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Why Should I Sign My Kid Up For Martial Arts? Part I

These are the most common objections:

  • My kids are in too many activities
  • My kid is not athletic
  • I don't want to encourage my kids to use violence

Let's take a look at each of these. In this post, I will discuss the problem of kids who are overcommitted to too many activities.

Overscheduled Kids

I agree.

Kids should have free time to decompress from school, to give their minds a chance to wander, and to help out at home. If your kids are already in an activity that they love and it is one that provides a safe and positive environment to grow and make friends, then you’re right, you shouldn’t have to sign your kid up for martial arts.

But if you have been thinking some of the these thoughts:

  • the competition level in soccer/volleyball/swimming has become too much,
  • your kid’s pitching arm/shoulder/elbow shows signs of overuse
  • your kid is overlooked by the coach in favor of the “superstars”

I invite you to explore what martial arts can do. 

competition is with yourself


The main competition in martial arts is with oneself. The goal is improvement, not beating others.

In addition, respect and humility are taught intentionally as part of the core training. This prevents the type of warped competitiveness that ruin relationships and cause parents to behave badly.

kids showing respect
drawing of muscles of a human


Martial arts uses all the major muscles in the body, unlike some sports that make heavy demands on particular muscles that can lead to repetitive injuries.

Studies have also shown that training the less dominant side along with the dominant side not only leads to better physical development but also contributes to healthier cognitive development.

woman tennis player clutching elbow in pain
picture of a boy sitting out a game.


I cannot promise you that every martial arts instructor is impartial; they are humans.

However, success in martial arts is measured by students improving enough to earn new ranks and not by winning over other teams. Benching a "weaker" player in order to win a game is not in the tradition. Instructors have to make sure every student is better than they were yesterday.

karate belts hanging on a wall

In the next two post, I will address the second and third objections. Stay tuned.