What is the Best Age for My Child to begin Martial Arts training?
By Adrienne Brooks | August 15, 2016 | 0 Comments
What is the right age for my child to commence classes? This is a question we are asked so very often. The answer is that they should start when they’re ready and when they are interested and when the opportunity serendipitously presents itself
Young Minds Easily build New Neural Pathways
You may have heard young children’s minds being compared to sponges that soak up their environment and learning with no filters, and no judgement. Young brains are pliable and ready to learn especially prior to the age of 7 years. Children who start training at an early age learn easily and naturally to form their bodies in the shapes of the martial art they are learning. Those forms and movements soak into their brains at a deep level as they build the corresponding neural pathways. The movements they learn become intuitive, fluid and natural to them much more easily. Integration of martial arts skills from preschool will allow those skills to grow and develop into mastery over time.
With the introduction of the Australian National Curriculum a lot of the play based learning has gone from the lower grades in our primary schools. Our kids have a lot less opportunity for expression and learning through their physicality during their school day, as they are required to sit at a desk and be still and focused to achieve the required learning outcomes. For kids as young as four, martial arts can offer an outlet that allows them to be focused while being physical.
During their martial arts class they can work through this moving focus, and allow it to feed their drive to get going, while helping them to learn mental clarity techniques that will allow them to be successful in the much more constrained educational environment. The results of this is our kids learn to cope with the pressures that they face in healthy ways rather than in unhealthy ones. Martial arts can provide your child with the ability to manage their mind in ways that they won’t learn anywhere else, and those benefits are there from their very first day of training, in their very first class, only becoming sharper the longer they train.
So When Should your child Start classes?
So as long as they are interested and ready they can start with us at the UMF Academy at 4 years old. In our extensive experience children who are younger than that are not usually ready to learn in a group environment, and are not equipped with the control of their bodies necessary to train. Most children are ready to begin at 4 years of age, and even if they struggle a bit at first, they will quickly find their footing in the training environment.
As parents it can be important to provide a positive empowering environment so our children can move from the inability to focus and control their body towards focus and self-control especially in the year before they enter formal schooling in Prep.
This can provide an enormous amount of peace of mind that your child is going to be ready and able to focus and learn once they get to school and that you are not going to have to problem solve behavioural, social or academic issues for them at the very start of a 13 year schooling journey. That they are able to create a positive experience of learning that will enable you to nurture a love of learning that lasts their entire school journey.
That being said, any age is a great age to begin training in martial arts! Primary school kids tend to be very enthusiastic about learning martial arts, not to mention the bully prevention skills they learn and get to master.
Preteens and teens build self-control and self-confidence, and beginning training at this age offers the ability to discover something that they can be passionate about and channel all their extra energy into.
For adults, martial arts is a fantastic way to push the boundaries of the body and mind, keeping both sharper and more equipped to wrestle with the everyday stresses that life has to offer. Everyone will find an extraordinary benefit in martial arts training, no matter their age or previous experience!