Other than self-control, children who have developed age-appropriate manners tend to be more suitable students for karate classes. For example, if they can follow instructions, listen to the instructor and avoid distracting the other students, they’ll be able to get through a karate class with no trouble at all.
If you’re still unsure whether your child is physically and mentally ready to learn karate, the best way to find out is to try out a class in person. Since most martial arts schools offer free or low-cost trial classes, karate instructors can observe your child’s performance in the trial class and evaluate whether they’re ready to start learning karate.
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