Instructor Mindset: Understanding the Age-Specific Benefits of Martial Arts for Children ages 3 and 4-year olds (Part 1 of a 4-part Series)

There are millions of children participating in the martial arts.

That number is growing at rapid rate per year.

The reason why is because parent’s across the globe are recognizing all of the amazing benefits the martial arts has to offer children.

The best part is we are only at the tip of the iceberg. This number will continue to soar for many years to come.

With that said, it is beneficial for martial arts school owners and instructors to perfect their ability to explain the benefits of training to the parents.

There are so many underlying benefits and sometimes parents may not realize how training increases their child’s development.

For example: a simple drill of kicking a pad while walking and counting will increase a 3 year olds learning ability far beyond the normal expectations of his or her stage of development physically, intellectually, emotionally, and socially.

As a parent, who wouldn’t want to increase their child’s growth in all 4 areas?

With that said, I am going to make your job easier by breaking down some of the key benefits to martial arts training in an age-specific manner.

This will help you explain things more clearly to the parents…

The Benefits of Martial Arts for 3 and 4 year olds:

Children this age are entering the “magical years” in their growth and development.

They will for the first time experience rapid growth and development in the early stages of many skills.

Martial arts will help them kick-start their growth and development in a positive and constructive atmosphere.

(Keep in mind that if you are still part of the “new old school” method and combine 3 to 6-year olds together, you are limiting your results.)

Top three PHYSICAL milestones for this age are:

Early development in the following…

  1. Upper body, core, and lower body muscles developed to remain in one position for 10 seconds or longer.
  1. Alternating feet and hands for 10 reps for longer.
  1. Spatial awareness (where their body exists in space/ how far or close things really are) to catch an object from various directions 5 times in a row or more.

Top three INTELLECTUAL milestones for this age are:

Early development in the following…

  1. Following directions with verbal cues only.
  1. Processing 3-step or higher commands.
  1. Repeating process of 3 consecutive routines of more.

Top three EMOTIONAL milestones for this age are:

Early development in the following…

  1. Demonstrating a “can do” attitude.
  1. Controlling their emotions when they are challenged.
  1. Facing fears such as trying new things and meeting new people.

Top three SOCIAL milestones for this age are:

Early development in the following…

  1. Taking turns.
  1. Sharing attention.
  1. Enjoying activities with other people.

Here’s a real simple example of how an age-specific drill can help in all 4 areas of development:

Skill: Kicking

Drill: Kick it and count it


In this drill the students will practice the early stages of kicking while walking, counting and striking a target.

Many children within this age group have a hard time kicking while walking, alternating legs, counting, and striking a target.

They have a tendency of favoring the dominant leg. They also tend to kick higher with this leg, so this drill will help them PHSICALLY increase the power and flexibility in their non-dominant leg by having them hit a target set up at a higher than normal level, which is at waist level or higher.

To make it even more challenging, they usually don’t have the INTELLECTUAL capacity to both focus on counting and striking a target while walking and kicking.

This drill enables them to practice EMOTIONAL development by persevering through a task that is challenging for the average child in their stage of development.

This drill also improves their SOCIAL development as they practicing taking turns.

Click here to download the drill:

As you can see, we know how to take a simple drill and turn it into a drill that has VALUE.

It’s all in your mindset about drills and how they target age-specific benefits.

Hope this helps, and have a great day!