The short answer is “it depends”. All children are different, and all martial arts schools are set up to cater for certain types of students – it is rare (but not impossible) to find a school that can cater for all ages under one roof.

As children grow, they go through different stages of physical and mental development. One of the most crucial stages is when children are first beginning to develop their physical strength and coordination. This stage can have far reaching effects in later life and typically happens from around 18 months to 6 years of age. Good schools such as Perth’s Premier Martial Art and Fitness Academy offer martial arts classes that are suited to all stages of a child’s development. For example, their Mini Little Champions classes are designed to help toddlers from 18 months to 3 years learn to move their bodies in a coordinated manner and build a strong athletic foundation for later life. Premier Martial Arts and Fitness Academy’s Mini Little Champions program also helps toddlers learn to follow instructions, and how to interact with other children and adults. Perth’s Premier Academy strongly believes that the movements involved in martial arts training will develop your toddler’s coordination, strength, flexibility and overall fitness in a way that will show immediate benefits. 

Is martial arts good for toddlers?

In an age where many people turn to the screens of their phones, computers and television sets instead of outdoor activities, martial arts is the perfect way to make sure that toddlers make the best possible start to life by staying active and learning to love physical activity. On top of that, training in martial arts at a good school like Perth’s Premier Academy builds muscle and increase cardiovascular performance, ensuring that your toddler is fit and healthy. The movements involved in martial arts will challenge and build motor skills, flexibility, reflexes and dexterity, which help develop a toddler’s athleticism. This helps create a good athletic base for toddlers that will help them excel in all other physical activities when they get to school. 

In addition to the physical skills there are important mental elements that toddlers can learn from training in the martial arts at schools like Perth’s Premier Academy. Discipline and focus are hard to build in toddlers as many parents would no doubt agree! But with martial arts, a toddler will learn focus, patience, restraint, and the many qualities that come with discipline. The same level of discipline and focus obtained from practicing martial arts will become a part of their daily lives, providing a valuable foundation for when they start school. Respect for adults, authority, or anyone in an advanced position is also becoming rare among children today. However, respect is a big part of martial arts and its traditions. Toddlers will learn to be well mannered and respectful not only to their instructors, but towards everyone else as well.

A lack of confidence and self-esteem can be detrimental and plague a toddlers for the rest of his or her life. That is why it is important for anyone to develop a strong sense of confidence and self-esteem at an early age. The satisfaction of learning and achieving in martial arts will strengthen a toddler’s self-belief. Martial arts doesn’t just strengthen the body, it strengthens the mind as well. Most of the time, it is our minds that stop us from performing at our best. Martial arts will push anyone to break barriers and overcome fears and obstacles. A strong mind is a powerful tool to help toddlers overcome tough times and succeed in all areas of their life.

While martial arts teaches the importance of teamwork, it is also one of the few activities that requires a practitioner to be self-reliant and independent. Learning how to do a technique, progressing to the next level, or even winning a competition is completely based on the hard work and commitment put in by an individual. So with martial arts, a toddler will excel when the time comes to be independent.

Finally, toddlers will learn how to defend themselves. One of biggest concerns parents have is that their children would not be able to defend him or herself in times of need (i.e. being bullied). On top of teaching children to avoid trouble altogether, martial arts will also prepare them both mentally and physically to defend themselves should the need ever arise. For toddlers, this is mainly about learning to be aware and to stand up for themselves.

Which martial art is best for toddlers?
There is no such thing as the “best martial art” for anyone, and especially not for toddlers. A better question would be “which martial arts school is best for toddlers” as depends almost entirely on the quality of the instructors and whether their curriculum caters for children at young age. Good schools such as Perth’s Premier Martial Art and Fitness Academy offers martial arts classes that are suited to all stages of a child’s development. Their Mini Little Champions classes, for example, are designed to help toddlers from 18 months to 3 years learn to move their bodies in a coordinated manner and build a strong athletic foundation for later life. The program also helps toddlers learn to follow instructions, and how to interact with other children and adults,  The movements involved in martial arts training at Perth’s Premier Academy will develop your toddler’s coordination, strength, flexibility and overall fitness in a way that will show immediate benefits. 

What should I look for in a Martial Arts Class for toddlers?

There are so many different styles of martial arts - from taekwondo to karate to judo - and many different types of schools – from fulltime purpose built centres to rooms at the local community centre to someone’s garage!  By focusing on the checklist below you can make sure you choose the right martial arts schools for your toddler:

  • Free trial lessons. Most schools offer a free trial lesson or two, or a low cost introductory program. This is a great way to try out the school and see if it is a good fit for you and your toddler. 

  • Professional, highly-trained instructors. Look for instructors who hold black belts recognised beyond the actual martial arts school, such as those certified by Taekwondo’s Kukkiwon. Another big positive is a school that has its own Instructor Training Program, and trains all of their instructors “in house”. 

  • Instructor to student ratios. Look for school’s that make sure that large classes have more than one instructor, especially in beginner’s classes. There is no ideal ratio, but schools with a ratio of one instructor per five or six students are ideal in a class for toddlers.

  • Comprehensive, age-appropriate curriculum. Any martial arts school worth investing your child’s time (and your money) in will have a comprehensive, age-appropriate curriculum. Their program will based on toddler’s mental growth as much as their physical development. 

  • Clean, safe training facilities. All martial arts schools that you should offer a clean and safe training environment for younger kids. The training floor should be fully matted, with range of age-appropriate punching and kicking targets available. There should be toilets and changing facilities available as well. 

  • Classes differentiated by age and experience. The best possible class structure for a martial arts school will have all students, training in classes divided by age and experience. This is essential for your toddler to get the best outcomes possible from their training. 

  • Flexible membership options. A good school will offer a range of membership options that you can choose from. While most schools will ask you to commit to a fixed membership term, this is not something that you should be wary of as training in the martial arts is all about commitment. 

If you can find a school that checks all the above criteria, like Perth’s Premier Martial Arts and Fitness Academy, then you can be sure that you will be making the right choice for your toddler!

 

Published by Daphenee Plaisir