This is one of people’s biggest questions when they come to us: when is the best time to enroll my kid in martial arts classes? It’s a hard question, and no answer will fit everyone perfectly, but there are a few guiding principles. At MMA NYC, we start kids in martial arts as young as 3 or 4 years old.
It’s a balance. The earlier a kid starts martial arts, the easier it is.
Much like learning a foreign language, the earlier your child starts, the easier it will be for them to internalize what they learn. And martial arts is like learning another language! A body language. If you want to be fluent, you start early so that your muscles can commit the motions to memory.
There’s no such thing as starting martial arts too late.
While it definitely comes in handy to start martial arts as a youngster, there’s also no such thing as “too late.” I remember when I was in middle school I really wanted to start dance but told myself I was “too old” to start an activity I thought most other people had started in diapers.
Fact: most of our teen program started karate at age 11 or older. 95% of our adult program is comprised of students who started martial arts as adults, and several of our instructors started martial arts as adults too.
One could even argue that there’s something to be said about the individual who chooses martial arts when they’re at an age to make informed choices.
We recommend kids starting martial arts at age 3.
We generally start our program at age 3. Is that a hard and fast rule? No, but in our experience, that’s the optimum age for a child to succeed in our program.
If your child struggles to finish a class, or gets teary-eyed with the stimulation, they may be too young. Instead of pushing and creating a negative experience, give your child 2-3 months and then try again. Those extra few months can make a world of difference when it comes to setting your child up for a lifetime discipline!
Start with a trial class and go from there.
My best piece of advice? Start with our two class trial for $29.99 and see how it goes. Usually one or two classes is all you need to get a feel whether a program is right for your child, and remember that if it’s not right now, your child may just need a little bit of time before trying again.