Karate is a very popular alternative for children who enjoy exercise but are not interested in soccer. From what age can you start, should children actually learn a martial art and what other accompanying effects karate brings – we tell you in this article.

Karate für Kinder
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From what age is karate suitable for children?

We all know the image from the movies when a dojo is filled with 60 children training techniques on the instruction of the sensei. This image, unlike many other Hollywood inventions, can be found exactly in this form in Germany.

Children from the age of 4 can take part in karate training – should there be no objections after a case-by-case examination.

Can children defend themselves with karate?

Karate is an effective martial art for self-defense. Of course, even with knowledge of karate, a young child will not necessarily be able to defend himself against an adult.

  • The basic techniques for defense are taught through foot and arm techniques. Thus, a blow can at least be directed into the void
  • Attack techniques will certainly not have a greater effect due to the lack of strength as well as reach.
  • But ultimately karate gives self-confidence, can help ward off attacks and provide time for escape.

If you don’t have a good idea yet, check out the videos below.

Karate Kids Videos

In the video a 7 year old girl doing a karate kata.


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In the video a 9 year old karate kid at a talent show.


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In the video children from 4 to 6 years old are seen practicing karate:


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How do coaches decide if a child is suitable?

The assessment of whether a child is suitable for karate training is made jointly by the coach and parents. The coach will base his decision primarily on two questions:

  1. First and foremost, the club has a minimum age requirement, which is usually 4 or 5 years old. This minimum age is intended to protect the children from injuries they could inflict on themselves or other children.
  2. But beyond that, of course, it also depends on the individual child. Therefore, the coach will also assess the mental maturity of each new student if the minimum age is not reached or just barely reached before accepting them into the club. It is a question of whether the child even wants to, whether he or she can be integrated into groups, etc. So in case of doubt, asking the club will not hurt.

What are the advantages of karate for children?

Is a martial art really useful for children? You must not reduce it only to the martial art.

  • Because karate children have a great physical fitness, the contact with trainers and older students influences the personality development and social interaction during partner training may even help to make friends. So all in all, karate kids training is definitely a recommendable alternative to the soccer club.
  • Just as with judo for kids, karate educates the body and mind in equal measure and can therefore help your child not only bring home better sports grades, but also gain a better understanding of the consequences of using violence against people. This means that children who have martial arts training usually think twice in conflict situations when their peers have long since tried to assert themselves physically.

This attitude of using physical force only for defense and not for attack arises from the basic rules of karate, which a trainer forcefully teaches.

Are there also dangers?

Of course there are certain stumbling blocks in karate, as in any other sport, but for the most part you can avoid them by observation and possible consultation with the trainer.

  • The biggest danger, especially in the beginning, is probably that your child will be overtaxed. Some “couch potatoes” find it very difficult to adapt to the performance level of the group. However, you have to distinguish between a real overload of your child and his or her unwillingness to “change something”. This problem should quickly resolve itself as soon as he or she discovers the fun of it and makes friends, because he or she will then go to the training completely voluntarily.
  • Another danger is in the social interaction with other children, especially in partner training. Here, as is usual with many children in the same room, friction can occur, but its elimination is part of everyday training for the trainer, just as it is for the older students.
  • Another danger, albeit a very small one, is injury. It is very rare, but can not be completely excluded, that a serious injury occurs, for example, due to an awkward movement. In 99% of cases, however, only the usual strains and bruises occur during children’s karate training, as they are unfortunately inevitable in such a physically active sport. This, in turn, is no different at the soccer club.

Conclusion about children in martial arts

Whether or not one’s children should learn a martial art at a young age remains a subject of debate. In our opinion, there are three important points that everyone should weigh up for themselves.

  1. On the one hand, it is a sport like any other and helps to promote the body and mind of the child. However, other sports are also beneficial in this regard.
  2. Martial arts are designed to fend off an attack or to win a physical confrontation. This can be decisive in an emergency situation.
  3. In our opinion, dealing with violence is even an advantage. Because every good teacher will explain to the children that violence is nothing nice and it is only a means of self-defense. Therefore, this can even have a regulating effect and lead to the children being better able to deal with it.

We are of the opinion that the advantages clearly outweigh the disadvantages when training children in karate. The child can only benefit from physical fitness, group dynamics and personality development.