Karate is a martial art that involves a combination of kicks, punches, and strikes. It's a great way for children to develop self-discipline, self-confidence, and physical fitness. However, one of the biggest questions that parents often have is, "What is the best age to start karate for my child?" In this blog post, we'll explore the answer to that question.
Studies have shown that the best age for a child to start karate is between the ages of 7 and 9 years old. This is because children in this age range have developed the necessary cognitive and physical abilities to learn the techniques and movements required for karate. Furthermore, children at this age have a longer attention span and can focus on the instructions given by the instructor.
So, why shouldn't parents register their children for karate when they're too young? One of the main reasons is that young children may not have the necessary cognitive and physical abilities to learn the techniques and movements required for karate. For example, children under the age of 6 may not have the strength and coordination to perform some of the more advanced karate moves. Additionally, young children may not be able to understand the instructions given by the instructor, which can lead to frustration and a lack of interest in training.
Another reason why parents shouldn't register their children for karate when they're too young is that young children may not have the attention span required to focus on the instructions given by the instructor. This can lead to a lack of progress and a lack of interest in training. By waiting until the child is between the ages of 7 and 9, parents can ensure that their child has developed the necessary cognitive and physical abilities to learn karate and stay committed to training.
In my personal experience running a karate dojo, I've also noticed that the student retention rate for children 7 years old and up is significantly higher than those who start at a younger age. When parents contact me about starting a 4-year-old in our karate program, I ask them to hold off on enrolling them at a dojo. Yes, some dojos offer programs for children who are ages 3-5, but my personal experience tells me that this may lead the student to drop out of karate pre-maturely. A student between the ages of 3-5 years old may be good for two years of business, but what if that same child started later? Would they've stuck with it?
Some of the world's most famous martial arts practitioners started training between the ages of 7-9:
Bruce Lee: Bruce Lee started his martial arts training at the age of 7 in Hong Kong. He trained in a variety of martial arts styles, including Wing Chun, which was his foundation for developing his own martial arts style, Jeet Kune Do.
Chuck Norris: Chuck Norris began studying martial arts at the age of 8 in South Korea, where his family was stationed with the U.S. Air Force. He went on to become a black belt in multiple martial arts styles and is a world-renowned martial artist and actor.
Jet Li: Jet Li started his martial arts training at the age of 8 in China. He trained in Wushu and went on to become a national champion in the sport before transitioning to a career in film, where he is known for his incredible martial arts skills.
Jackie Chan: Jackie Chan began his martial arts training at the age of 7 in Hong Kong. He trained in multiple martial arts styles, including Kung Fu and Hapkido, and went on to become a world-famous actor and martial artist.
Now you be thinking, "Yeah, but I don't expect my kid to become a movie star", but I'm sure you aren't considering enrolling your child in karate, only for them to quit shortly after?Parents all register their children in karate with the hope it'll be something they're great at, love to do, and stick with. By having your child wait to start karate when they're at least 6, you're providing them a better chance to progress in the art.
One of the most famous karate-kas of all is Chojun Miyagi Sensei. He is the founder of a style of karate called "Goju-ryu" and began his martial arts training at the age of 9 in Okinawa, Japan. Chojun Sensei had an immense passion for the development of karate. This fact further proves my point that the most successful martial artists tend to be those that start later in their childhood.
So, if you're thinking of karate classes for your toddler, consider waiting until they've developed the capacity to perform both physically and mentally in the class. After all, evidence, my personal experience, and the study of martial arts' best student suggests that it's a wise choice to wait until at least 7 years of age to start considering a karate dojo for your child. By waiting until the child is between the ages of 7 and 9, parents can ensure that their child has the necessary cognitive and physical abilities to learn karate and stay committed to training.