How to Teach Your Kids Martial Arts at Home | BlackBeltAtHome (2023)

As a child, did you have the awesome experience of going through the ranks, competing at tournaments, and learning from a wise Sensei (or Sifu)? When I was 7, I started to take karate classes, because I thought my dad looked like a real warrior when he trained. He was already a brown belt at that point in time, and I remember seeing him take on one or two guys at a time at his belt tests. At one test, he was even beat out the door by his sparring partner. It was the real deal.

My Martial Arts Childhood Served Me Well

My classes were physically challenging, sometimes painful, but always rewarding. I knew that my belt was truly earned when I wore it around my waist. It became apparent pretty quickly that martial arts training gave me some athletic advantages in other sports and in fitness tests at school. In the yearly elementary school “Presidential” fitness tests, I always did more crunches, pull ups, and ran a faster mile than the other students. I also felt like I could control my temper and mind pretty well, which allowed me to make better grades and get in trouble less. As the shortest and one of the smallest-framed kids, martial arts gave me more confidence, and made me less of a would-be target for bullies. I remember having to hold my own when some of the big kids would put me in head locks, or wrestle around trying to show off.

Maybe you had a similar experience with martial arts training? Whether you started BJJ in high school, or did Taekwondo at an olympic level, or just enjoyed watching Bruce Lee – you’ve known for a long time that there is something mysterious and powerful to martial artists. Something that goes above and beyond just fighting. That something is called self-mastery.

(Video) 3 Kicking Drills for Kids to Practice Martial Arts At Home

How to Teach Your Kids Martial Arts at Home | BlackBeltAtHome (1)

What Age Should Your Child Start?

The first question I often receive is “how young should you start your child?” After teaching kids martial arts classes for the last 14 years, I have seen a wide variety of mental aptitudes, physical characteristics, and behavior patterns. To gain the most out of the time spent training, I recommend waiting until your child is at least 5 years old. This can vary child by child. Some kids can be mentally ready at around 4 or 4.5 (6 months is a huge difference when you are talking about these early ages). Whereas some might need to wait until 6 or even 7. The child should be able to focus intently on the activity for at least 20-30 minutes straight while applying a high level of effort the entire time.

Should I Enroll them into a Local School or Teach them At Home?

If there is a high quality, qualified, and professional martial arts academy near your home, then by all means, this should be your first option. Nothing can compare to learning from a great teacher, that actually gives you the attention and time you need to progress. However, especially with some larger, more commercialized martial arts school these days, this is not always the case. Here is how to go about selecting a local school:

(Video) How To Learn Karate At Home For Kids | 20 Minute Beginner Lesson! | Dojo Go (Week 6)

  1. First, you need to contact the school to find out more about what the program actually teaches, who the instructors are, the class times, cost, and financial commitment (contract or no contract). Most school allow you to do a free lesson or short term trial, this is very important.
  2. Take your child in for a first lesson to see how they react to the training. The instructor’s demeanor and personality is really the most important factor in choosing the program. Sometimes large schools will work with your child one-on-one to get you enrolled, and then throw them into a class with a poor instructor to student ratio. This can be problematic. If your five year old is in a class with twenty other kids, it will be very difficult for him/her to get enough attention to make real progress.
  3. Discuss the price and contractual obligations. Do you need to pay an enrollment fee, monthly tuition, equipment, and other fees? Does the school offer a very high quality curriculum (that not only teaches martial arts, but also leadership/character development)? How many classes can you attend per week?
  4. If it feels right, and both you and your child are committed to the training, enroll.

Reasons to Teach Martial Arts to Your Child at Home

There are plenty of situations where a local school will not work out for you. If you find yourself in one of these, then teaching your child at home (with the help of a quality online program or home study course), makes more sense:

  • Distance from School – If you live too far away from a qualified school, then your only option will be to do online/home-based training.
  • Class Schedule Does not Work – If you cannot make the class schedule, even if you live nearby.
  • Cost is Too High – Some commercialized martial arts school can charge excessive monthly tuition, fees, equipment, and other costs that can literally cost $2,500+ per year, just for one child. If you have more than one child, it can be exorbitant.
  • You’re a Martial Artist – If you are a martial artist, put your experience and knowledge to work, and pass along your training to your children.
  • Special Needs Child – If your child has special needs, they might not be able to participate in a normal group class. One-on-one learning at home could be a much better, and more comfortable fit.
  • You do Homeschool – If you are a homeschool family, and like to have control over your own schedule and child’s education, then this could fit right into your overarching philosophy.

How to Teach Your Kids Martial Arts at Home | BlackBeltAtHome (2)

How to Teach Your Child at Home

Now that you’ve decided on teaching your child at home, you need to get prepared. A teacher is only as good as their current knowledge and tools, so hopefully you are already a 9th degree black belt Grandmaster, or you are seeking out quality at-home training programs.

(Video) How To Teach FUN Martial Arts Kids Classes (NO Silly Games!)

  1. Choose the Right Martial Art. Really consider what style or styles that you want to include in your home training program. Do you want your child to compete and win at local tournaments? Do you want them to learn street-ready self defense? Do you want them to be extremely flexible, agile, and have gymnast-like body control? Do you have a specific style that you have always been interested in?
  2. Find a Good Course of Study. The problem with trying to teach/learn from youtube videos or random DVDs, if that they are not chronologically laid out, and fully comprehensive in the art that you are teaching. You need a complete course of study, that can take you from white to black belt. Check out the complete Black Belt at Home Courses(Shotokan Karate, Krav Maga, Bo, Nunchakus, Tai Chi). You can also look on amazon, by searching the web, or find some used programs on eBay. It is helpful if the course has a digital option for watching on the go (and so that you never lose your content if the discs scratch up), and also a guided home study manual with a full syllabus.
  3. Enroll in an Online Course. If you want to take it one step further, and have your child actually earn real rank at home, find an accredited online martial arts school. Just like when vetting a local academy, find a school with a credible instructor, comprehensive training materials, and the ability to interact and receive real feedback as you progress. Make sure that they also allow for children to enroll and earn rank. The Global Martial Arts Universityis known for their easy to follow courses and online testing.
  4. Setup a Home Dojo. Clear out some space, and designate a room as your “home dojo.” There is no need for the dining room, basement, garage, or laundry room to be so boring and typical – make it into your home dojo! Buy some mats for the space (a bonus is to have a roll-up mat that you can easily move, or puzzle mats). Look on craigstlist first to see if you can find some used mats, or get some from GreatMats. Buy some boxing gloves and hand targets for training. You can get by with just square hand targets or focus mitts. Later on, you might opt for a freestanding bag or punching bag, along with a larger kick shield or tombstone. Heck, you can get by with just a dense couch cushion at first.
  5. Set Up a Training Schedule. Kids needs consistency. They need routine. Really, this is where it all falls apart for most “do-it-at-home parents.” They sign up for a course, they get some equipment, they have a few fun sessions, then life “gets in the way.” It is not that life really gets in the way, but that the parents have not set and forced themselves to respect this new training activity as important and necessary. If you set home karate class at 6:00-6:30 pm every Monday and Wednesday, then you’ve got to stick to it. If you or your child is sick one day, then you need to make it up when you feel better, don’t just miss classes. Make your training real, and your child will respect it as well.
  6. Integrate Rewards. Of course, if your child is actually working toward earning a real belt through a legitimate school, then the next belt is a huge goal. Along the way, earning stripes or even patches can be very helpful. If you are creating your own training program at home, use prizes, points, stickers, or something else to make it fun, and reward progress.
  7. Engage the Whole Family. Ask mom to do class with you and the kids one night. Or have grandma or grandpa, or invite your son’s best friend – if you can get even more people in your training group, you will all have more fun. Also, as a bonus, your child will get to practice with people of different shapes and sizes. If you always have the exact same training partner, you get used to their body size, speed, and power. To develop real skills, you need to have a lot of training variance.

How to Teach Your Kids Martial Arts at Home | BlackBeltAtHome (3)

Turn on “Coach Mode” – Turn Off “Parent Mode”

When you are teaching your child, be more of a coach. Encourage, motivate, point out mistakes (with a positive tone), give high fives, and push your child to do better. Your child should actually feel like you switched gears, and you are now Coach Daddy, not just Daddy for example. This has helped me when I teach/train my own three kids. If I stay in daddy mode (or, Papí mode, as that is what my kids call me), then they have less respect and seriousness around the martial arts practice. Not that they don’t respect me as their father, but there is just a difference between learning something from a coach or teacher, compared to your parents. So, in some ways, you want to differentiate your attitude, while still maintaining that positive love and support for your child. This is one of the challenges of teaching your child at home. But, if you are a homeschool parent already, then this would be nothing new to you.

See Your Child Sprout into a Black Belt!

It will all be worth it. Your kids will have so much fun bonding with you. They will look forward to every kick, punch, block, kata, push up, choke defense, nunchaku spin, and bo staff strike. Teaching your kids martial arts will make you a better martial artist, teacher, and parent. You’ve got this!

(Video) learning kung fu at home / lesson 1 , step by step

About the Author

How to Teach Your Kids Martial Arts at Home | BlackBeltAtHome (4)Michael Hodge is the founder of Black Belt at Home. He has been teaching martial arts classes for the last 14 years. Michael teaches online students from around the world in the Global Martial Arts University and runs a local kids-only private academy. He has three young kids, who are homeschooled at their house on the prairie.


How can kids learn martial arts at home? ›

Turn your shoulder to one way good all right repeat after me say hannah. Set net toss it good job

What is the good age to start training for martial arts? ›

Evidence gleaned about famous martial artists and current Masters and instructors, indicates that starting at 6 or above gives a better chance of continuing into adulthood than a younger start, but starting at 10 or above gives a better chance still.

Can martial arts be learned at home? ›

Yes, you can start martial arts training at home. Whether you can do it effectively is another question. If you want to become an elite MMA fighter or boxer, then training at home isn't a good choice. In fact, most martial arts have some element of combat involved, so you'll need to find a trained sparring partner.

How should a beginner learn martial arts? ›

Learn Martial Arts: 3 Basic Kicks for Beginners - YouTube

Will martial arts help my child? ›

They help with coordination.

Doing martial arts movements can help kids get a better feel for their body in space. This is good for kids who struggle with motor skills. It also helps kids understand the power of the mind over the body.

Is karate stronger than Taekwondo? ›

They have very few differences in terms of form and ranks, and both provide you with a good workout while keeping self-defense as the main focus. Karate tends to focus more on solid stances, power, and strength, whereas Taekwondo focuses on flexibility, speed, and mobility.

What is the difference between Taekwondo and karate? ›

Taekwondo emphasizes kicking techniques, while Karate focuses on hand strikes. Taekwondo originated in Korea. Karate originated in Okinawa, Japan. Taekwondo is an Olympic sport.

What is the easiest martial art to learn at home? ›

Weight loss: Easy Martial Art forms you can learn at home
  • 01/5Jiu-Jitsu. There are some simple techniques of Jiu-Jitsu that you can do easily at home all by yourself. ...
  • 02/5Muay Thai. This is an excellent exercise to learn at home if you do not have a partner. ...
  • 03/5Boxing. ...
  • 04/5Karate. ...
  • 05/5Krav Maga.
10 Aug 2019

How many days does it take to learn martial arts? ›

The suggested time for training to proficiency in various martial arts based techniques ranges from 2 weeks to several years depending on the course and the level of proficiency desired.

Which martial art is best for ADHD? ›

“Impulsivity works perfectly in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu because when you're in a match, you don't have time to think of options.” There are many martial arts those who are dealing with ADHD can choose from like BJJ, Muay Thai or boxing.

Should my child do karate or Taekwondo? ›

However every martial art ALSO has flaws when it comes to total self defence classes for kids. Taekwondo is known for its awesome kicks – which is great for keeping people out and at a distance. Karate lessons are focused on striking and is better for close-in defence.

How do I teach my child self-defense? ›

How to teach your kids self-defense - YouTube

What are the 5 basic kicks in Taekwondo? ›

There are five basic kicks in Taekwondo: the front kick, the side kick, the hooking kick, the back kick, and the roundhouse kick. If you can manage these five kicks, you'll have a great foundation to explore other advanced kicks.

What are the 6 basic kicks in Taekwondo? ›

Therefore, a total of six kicks were studied. In the following, they are referred to as: front-back, front-forward, side-back, side-forward, round-back, and round-forward.

How many years does it take to master martial arts? ›

According to 'A way to mastery. Mastery in martial arts', to reach mastery confirmed by being awarded the tenth-degree black belt, it takes between 30 and 70 years of continuous training.

Does meditation help with martial arts? ›

For centuries, martial arts masters have taught their students that meditation fosters an optimal state of mind and helps increase martial power.

Why are martial artists vegetarian? ›

Because one of the tenets of Buddhism promotes pacifism, these martial artists are vegetarians. Food is either raw or steamed. The simpler the meal is prepared, the better. Unnecessary sugars and fats are omitted from their dishes.

Will karate help me lose weight? ›

A typical martial arts workout will burn between 300 and 900 calories an hour, depending on your body weight. Whether your sport of choice is Karate, Taekwondo, Kickboxing, Muay Thai, Judo, Jiu-jitsu or Krav Maga, you can count on burning off more than you would with a walk.

What is the easiest martial art to learn at home? ›

Weight loss: Easy Martial Art forms you can learn at home
  • 01/5Jiu-Jitsu. There are some simple techniques of Jiu-Jitsu that you can do easily at home all by yourself. ...
  • 02/5Muay Thai. This is an excellent exercise to learn at home if you do not have a partner. ...
  • 03/5Boxing. ...
  • 04/5Karate. ...
  • 05/5Krav Maga.
10 Aug 2019

How can I learn fighting skills at home? ›

How to Learn Martial Arts at Home | TOP 3 THINGS to DO!!! - YouTube

Is Karate harder than Taekwondo? ›

So saying that Karate is harder than Taekwondo is maybe true for some people. But the other side may find Taekwondo to be harder simply as karate suits them better. But one thing is for sure, becoming a black belt in both of these arts is very, very hard.

What is the most practical martial art? ›

Self-defense: The Five Most Effective Martial Arts
  • On a collision course: Krav Maga. ...
  • (Almost) nothing is off limits: Mixed Martial Arts. ...
  • Raw but effective: Keysi. ...
  • Individual self-defense in the style of Bruce Lee: Jeet Kune Do. ...
  • Instinct rather than deliberation: Wing Chun.
17 Jan 2019

Which martial art is best to learn alone? ›

02/5Muay Thai

This is an excellent exercise to learn at home if you do not have a partner. All you need are some equipment such as punching bag, boxing gloves and Muay Thai shin guards. This technique is a little difficult as compared to other forms of martial arts, but with practice, you will get better with time.

How do I choose a martial art for my child? ›

When deciding on a martial art for your kids, there is no one “best” martial art. Instead, enroll your children into a discipline they feel comfortable doing because if they enjoy studying the art, they will reap the many benefits that come with it.

Is Karate effective in a real fight? ›

Yes, traditional Karate techniques can be very effective for self-defense. The basic Karate moves for self-defense are effective and powerful. When executed correctly, Karate strikes will blow your opponents away. Plus, Karateka doesn't just break flimsy little specially-designed breaking boards.

What's the best form of fighting to learn? ›

These five martial arts styles are ideal for teaching you what you need to know if you ever find yourself in a dangerous situation.
  • #1 BJJ for Self Defense. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, or BJJ, is great for self-defense because size doesn't matter. ...
  • #2 Muay Thai. ...
  • #3 Filipino Martial Arts. ...
  • #4 Krav Maga. ...
  • #5 for Self Defense MMA.
23 Jul 2019

What is the best self Defence to learn? ›

The 7 Best Martial Arts For Self-Defense
  • Taekwondo. Taekwondo has earned a reputation for being a competitive sport, but the martial art was originally developed for self-defense. ...
  • Submission Grappling. Every match goes to the ground. ...
  • Muay Thai. ...
  • Wrestling. ...
  • Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. ...
  • Mixed Martial Arts.
7 Aug 2019

How do you build fighting strength? ›

Here are seven essential exercises every martial artist needs to start doing right now to take their skills to the next level.
  1. #1 Pull-ups. Pull-ups help build upper body strength by developing the muscles in your upper back. ...
  2. #2 Push-ups. ...
  3. #3 Thrusters. ...
  4. #4 Overhead Presses. ...
  5. #5 Deadlifts. ...
  6. #6 Squats With A Barbell. ...
  7. #7 Burpees.
8 Dec 2019

What is the difference between taekwondo and karate? ›

Taekwondo emphasizes kicking techniques, while Karate focuses on hand strikes. Taekwondo originated in Korea. Karate originated in Okinawa, Japan. Taekwondo is an Olympic sport.

What are 3 strategies of self-defence? ›

  • 10 Self-Defense Strategies Everyone Needs to Know.
  • TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS. Too many women enroll in a self-defense class after they've been assaulted. ...

Why does it cost money to train in the martial arts? ›

A teacher might be able to make a fairly significant amount of money from their kids classes, but there aren't a lot of adults willing to put in the serious training required for martial arts training. So, senseis and sifus are forced to charge what they must to pay the bills. Simple as that.

How do you fight for beginners? ›

10 SIMPLE Fighting Tips
  1. Commit to the fight. ...
  2. Focus on what you have to do. ...
  3. Exhale sharply with every punch. ...
  4. Breathe when you defend. ...
  5. Walk, don't run. ...
  6. Drive your elbow (rather than the fist) into each punch. ...
  7. Never cover your eyes or let your opponent go out of your vision. ...
  8. Lean on your opponent.
23 Jun 2015


1. Self Defense for Kids | Master Wong - GNT
(Master Wong)
2. Martial Arts for Beginners – Lesson 1 / Basic Karate Cobra Kai Techniques
(World Wide Karate Guide)
3. Martial Arts for Kids - First Self Defense Lesson (Krav Maga)
(Global Martial Arts University)
4. 40 Minute Kids Karate Lesson | Dojo's Missing White Belt! | Dojo Go (Week 32)
(DojoGo! - Online Kids Martial Arts)
5. Shawn Suser (Mental Health & MMA Documentary)
(Ray Hui)
6. How To Fight Like COBRA KAI
(Sensei Seth)
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