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 Martial Arts

The Martial Arts Styles Best for Kids


  Martial Arts is a very broad term that encompasses a variety of fighting and self defense practices from China, Japan and Korea.  It is important to understand the basic concepts of each style to decide which would be most beneficial for your child based on their strengths, skills and goals.  Listed below are the six martial arts styles generally considered best for children: Tae kwon do, Aikido, Judo, Jujitsu, Kung Fu, Karate. Listed below are the six martial arts styles.

Kung fu

Kung Fu which means "hard task" comes from China.  Kung fu is a term used for hundreds of Chinese martial arts, that focus on sharp blows, kicks, chops and leg sweeps that are applied to pressure points on the body of the opponent.  It involves attack movements as well as defensive techniques and engages in sparring competitions.

Tae kwon do

Tae kwon do, meaning "the way of the foot and fist",  is considered the most competitive of the martial arts.  This style displays high kicks, fancy foot work and relies heavily on striking.  It engages in a lot of sparring and competitions.  It originated in Korea and is the most popular of the martial arts worldwide.  In fact it became Korea's national sport in 1955.


Karate originates in Japan, and means "empty hand." It is a system of defending oneself by using defensive and aggressive moves to strike sensitive areas on the attacker's body with the hand, feet, elbows etc...  It centers on building strength and endurance and there is limited weapons training in this style of martial art. 


Jujitsu is method of self-defense without weapons.  It was developed in China and Japan and it means "the art or science of softness."  This style involves uses of defensive and aggressive moves and  a lot of sparring and weapons training.  Jujitsu is the basis for many of the more modern arts, including Judo, Aikido and some Karate styles.


Aikido meaning "the way of spiritual coordination", is non-competitive and rather spiritual in nature. It does not involve sparring or competitions.  This style comes from Japan and strives to teach how to disable an attach without causing serious injury.


Judo was developed from the principles of jujitsu, a weaponless system of self-defense.  It originated in Japan and means "gentle way."  This style of martial arts emphasizes wrestling-type moves, competition as well as mental and moral development.  This is a popular style for children because it is one of the safest styles of martial arts.