We experience a lot of physical, mental, and psychological changes all throughout our lives but we can’t deny going through these changes during your teen years can be one heck of a rollercoaster ride. More so in this day and age when teens are forced to grow up while coping with the effects of a global pandemic!
In this case, training in a martial art can be a great benefit to a teen girl’s life as it can help her navigate through these changes by improving self-esteem and boosting confidence, help them to appreciate and care for their health, and most of all, learn important self-defense skills.
If you’ve got a teenage daughter, niece, or granddaughter and are wondering which martial art would be the best for them, then you’re in the right place!
But before we dive into that, we have to answer one important question…
Why SHOULD Teen Girls Learn Martial Arts Anyway?
There are a handful of reasons why teen girls should consider learning martial arts, here are some of the most essentials ones;
The Mental Benefits
It’s established that martial arts can boost your self-esteem and confidence, but aside from that, martial arts can help your teen navigate and conquer their stress and anxiety, too. (1)
Getting them into martial arts not only gives them something to be preoccupied with, the training also helps teen girls to learn how to remain calm and focused when faced with a challenging situation, develop a sense of discipline, learn to set goals, be more patient, and have more self-awareness.
Gaining crucial life skills like these can certainly get them through stressful events and help to manage their anxiety by channeling negative emotions through a positive outlet. (2)
The Physical Benefits
Training in any martial art can help anyone get healthier and fitter, especially teens.
Teenagers are at the perfect time of their lives to pick up and dedicate their time to learning a martial art since their bodies are just starting to develop muscle mass and increasing bone density.
Teen girls start to go through rapid physical changes during puberty including hormonal changes as their body matures and prepares to enter adulthood (think PMS!). Science has proven that being physically active can help reduce the severity of menstrual cramps in women and martial arts can be a great way to help them regularly move. (3)
Other Equally Important Benefits
With how chaotic the world can be nowadays, women, especially young girls, should be prepared to defend themselves. Learning a martial art can teach teenage girls crucial self-defense skills and train them to stay calm when caught in a dangerous situation. (4)
In order to prepare young girls for any type of danger, they can learn smart and effective self-defense techniques from martial arts.
With all these benefits, we circle back to which martial arts IS the best for teen girls to learn then? Let’s quickly go through some of the popular martial arts across the globe and widely practiced by all ages to make things easier.
Globally Popular Martial Arts
Wondering what some of the best martial arts are? These ones right here are globally approved and quite effective.
Krav Maga is a martial art that hails from Israel and was a combat style developed for Israel’s Defense Forces. It’s a mix of techniques from older martial arts such as aikido, judo, karate, judo, and wrestling.
Its original goal was to take the most effective techniques from other martial arts and make it easy to teach to Israeli soldiers. In Krav Maga, students are taught how to attack vulnerable parts of an opponent’s body and defend from and counter a variety of attacks in a quick and efficient way. (5)
There are two kinds of Jiu-jitsu: the ancient Japanese style and the Brazilian style. Brazilian style Jiu-jitsu (or BJJ for brevity) is a martial art form that was heavily inspired by Japanese Jiu-jitsu and Judo.
It’s performed on Jiu-jitsu wrestling mats without any striking. Practitioners fondly call it “human chess” since it involves learning how to use proper pressure and proper timing, and is quite effective at improving reactive ability by increasing body awareness. (6)
In addition, this martial art is a great full-body workout to develop your strength and cardiovascular health.
Modern kickboxing is rooted from the principles and techniques of the well-known fighting style, Muay Thai. However, as of recent decades, “kickboxing” is now used as an umbrella term for many styles of this martial art. (7)
As a striking and stand-up fighting style, it focuses on punches and kicks. A lot of mixed martial arts competitors train in kickboxing for its effectiveness with strikes in improving strikes, and you don't need to invest in heavy-duty rowing machines or cardio machines for weight loss.
An ancient and traditional Korean martial art, those who practice Tae Kwon Do praise it as a discipline that’s more than just developing strong fighting skills. More than just a martial art, it is a lifestyle that helps to train the mind in order to improve the spirit and life. (8)
Tae Kwon Do is a dynamic type of martial art that puts emphasis on foot skills, and the unity between mind and dynamic movement.
Originating from China, Tai Chi is a low-impact and slow-motion martial art.
It differs with other forms of martial art in many ways but most primarily in how practitioners always move in a circular motion and the movements are never forced. The muscles must always be relaxed and nothing in the body is stretched or tensed. (9)
Tai Chi is also called “meditation in motion” by many.
Mixed Martial Arts (MMA)
MMA was originally called “Vale Tudo'' and was popularized in Brazil back in the 20th century. As a full-combat sport, MMA involves striking, grappling, and ground fighting, and incorporates a wide array of techniques from many combat styles. (10)
Being a mixed-bag type of martial art, MMA is great for developing strength and cardio, as well as to keep the mind sharp. Many fans of this martial art tout it as a fun and intense way to get fit, and is practical since it’s effective for self-defense. (11)
Due to its popularity as a “cage fighting” martial art though, some deem it a bit too violent and have talked out brought up about the number of competitors with injuries from practicing MMA. (10)
Boxing first became an Olympic sport way back in 688 BCE but fist-fights were known to have been one of the many ways to settle disputes and as entertainment even before then. (12)
As a martial art and combat sport, Boxing involves attacking and defending with the fists. Similar to Tae Kwon Do, it involves a lot of foot skills and agility. In modern day boxing, players wear hand wraps, and gloves, and may or may not wear protective headgear.
Boxing for fitness has become a very popular home exercise for women to reduce belly fat in recent years, as it's known to help improve cardio endurance and build lean muscle. If you are having thoughts to start training at your basement gym then you need the right type of punching bag, boxing gloves, and pair of boxing shoes designed for women. (13)
Karate was primarily developed as a fighting style for those who were forbidden to carry weapons in Japan during the 17th century. In Karate, practitioners train to strike and kick for offense and defend with their arms and legs. Karate focuses on putting all the power of a strike at the point of impact. (14)
Similar to Tae Kwon Do except for the need for agile foot skills, Karate also emphasizes the connection of the martial art to mental attitude and otus harmonizing the // and discipline even outside the practice of Karate.
Judo is an ancient martial art that means “the way of gentleness” – It’s a martial art that doesn’t involve kicking, punching, or striking techniques of any kind and does not apply any pressure against the joints to throw an opponent. (15)
In Judo, you simply use balance, power, and movement to your advantage in order to throw your opponent to the ground. Practicing Judo has many benefits such as an increase in your stamina, endurance, flexibility, balance, and explosive power to name a few.
Aside from that, it helps students learn and improve their work ethic, social etiquette, and mental fortitude.
What Should Teen Girls Consider Before Choosing a Martial Art to Train In?
While there are martial arts that have similar philosophies and techniques, no two martial art forms are the same.
It’s important to take a moment and ask the following questions before letting teen girls train in any martial art:
What are their GOALS in training in martial arts?
What they want to achieve by training in a martial art should always align with the style and principles of the martial art. Having a clear purpose or a goal in mind can help them stay motivated and determined to take training seriously while still having fun.
Are they training for SELF-DEFENSE?
I think everyone these days knows that it’s significantly crucial for a woman to learn how to fight and defend herself now. I mean, we live in a crazy and unpredictable world filled with some equally crazy and unpredictable people! (16)
If teen girls want to learn a martial art for self-defense, I recommend they try out these martial arts that can teach them take-downs and submission techniques:
Many people online have expressed that the possibility of being able to effectively apply a martial art technique in real life greatly influenced their decision when they chose which martial art their teen daughters and nieces would enroll in. (17)
Learning ground fighting techniques can be a lifesaver, since most of the time, attackers may be stronger and bigger than young girls, and simply striking them may not be as effective as movies and tv dramas make them out to be.
Do they want to learn Martial Arts as a form of EXERCISE?
Any type of martial art can be a great form of exercise. However, if teen girls are particularly looking for one that can help them:
1.) build muscle
2.) lose excess weight and fat, as well as
3.) as well as greatly improve their cardiovascular health along with increasing their strength
…then a good martial art to pick up can be any of these:
Or are they just looking for something FUN?
Every martial art I’ve mentioned in this post is fun in its own right, but for teen girls who are going through many physical and emotional changes, the better martial art is the one that keeps them safe while moving about while also teaching them valuable life lessons along the way.
If this is their goal, they can try out:
Tae Kwon Do
Training in martial arts is a huge decision and choosing one at random simply because it’s what’s convenient or because someone pressured a teenage girl to do it might make the whole experience traumatic for them.
There are many things to consider when choosing a martial art for a teen girl, but always remember that the BEST martial art for them will always be the one which aligns with their goals.
Before pushing any teen girl to do any martial art, do thorough research with them, watch some videos on youtube, and if you’ve decided on one or two, look for a reputable gym or do with an equally reputable coach/trainer/sensei before you go all-in.
Found this article extremely helpful or have more insight to add to this post? We’d love to hear about them in the comments!
Hi there! I'm Ben, main author and chief editor at Fitlifefanatics.com. I have been obsessed with Strength Training and Fitness for 16 years now.
My passion for living a happy fit lifestyle is what made me realize that fitness is what I wanted for my future.
I went on to earn my Masters in Sports Training & Biomechanics.
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