Can martial arts help with behavioral issues?

I'm having a lot of behavior problems with my 4 year old daughter and am at a loss of what to do. Most of the martial arts studios tout improved behavior and respect as one of the benefits of learning martial arts. I'm just wondering if this is really valid or just a lot of hype. Also even if children who are otherwise strong willed and unruly actually behave well in Martial Arts classes, does this carry over to their behavior at home and situations outside of martial arts class? I was just hoping to hear from people who have had a preschooler in this type of class to see if there was a noticable improvement in behavior. Also any opinions on whether tae kwon do or Karate would be more effective would be appreciated.


Asked by Anonymous at 7:18 AM on Nov. 18, 2008 in School-Age Kids (5-8)

This question is closed and filed in the CafeMom Encyclopedia.
Answers (10)
  • Many behavior issues for children who are young, in my experience, are often related to anxiety, depression, chaos (rushed routines/lack of routine), stress related to adjustments (new sibling, parents arguing, grandparent sick, starting school, ect...). I think it can boost self-esteem, give confidence, creates a structured and routine (they know karate is two nights a week), an opportunity to be with other children, a chance to experience accomplishment (moving up in belts) and praise, and an opportunity to be with other children. It also gives an energy boost after each session which can help focus for a little while. But it doesn't solve the issues at home. I found that when a child has behavior issues it is not just about the child. It is a family issue where everyone needs to look at their behaviors.

    Answer by frogdawg at 8:23 AM on Nov. 18, 2008

    Credits: 24269 Level 25
    Votes up:1 Votes down:0
  • I have a purple belt in Tae Kwon Do. (which would obviously been the MA I recommend lol) My uncle owns a studio and does many things with the Little Dragons class. Aside from them just learning dicipline and burning off some energy, they also teach them many real world things such as fire safety and stranger danger. I don't really know if it will carry over to home, but many of the little ones there had improved behavior in class. I highly recommend it. It is also good for their self esteem when they finally break that board (they had very thin ones the kids would break) or get a new belt.

    Answer by Anonymous at 8:41 AM on Nov. 18, 2008

    Votes up:1 Votes down:0
  • Yes it will help, but it depends on if it is being taught correctly....dont spend lots of money on someone who is in it SOLELY for the money.

    Answer by cloud144 at 7:22 AM on Nov. 18, 2008

    Credits: 395 Level 10
    Votes up:0 Votes down:0
  • It will help them to focus and behave during their lessons IF THEY ENJOY IT AND ARE INTO IT, but won't necessarily transfer over to home or school. That was our experience.

    Answer by Anonymous at 7:28 AM on Nov. 18, 2008

    Votes up:0 Votes down:0
  • It did wonders for my nephew for behaviour and focus


    Answer by Angie430 at 8:44 AM on Nov. 18, 2008

    Credits: 0 Level 1
    Votes up:0 Votes down:0
  • I had both my boys in Karate. My oldest has severe ADHD. We didn't seek it out for behavioral issues though it was a nice side effect. We wanted him to have something to build his self confidence and self esteem. Team sports are rarely a good fix for ADHD kids. It helped him a lot. We started when he was 5 just as a 'lets see" he became an assoiate instructor by the time he was a sophomore in HS. We chose Karate because all the other MA programs around us taught weapons use as class advanced.

    Answer by GrnEyedGrandma at 9:33 AM on Nov. 18, 2008

    Credits: 39983 Level 29
    Votes up:0 Votes down:0
  • It certainly helped with mine!! He's got some fairly serious behavioral issues that have almost completely disappeared with his TaeKwonDo. The kids have to be into it, though, or you'll just make things worse. Both of my kids are in TaeKwonDo, and they're both loving it.

    The respect, self control, self confidence, and life skills they've learned are great. Stranger danger, fire safety, and how to deal with bullies are just some of the things these 2 have learned.

    Answer by debra_benge at 9:53 AM on Nov. 18, 2008

    Credits: 91 Level 5
    Votes up:0 Votes down:0
  • I don't think you'll see results right away. I think its something that develops over time. I know my boys are in karate and they get special patches for school achievements, community service, etc. It gives them something to work toward, but is mostly for the older kids. My four year old's class isn't as strict. Its hard to get 3-5 year olds to focus on ANYTHING. Especially a whole class full of them. If your child starts now and sticks with it, I think you'll see positive results in the future.

    Answer by MrsT6102 at 10:27 AM on Nov. 18, 2008

    Credits: 2 Level 1
    Votes up:0 Votes down:0
  • did wonders for my godson.

    Answer by Kayge at 12:05 AM on Jun. 17, 2009

    Credits: 366 Level 9
    Votes up:0 Votes down:0
  • I'm glad you asked this question. I keep saying I want to enroll my 5 year old son in Martial Arts; but I've also wondered if it would be worth the time and expense. It looks like most of the responses here are very positive, so I'm encouraged! I hope you are, too! Keep us posted if you do join a class!


    Answer by Bostonsbest at 7:21 PM on Sep. 2, 2010

    Credits: 630 Level 11
    Votes up:0 Votes down:0