5 Reasons Why Martial Arts Are Better Than Football For Kids

5 Reasons Why Martial Arts Are Better Than Football For Kids

As a parent we envision spending our Saturday mornings at the local football field stuffing our faces with sausage rolls whilst watching our kids kicking a ball around. In Australian culture, football is almost like a rite of passage for our kids as they transition from toddlers to ‘big kids’.

We don’t often stop and think why we choose football codes for our kids, what are the benefits of football? What are our children learning on the footy pitch? Sure there are the obvious benefits such as fitness, motor skills and hand eye coordination, but at what point in our lives are we thankful that we learned how to kick a ‘bomb’ or a ‘grubber’? Are these skills relevant outside of the game? The answer is a resounding NO.

Martial arts should not be an alternative activity during the summer when there is no football, I believe it should be the number 1 draft pick for any parent considering sports for their kids! I can think of MANY reasons why martial arts are better than football for our kids, here are just 5…


1-Practical Skills

The ability to defend yourself is something that can’t be learned on the football field! Self defence is a life skill that should be taken as seriously as learning how to swim or drive. I wonder how many serious injuries that are directly related to physical violence that could have been avoided if the victim knew how to defend him or herself.


Depression in teenagers is a huge problem here in Australia and a lot of it stems from bullying. When a child has the confidence to defend themselves physically they become more confident to stick up for themselves verbally. I know what a lot of you are thinking right now. Although it may seem like martial arts could encourage kids to get into fights, nothing could be further from the truth. Kids who know martial arts are less likely to end up in a physical confrontation because bullies tease kids who they feel are easy targets. When a child does not fear a confrontation the bully will not confront him/her because they do not hold the power of intimidation over that child. Furthermore, a good martial arts school will always try to encourage good morals and self discipline in their students.


A martial arts instructor yelling in class is not what teaching discipline is about. Although raising the voice to bring a class back in order is perfectly acceptable, the discipline should come from talking to the students and encouraging them to always try their best at everything they do. With discipline they will learn to be good to people and only ever use their skills in martial arts when required such as in the gym, at a tournament or in self defence.


It’s interesting to note that most combat sports, especially Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, are actually safer than the high impact sports such as Rugby League and AFL. BJJ, although a contact sport is not a high impact sport, meaning that the brain is not being rattled in the skull like it would in a typical game of league. Competitions are also highly controlled as there are only 2 participants, a referee is very close to the action and always has safety as the number one priority.


5-Team Work AND Independence

Martial arts competition takes advantage of being a 1 on 1 sport and also a team sport. Training for a tournament is a team effort, and the team always attends these events in big numbers to support one another. However once on the mats it’s 1 on 1. Martial arts are a fantastic way to learn how to work in a team, we’re always trying to help each other improve. It’s also a great way to teach independence because when it comes to the crunch it will be individual effort that wins the gold!


In short, if you want your child to

– Learn practical skills

– Gain confindence

– Learn discipline

– Train in a safe environment

– Learn team work AND independence

Then martial arts must be a priority in your child’s life for their own self development and skills that they can take well into adulthood. Oss!

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By David Jenkinson, Instructor of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu at Gracie Barra Blacktown