Best age to train martial arts

What’s The Best Age to Practice Martial Arts?

Before I started my martial arts journey I would constantly ask myself if it was already to late to start training. When you look at most Taekwondo Dojangs and Karate Dojos, the average starting age at which one starts training is very young. This is discouraging to someone who is older because you feel as though you’re already at a supreme disadvantage. The truth is, unless your ultimate goal is become a professional MMA fighter, any age is the best age to practice martial arts.

The truth is, Martial Arts are a lifelong journey for some. It really doesn’t matter when that journey starts as long as it starts somewhere. Of course if you’re much older (lets say seventy years of age), you should perhaps consider a Martial Art like Aikido rather than joining an MMA gym. If you’re looking to start training Martial Arts but don’t know the best art to start with, visit our article.

The Best Age to Start Training Martial Arts

when should kids start martial artsIt all depends on the ultimate goal. Is it self-recreating, self-confidence, self-discipline, health and fitness, or perhaps you just want to get better at fighting? These are all great reasons to start martial arts, however I wouldn’t recommend someone who is much older to quit their day job to become a professional MMA fighter.

I started training Muay Thai many summers ago as a way to get in shape, I also though Muay Thai was a great self-defense tool to have. Muay Thai has helped me out in many real-life situations and I’m happy I had the skill-set to defend myself. Not only are Martial Arts a great self-defense tool, but they keep you in great shape.

If you’re only getting into Martial Arts to be a “badass”.. well you’re gonna have a bad time. Martial Arts are an expression of one-self and a passing of traditions handed down from generations of true Martial Artists. Martial Arts were never about using your skills to purposely hurt other people who mean no harm.

The Best Age to Start Training MMA

The best age to start MMA is when you’re a teenager and your body is fully or almost fully developed. This is to assume you’re training MMA to one day become a professional MMA fighter. I would recommend around the 15-16 age range to start intensively training martial arts such as Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. The great thing about BJJ is that you don’t need to be big and strong to become good at it. You could be 100 pounds but be a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and be a very dangerous person to mess with.

The reason I chose the 15-16 age range is that this will allow you time to train and get a few amateur fights before you turn 18 years of age. The major MMA organizations such as Bellator and the UFC usually won’t sign anyone until they’re 18 anyway. Although there are exceptions like Aaron Pico, however it’s always best to develop your skills before you test yourself out in the big leagues.

5 Reasons why Kids should do Martial Arts


Fitness is a crucial element to all Karate and Taekwondo classes, especially where children are involved. Warmups with jumping jacks, pushups and stretches are common. Various movements of the martial art itself often challenge your muscles and cardiovascular system. Martial artists are known for being toned, flexible, and physically fit. This is why martial arts are great for you and your kids.

Self Defense

The ability to defend yourself against an assailant is an empowering feeling. Most martial arts (including Karate and Taekwondo) use self defense as a cornerstone of the entire program. The precise methods will vary from discipline to discipline, but you can be certain that with regular practice, your child will learn to defend in a variety of different ways. Many martial arts schools also teach “street-smart” techniques to kids to help avoid problems altogether. This is also great if your child is a victim of bullying in school.

Self Discipline

Karate and Taekwondo in general are great to instill mental focus and self-discipline within your child. Giving them the ability to concentrate on the task at hand and see it through to the end. Simple discipline in the Dojo regarding uniforms and custom techniques will help translate to other areas of life. This is including school and household chores, your child will respect you.. which brings me to our next topic.


Martial arts are all about respect in general. Punching, kicking, or any other form of martial art are all secondary to the respect that is shown from the moment someone walks into a Dojo. Children learn respect from the moment they walk in and meet their instructors and all of the people who came before them. Children also learn how to treat other students similar to “treat others how you would want to be treated”.

Self Confidence

A child who is involved in martial arts is generally a child who is confident within themselves. Working through a martial art and the belt ranking system gives a child measurable goals to follow that is realistic to attain. The sense of accomplishment a child feels by mastering a new technique or graduating to a new belt follows them everywhere they go.

Is Karate and Taekwondo Helpful for Kids?

Karate and Taekwondo help teach kids many useful tools that they will take on with them throughout life. Although I didn’t practice martial arts as a child, I wish my parents had put me through some sort of Karate class to develop these great skills while I was young. Martial arts such as Karate and Taekwondo are great for developing many abilities that your child will take with them throughout their life.

karate for kidsTo successfully execute a sequence, a Karate or Taekwondo student needs confidence. Each class builds up the student’s skills, but the student must take the initiative to commit to confidently execute each action. Your child’s confidence will increase as he or she masters their art and moves up in belts. This confidence stays with them through schooling, and allows him or her to develop strong friendships and maintain a positive view of themselves.

Final Say

The final thing I need to say is that no matter your age Martial Arts are always going to welcome you with open arms. I can proudly say that starting Martial Arts was the best decision of my life. Everyone always asks me why I study Martial Arts and I always tell them the same thing: I’m obsessed. This wasn’t an overnight obsession however, there were many bumps and bruises (literally) on my journey. If you need even more reasons on why to start Martial Arts, please visit our article on the 10 Reasons Why You Should Start Martial Arts.

Please continue to visit The MMA Guru whenever you are looking for the best MMABoxingMuay Thai, and Jiu Jitsu knowledge and guides.

19 thoughts on “What’s The Best Age to Practice Martial Arts?”

  1. Cindy Arnold

    My son is 11 years old and he was recently sparing with a kid a few years older and a few belts ahead of my son. My son was struck several times in the head and sustained a concussion. I have a video of the sparing and would like to get some feed back on what I should do.

    1. The MMA Guru

      Hey Cindy,

      First I would take your child to the doctor to make sure that he’s okay. I then recommend talking to the head trainer or gym owner regarding this incident and voicing your concerns. I really need more information about the incident before giving too much advice. The older and more advanced child shouldn’t be so aggressive and children shouldn’t necessarily be sparring anyway so there are a lot of red flags here. If any similar incidents happen again I would definitely stop taking your child to that gym immediately. I actually have an article regarding head trauma and safety when training, I highly recommend you take a look at that so you can understand the dangers of concussions.

  2. Sayed Salahuddin Sadri

    Hi Anth,

    I am 40 years old man, married but i look younger then my age, please tell me can i start Martial Arts Training?

    Please let me know the information and start my planning.

    1. The MMA Guru

      Hey Sayed,

      It’s never too late to start Martial Arts training! I would recommend you do some research and see which Martial Arts schools are around your area. I recommend trying to find the best Jiu-Jitsu and Muay Thai schools available that work with your schedule.

  3. Arpita

    Hi Anthony I m 18 going to be 19 tomorrow. I don’t have any experience in this field at all nor a genetic freak. But I am going to learn BJJ and kickboxing anyway but it is too late for me to be a professional and champion?

    1. The MMA Guru

      Hey Arpita,

      You’re definitely not too old. I started training Muay Thai and BJJ around your age and I caught on very quickly. It will take a lot of hard work to become a professional and a champion, however, there’s never been a better time to become a professional fighter than now. There are many MMA gyms that offer both Muay Thai and BJJ training so I recommend you research around your area and find the best gym that works with your future goals.

  4. Rhytham

    Hey Anth ,

    I am 18 years old and soon my semester is going to start ( after 5 months to be exact) . Is 5 months enough for taekwondo?

    1. The MMA Guru

      Hey Rhytham,

      Five months of training will only teach you the simple basics of most martial arts. Taekwondo training involves the use of flexibility and speed, both of these can be enhanced at your age. I believe 18 is nearly the perfect age to start martial arts training! Although five months isn’t much training time, I believe after the five months is over you’ll want to continue training and explore the possibility of training other martial arts as well. I wish you best of luck on your journey.

      The Guru

  5. Niveth

    Hi I’m 23 years old and I want to become a fighter, is this age fine for that?

    1. The MMA Guru

      Hey Niveth,

      Most fighters don’t reach their prime until after 23 years of age so it’s definitely not too late to fight! I would suggest starting out with some basic Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training and see where it takes you. Good luck on your martial arts journey.

      The Guru

  6. Karthik Krishnan

    Hi Anthony,

    Karthik here and im 34. Between MMA and Karate which one would you suggest for self defense,fitness, flexibility, conditioning .

    I have no background in martial arts. I chose MMA and Isshrinyu Karate because they are the ones accessible to my home and suits my work timing

    1. The MMA Guru

      Hey Karthik,

      It’s awesome that you’ve started training! I understand how hard those first few months can be, especially when you aren’t in the best of shape to begin with. 34 is a great age to start martial arts training and I’m excited to hear about your progression in the future.

      As for your question, I believe you would most benefit from either MMA or Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training. Karate is great for flexibility, however it doesn’t really give you proper fitness/conditioning and really isn’t my number one option for self-defense either. MMA and BJJ training are both excellent for self-defense, fitness, conditioning, and even flexibility. I think a combination of MMA and Karate can be beneficial and it certainly helps that it works with your schedule!

      The Guru

      1. Karthik Krishnan

        Thank you ! Have started to train MMA.

  7. Taliya

    Hi Anthony, i’m Liya i’m currently 14 but 15 this year and i’m wondering if i’m at a good age to start TaeKwondo or Karate? Also what is the best choice for gaining flexibility, fitness, and maybe even self defense.

  8. Zack

    Hey Anthony, I’m a newly turned 16 year old, and I believe it would be best for me to learn a martial art, for both self defense and to strengthen myself as a person. At first I thought it’d be best to learn MMA due to it’s wide array of techniques and I think it’ll be perfect, but I’d prefer to have your opinion on this, (I’ve never had any sort of practice or experience in this)

    1. The MMA Guru

      Hey Zack,

      I believe 16 is a great age to start training martial arts! I recommend starting Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and a striking art such as Muay Thai right away! Keep me updated on what you decide to do!

      – The MMA Guru

  9. Paul Helmn

    Hi ,
    Enjoyed reading many of your articles Thank you

    I’m 56 and I had a fright ( not fight) with an aggressive angry younger man in front of my children and I had to back down , which by the way I would have no matter my fighting ability as my kids were there

    But I felt vulnerable and old , obviously I can’t change my age
    I’m a self employed solid plaster with no back up financially if out of work and I’m worried an injury
    To arm hands etc could be devastatin g work wise

    Any tips on which route to go

    1. The MMA Guru

      Hey Paul,

      Thanks for writing in, I think the fact that no one was hurt and your kids were safe meant you did the right thing. Although we can’t ever get any younger, I believe doing some Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training would be your best route to go. Every type of training has its risks of injury, however, if you’re already in decent shape and start out slow then you greatly minimize these risks. I recommend learning at least the basics of BJJ so that IF a similar situation happens you know that you can submit an attacker IF absolutely necessary for your children’s safety.

      – The MMA Guru

  10. Alejandra

    I’ve recently started reading your articles during my free time. And I was curious to know if it’s to late for me to be a competitive fighter. I did taekwondo from ages 5-9 and quit at my red belt black stripe. I am now 18 and am wanting to get back into martial arts. I like competing but is it to late for me??

Comments are closed.

Scroll to Top