Martial Arts for Kids

How to choose the right martial art for your family

Choosing the right martial art for your family is a big decision and an important one that deserves consideration, precisely because it affects the family, as a whole. It affects everyone.
So today we’re talking about just a few of the things we want to consider when choosing the right martial art for your family.
Probably one of the first things to consider is which martial art can everyone actually practice? While generally speaking pretty much all martial arts welcomes everyone to partake, some arts might be more suited to some members of the family than others. Maybe some members are more limited in what they can do than others due to age or health issues. So you want to consider what art is most suited to giving each and every family member the same benefits and ease of practice.
Then you’ll want to consider the why of it, and what is our motivation for everyone practicing the martial arts, as a family unit. If the answer is merely just for the joy of it, that’s perfectly fine. There’s no right or wrong answer here, it’s just a question you want to ask so that you have an open forum for everyone to talk about what they think and what they feel about the decision. And of course it’s a truth that you may begin practicing for one reason and then end up with another farther down the line, and that’s perfectly fine too. Again, it’s all about simply giving yourself and your family a forum in which to speak and talk about their likes, dislikes, goals, and ambitions. And in that way everyone can feel strengthened in the bond you’re forming by practicing. And this brings us to another thing to think about, and certainly a reason to practice together, is the bond.
Training in the same martial art is going to strengthen and enhance a family bond when they do it together. Everyone knows exactly what everyone else is experiencing, they’re suffering and experiencing the same challenges and difficulties, they’re enjoying the same successes, and it vastly increases the empathy through which they communicate because everyone has shared in the same experience. And this is a thing that families can and often do practice for years, even decades together. So there is a very real sense of shared growth and maturity as a family, as well as individually.
Something else you’ll want to consider is your family schedules, and whether everyone can actually participate together, when, how, and how often? Are there obstacles to this or are those things that can be changed or altered reasonably? Is everyone in the family available to train together at the same time consistently?
It’s important to remember that as with any of these questions and considerations, there aren’t any real right or wrong answers. It’s simply a matter of talking things through and discovering the things that every member is looking for, the things they want out of it, and just generally giving voice to everyone’s feelings and thoughts so that decisions can be made with a better grasp of information. And just as importantly whether everyone can gain the same amount of joy through the experience together.
Another consideration is of course the value of self defense knowledge the family will be engaging with. While self defense is obviously a gain and plus for anyone training in the martial arts, and it’s also a chief one, it may not be as high on the priority list for a family unit as a whole, because they may be looking for ways to bond and so on. But it does bear considering because the family will be training in exactly that, a martial art. And everyone can benefit from this to varying degrees. Some family members may decide they want to put more priority on competition, or self defense and fighting. And again, that’s perfectly fine, it simply means that the demands they place upon themselves within the class may change and be different from those of other family members. And it certainly isn’t unusual for a family as a whole to devote themselves to competition and growth within their fighting skills. It’s quite common and indeed Brazilian Jiu Jitsu was founded upon this, with several members of a family actually taking part in creating and fashioning the art as its own individual art and form with its own identity.
Overall what we’re saying is just that there are several things a family may want to consider before making the decision. All we’re advocating is that a family make it an informed decision with thought given to the impact on the family unit as a whole as opposed to simply jumping in with both feet without having thought much about it first. Enthusiasm is all well and good but we always want to make sure we’re doing things for the right reasons, and not selfish ones.
And finally there’s the commitment, which usually spans years, sometimes decades and even entire lifetimes. Of course no one is saying that you have to sign on for any commitment beyond what your own needs are or desires are, because that’s not true. And besides, desires and ambitions change over time and that’s perfectly fine. It simply bears considering that engaging in the martial arts is a lengthy commitment if you want to fully immerse yourself and devote yourself to achieving goals through the practice. It isn’t simply a game you get together to play a couple of times a week. Because as with many other pursuits, you get out of it only what you put into it.
So is this something the family as a whole wants to devote themselves fully to for some indeterminate period of time? We say indeterminate because again, we understand that goals and ambitions change, desires, and needs change, and sometimes forces outside our control dictate what we can and can’t do with our time, like jobs, or health and so on.
So before making that leap, just give it some thought together, as a family.