The martial arts are about so much more than self-defense. In fact, having fun, building physical and mental strength, and developing discipline are key components of any martial art discipline, and when it comes to what and where kids can study, New York is flush with options. From Karate to Judo to Krav Maga and beyond, scroll though to discover some of the top martial arts for kids in the city, and where to get kicking. Chop chop!

For the Classic: Karate

Karate is the go-to martial art for kids. It’s low-contact so your budding black-belt isn’t likely to get hurt, and it emphasizes self- control. As your kid learns stances and techniques, he will also be learning things that will be helpful in his day-to-day life: patience, confidence and maybe even better organization skills.

Many Karate programs offer a free or reduced-price intro course, so you can see if the dojo gels with your kid’s personality and needs before investing. World Seido Karate, for instance, has a $20 intro class. Classes at the Midtown location are available seven days a week, and are offered for kids ages four to 15. Seido means “sincere way,” and the World Seido Karate programs focus on a welcoming space for kids to learn to deal with everyday stresses through the power of Karate. Pretty heady stuff!

Karate, like most martial arts, is taught in groups. Size does matter, though: at Modern Martial Arts, classes are small (typically under 15 kids), and instructors are able to give kids individual attention. Your child can progress through the ranks and be constantly challenged, and the program prides itself in being able to help every kind of child evolve and grow.

The Staten Island Karate institute also has small class sizes (10 - 15 students in each), and bi-monthly examinations ensure that your child is being taught at the right level. Print out the coupon on the site, and the first class is free!

World Seido Karate
61 W. 23rd St.
(212) 924-0511

Staten Island Karate
1652 Richmond Ave.
Staten Island
(718) 844-4195

Modern Martial Arts
103 W. 73rd St. (and other locations)
(212) 721-2240

Photo: via Modern Martial Arts on Yelp

Do your kids take a martial art? Tell us where in the comments below!

—Yuliya Geikhman