10 Reasons Why Your Child Should Do Judo Instead of Team Sports


Millions of children are participating in team sports like baseball, basketball, football, and soccer. But they differ from individual sports in many important ways. Martial arts as an example offer a multitude of benefits that we will cover today.

With so many martial arts to choose from, where do you start? There’s Karate, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Taekwondo, and Judo which are all popular and worthwhile options. As a 2nd Dan in Judo, I’ll focus on why it’s a great martial art option for your child.
kids loving judo

  1. Self-Defence 

Luckily, not everyone needs to end up using self-defence in life, but for children and adults who do, it can make all the difference between safety, injury, life, and death. The most highly effective martial art is Judo. The sport develops self-defence skills in both ground and standing positions. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, otherwise known as BJJ, is primarily a ground martial art.

Martial arts like Taekwondo and Karate are standing-only sports. Judo combines both ground and standing positions, which is why it’s so effective. When a Judo fighter gets their hands on a bully or attacker, they’ll hardly stand a chance. This is why the military and police practice Judo as part of their training. 

  1. Strength Training

While anyone can get fast, strong, and better by training and playing in a team sport or other martial art. Judo is unlike any other, as the sport requires you to use your entire body. Judo uses grip and arm strength, back, legs and feet, and most importantly core strength. There’s a difference between punching and kicking a whole person in comparison to throwing them six feet through the air. Judo requires a different type of muscle strength, the whole body.

  1. Self-Confidence

The self-confidence level of your child increases significantly as they become more skilful in their selected martial art. Their Sensei’s (Coach’s) encouragement will help your child to achieve their goal, and their confidence level will extend beyond the Dojo (Judo hall). Once your child becomes self-confident, they’ll less likely experience terror and fear from bullies. Knowing how to defend yourself can change the way you feel about yourself.

  1. Exercise 

Martial arts, such as Judo, can help burn off excess energy in children diagnosed with ADD and ADHD. Since Judo activates all of the muscles in the body, the sport offers valuable aspects. Judokas are known to have focused thinking, fast reflexes, are experts in balance (both physical and mental), and are exceptionally strong.

The exercise your child will get from Judo will not only assist in developing her or his muscles, it will also help them build a stronger cardiovascular system. There isn’t a team sport that pushes you as hard as Judo does. The class will generally consist of warm-up calisthenics, judo-related games, practicing of grips and techniques, and possibly sparring.

  1. Discipline 

Practice makes perfect when it comes to martial arts which is the core of any sport really. There is constant drills, repetition, and practices with emphasis on rhythm and details. Uchikomi (technique entry) and throwing are repeated and practices again and again.

Children are taught the benefits of practicing frequently and the patience it takes to get there. They also learn respect and fairness. It’s not uncommon for parents to notice changes in their children after taking on a martial art like Judo. Changes are usually in their child’s discipline, behaviour and respect. 

  1. Gender Equity 

When parents hear about Judo, many consider the martial art for their sons. Nearly not as many as the ones that would consider Judo for their daughters. However, Judo is one of the few sports where both girls and boy can train together.

There are massive international opportunities in Women’s martial arts as there are in Men’s martial arts. Your daughter attaining her black belt won’t be any easier than your son attaining his. Judo also gives the opportunity for sisters and brothers to train together and learn from each other.
judo for kids

  1. Competition

Just like team sports, Judo is a competitive sport. Competition is a great way for children to test their skills, their progress, and to see what they still need to improve on. Unlike team sports, when a child loses they can’t blame anyone else besides themselves which teaches accountability.

Each competition is a new start. At the Olympics, to win Gold or Silver there’s a single elimination round. However, for those that have lost their first matches there’s a second chance round for them to win Bronze.

  1. Personal Achievement 

When it comes to individual sports, success is based on your child’s qualities. Your child may not be the most winning Judoka, but at least she or he tried and lost. It doesn’t mean they’re not good enough to make it off the bench, like in other team sports. Your child knowing that their own hard work and ambition will lead them to success is a motivation for them to achieve their goals and dreams. For girls in particular, the inspirational story of Rusty Kanokogi could be very inspiring.

  1. Belts and Ranking

Most martial arts use belts to track the progress and rank of their athletes, which helps build confidence and the desire to succeed in children. For this reason, most martial arts use a coloured-belt system to indicate the skill and knowledge level of their athletes. Once your child passes one belt grading, she or he will already be thinking about the next one.

  1. Work Ethic

These days people lack work ethic, looking for an easy way out and looking for excuses instead of working hard. With Judo, there is no easy way out and the sport doesn’t allow for poor work ethic. Judo teaches that in the face of an adversary, you have to endure.

Judo is a demanding sport, there’s no denying that. But so is life. Your children may not want to keep doing Judo because it gets hard, but life is hard too. Judo teaches that life doesn’t reward the lazy, to achieve greatness you need to put in the hard work.