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Best Martial Arts Styles for Kids

By Jessica Militello

Kids wearing their martial arts gis are posed in a symmetrical layout punching and kicking into the air.If you are looking for a martial art to enroll your child in, you may be wondering which style is the best for them to learn and have fun while still being appropriate for their age. Every martial art has a list of benefits and something to offer for physical health and self-defense, but if your child is going to begin their martial arts journey, they may as well take up the one that will make them the most well-rounded in any self-defense situation while equally emphasizing character development. Jeet Kune Do is a great martial art for any age and there are many benefits to starting your child’s martial arts journey in the art founded by Bruce Lee. 
Here are some of the reasons Jeet Kune Do is the best martial art for your child-

Learning self-defense for all situations

When Bruce Lee developed his ideas for what is now known as Jeet Kune Do, he wanted a form of self-defense that could work in all situations regardless of the attacker’s height, weight, and strength. Bruce took inspiration from everywhere including boxing, kickboxing, fencing, and even dancing. In a real-life self-defense situation, there are no rules, referees, or moves that are banned, so it’s best to be equipped to handle anything that comes your way in the interest of getting out of danger and getting home safely. Our tool kit includes punching, kicking, trapping, grappling, and weapon and we have a stance that is designed to keep an attacker from getting too close, while still using the tools you need to protect yourself. Your age, gender, or body type doesn’t matter in Jeet Kune Do; the art is for everyone and when kids start their training young, it certainly gives them an advantage in the event they need to protect themselves in a self-defense situation.

Bruce Lee as a role model for kids

Every martial art has some honorable founders and notable figures that are inspiring, but Bruce may be even more relatable for kids because he also used movies as a way to spread the art and share it with viewers. Kids can be hard to impress sometimes but showing them his movies and letting them see how great of a fighter he was will give them extra motivation to stick with their training. Bruce is an amazing role model and many of his ideas can help teach children discipline, self-control, and integrity as they grow up. Jeet Kune Do offers more than just self-defense, it is a vehicle for personal betterment both mentally, spiritually, and physically.

Learning to “be like water” on the training floor and in life

One of Bruce Lee’s most famous quotes is the idea of being like water, not only in Jeet Kune Do training, but throughout your life. Bruce talked in detail about what he meant by this in interviews and it’s an important aspect of Jeet Kune Do training- learning to adapt in an unexpected situation. Any time you are defending yourself in real life, you have no idea what your attacker might do and so it’s best to be as well-rounded as you can in order to get out of the situation safely. But really, life is exactly the same way and no matter how much we plan or stay organized, there will always be something unexpected happening at some point and instead of having a fixed mindsight that it wasn’t “supposed” to happen, it makes you more resilient to understand unexpected things may happen, we don’t always get the results we want in life, and learning to adapt and flow will add to your peace of mind that no matter what, you can really adapt to and handle any challenges that come your way. How many adults wish they would have learned this from a young age? Children learning this important message early on is a benefit that lasts a lifetime and can help your kids on the training floor and throughout their lives.

Learning for a lifetime

In the children’s program, we do have a belt system that rewards kids for their hard work and motivates them to keep training, but if they keep training until they get to the adult program, which they are eligible to do when they turn 13, there is no belt system because Bruce Lee did not believe in belts for Jeet Kune Do training. His reasons are myriad, but one of the most important reasons is that sometimes in schools, once a student earns their black belt, it can give the idea that they have learned everything and there is nothing more to know and can put a ceiling, in a way, on a student’s learning. Bruce wanted students to realize that there is always more to learn, always some way to refine and better yourself in training, and it’s good to strive to know more and constantly refine your art no matter how many years or decades you’ve been at it. This idea is also a great concept to take with you in life, by constantly striving to be better than the day before and learn something new throughout your life, regardless of your age or how much you’ve accomplished.