Is Taekwondo Good for Toddlers?

taekwondo toddler

You are probably wondering if taekwondo would be a great sport for toddlers. So, is taekwondo good for toddlers?

Generally, Taekwondo is good for toddlers considering its beginner friendliness and great emphasis on the sporting aspect of the art. However, martial art is generally not suitable for toddlers as they are yet to develop the mental and physical ability needed to participate in organized sports.

Note that Taekwondo is generally good for kids. It is one of the first choice martial art recommended to parents for their kids.

However, while taekwondo is a nice art for children of the right age, kids below the age of 3 typically struggle to benefit from it.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), before the age of 6, most children do not have the basic motor skills to participate in organized sports.

And since toddlers are babies between the ages of 1 and 3, taekwondo (which is an organized sport) is not yet suitable for this age group.

Taekwondo is technical, requires a lot of practice and thought, and is just not meant for toddlers.

Taekwondo for Toddlers

Most toddlers are simply unready for an organized combat sport like Taekwondo.

They don’t have the focus, patience, or physical development needed to positively engage in such sport.

Anyone who has met a toddler knows that their temperament may be a challenge.

Emotionally, kids below the age of 3 (and even those older) struggle with loss, and they also need practice and guidance on teamwork and taking turns.

They really can’t be blamed since they’re still developing their motor skills and coordination which is essential for effective participation in an organized sport such as Taekwondo.

Obeying complicated taekwondo rules or multistep instructions might be beyond their abilities.

Additionally, their bodies are not fully developed. They still have soft bones.

They are also quite small which can be a problem if and when an injury occurs since standard orthopedic devices don’t typically fit small children, as explained by experts at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

That’s not all: Starting taekwondo or any other sport too early might create negative associations.

Sometimes, when children begin playing sports at a young age, they develop a disdain for the activity making it feel like a chore.

So, if you want your toddler child to develop through physical exercise, it is better to spend a lot of time with them running around and playing soccer or some other free playing sporting activity.

But does this mean that you should discourage your athletic toddler from participating in Taekwondo? Not at all!

Through free play and flexible recognition of the rules by instructors, you can encourage your little one’s participation in the art.

Luckily, there are adapted martial art programs for toddlers that often go by names like “Little Ninjas” or “Tiny Tigers.”

They introduce martial arts concepts in a fun and very flexible environment.

When done properly, this can get a toddler ready (along with the physical and mental development that’s necessary) to start learning martial arts properly when they come of age.

I tried a kids’ taekwondo program with my son when he was about 2.

He didn’t like it, so I took him out of it as I didn’t want him thinking “I hate martial arts.”

I tried again 4 years later, and he liked it and has been improving and enjoying it for the past 5 years now.

LESSON: don’t try to introduce a toddler to actual taekwondo (or other martial arts) classes until you’re positive about the child’s readiness.

Unsurprisingly, most kids won’t be ready until at least age 5 or 6. Even then, closely monitor their reactions.

Stress is bad for toddlers, so if you decide to sign them up for Taekwondo classes, ensure they are enjoying it and not stressing themselves out about it as that is the only way they can train properly.

Which Martial Art Is Best for Toddlers?

Although martial art is generally not good for toddlers, some of the best martial arts for toddlers include Taekwondo, karate, aikido, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. These four martial arts are light, and have less contact, making them suitable for kids.  

First, bear in mind that kids that age shouldn’t be kicking and punching each other.

This is why you should sign them up for a martial art class that can effectively manage their immaturity.

Now, here are the best martial arts for toddlers.

Taekwondo for Kids

Parents will most often put Taekwondo at the top of their martial arts list and will not go wrong.

This sport will help your child improve flexibility, muscle strength, balance, and body control.

Due to the many benefits of taekwondo for children who attend it regularly, this sport (in addition to physical education) is placed as a compulsory subject in schools in some countries.

It is an art that nurtures good behavior in children, helping them to learn to be human and respect the elderly, the coach, the participants, and everyone around them.

The moral values that a toddler stands to gain by participating in taekwondo are immense.

Interestingly, Taekwondo is beginner friendly.

Karate for Kids

Karate is an excellent martial arts form for kids to learn, as it is divided into three sections:

  • The basics- Kihon,
  • Forms – Kata
  • Sparring – Kumite

These three Karate aspects show that sparring is only one part of the art meaning toddlers can focus on other aspects of the art (basics and forms) until they come of age to engage fully in sparring.

Learning the Kata forms and Kihon basics is very achievable for toddlers.

Karate is much more focused on self-discipline and it emphasizes the basics and the forms of the art in the early years much more than sparring.

Toddlers will therefore learn the etiquette and form of the art and practice self-discipline long before they are required to spar with an opponent.

Aikido for Kids

This Japanese martial art promotes security & nonviolence, self-confidence, and self-awareness, which are some of the highest life priorities.

Through exercise, the child learns how to better treat friends, family, animals, and the surrounding nature.

Aikido teaches them how to protect themselves and others without hurting anyone.

These exercises do not require special physical fitness at first, so aikido is designed for almost everyone irrespective of sex or age.

By practicing aikido, kids (including toddlers) learn what it means to make the right decision, be brave, empathize with others, and be kind, honest, honorable, and loyal.

These are the essential principles of the aikido philosophy called Bushido (once a samurai code).

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for Kids

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu also known as BJJ is one of the best martial arts for toddlers.

This form of Jiu-Jitsu is focused on self-defense and particularly teaches kids how to defend themselves from larger opponents.

The main components of BJJ are grappling and groundwork that focuses on submissions, distance control, levering, and positioning. 

These techniques and moves are ideal for kids because they do not rely on physical strength to be effective.

This contrasts with other martial arts that are focused on strikes such as kicks and punches.

This martial art is considered one of the gentler options making it ideal for kids.

The basic movements and techniques are easily broken down into easy beginner steps that kids will well understand.


Generally, a toddler’s physical and mental development can’t handle the physical aspect of taekwondo until he or she is about 5 or 6.

However, a fun and flexible introduction of these kids to the art might make it more possible and interesting for them to participate.

This makes it less frustrating and more enjoyable for a toddler.

Therefore, you need the right class with the right instructor to make taekwondo enjoyable for your toddler.

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