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Why Do YOU Want to Start Martial Arts?

“I want to learn to defend myself!”

“I want to get in shape!”

“I want to improve my mental focus!”

Japanese Martial Arts

Get Started Today!

Fitness • Focus • Self-Defense

(734) 720-0330


Set Your Child Up for Success with Kids Karate!

We’ve worked with a lot of great kids and their parents since JMAC opened in 2006. Usually the kids want to know if classes are fun, and how long until they are actual ninjas? But as a parent, your concerns are probably a bit different. Some of the questions we’ve been asked are things like this:

  • Is it safe? 

  • Will my son learn social skills? 

  • Will my daughter learn to defend herself?

  • And sometimes, How long will it take my kid to get a black-belt?

Karate is Amazing for Kids!

One thing we’ve learned … karate can be transformative for young bodies and minds. But too much emphasis on stern discipline and hard-core training can take the fun out of it for kids. If you could stop in and watch a kids karate class, you’d see how we balance fun for the students with learning and teaching. Sometimes it’s obvious, sometimes it’s hidden inside games or activities. 

Changing for the Better … from Shy or Awkward to Confident and Comfortable

Would it be helpful to know that kids who have trained with us have transformed, again and again? Many shy kids become more outgoing. Kids who struggle with coordination get more athletic and comfortable. And this happens not only with “regular” kids, but also with a lot of kids who come to karate with mild learning or developmental disabilities. It’s not magic, of course, but karate is amazing for kids, and you can see many of our success stories on the mat when you come watch!

Give Your Kid a Leg Up for His or Her Entire Life!

You’ve probably heard about all the benefits of a good martial arts program: greater confidence, improved mental focus, an understanding of some aspects of other cultures, and the ability to defend yourself. Think about what an extraordinary gift it would be to set your child up for a life of physical and mental balance. Why wouldn’t you want them to experience confidence and joy, and to be able to move through life with power and grace?

Why is JMAC a Good Choice for Kids Karate in Ann Arbor? 

Our entire kids curriculum is carefully crafted to balance the wants of the kids with the needs of lifetime fitness and focus. Since each kid comes to us with a different range of abilities, there’s no “one size fits all” approach at JMAC. We pay attention to what they do well, assist them at improving those aspects they find more difficult, and gently guide them about what you they can do outside the dojo to improve their mental and physical fitness. We don’t tolerate bullying among our students. Our mission is to create an atmosphere of mutual cooperation and development. Our standards are high, but we’re here to help kids achieve them!

Be Sure You Know What You’re Getting Your Child Into

You’ll start out at JMAC by watching a kids karate class with your child. If the class looks like fun and it works with your calendar, we then work with you to schedule two private intro lessons for your child, with no cost or obligation. In those lessons, we’ll teach them some basic etiquette and a few fundamentals of kids karate. After they’ve completed those lessons, we’ll explain what it takes to get them started. There will be no pressure - we want kids at JMAC who truly want to be here and whose parents are seriously interested in seeing their kids get focused and healthy.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the age ranges in kids karate?

We allow kids from age 7 to 12 in our kids karate program. There’s a great mix of younger and older kids. Between 4-6, kids attend our “Little Dragons” class. When they reach more advanced ranks and hit the 12-13 year age range, many kids will graduate to our adult karate classes.

Will my kid get hurt?

Unlikely! We work very hard to train safely and systematically. Our safety record is very, very good. Of course there’s are scrapes and an occasional bruise, and there is risk of injury in every activity, so we can’t promise that your child will never get hurt. But we can say that we’ve never had a serious injury in our kids karate class, and we do everything in our power to keep it that way.

Will I get locked into a long contract when my child starts?

No! After your child’s intro lessons, we’ll ask you to sign them up for a membership. The membership is for one year, but you can opt out any time within the first 60 days. That 60-day period gives you time to make sure training at JMAC is what you and your child are hoping for. It also gives us a chance to assess your child and let you know whether our program will be a good fit for them. Once a student has been with us for a year, the training is month-to-month (no contract). We’ve had students who joined in 2006 and are still training at JMAC today!

The First Step to Take if You’re Considering Kids Karate

If you think you might like to get your child involved in karate, we’d love to have you watch a class with them. Email is the best way to contact us. You can reach JMAC at info@japanesemartialartscenter.com(or use the contact box in the upper right corner of this page). If you’re more comfortable on the phone, call (734) 720-0330 to arrange a time to visit or get your questions answered.
We can’t wait to meet you and your child!

Serving Southeast Michigan:

JMAC students come to practice from throughout Southeast Michigan, from such areas as:

  • Ann Arbor
  • Birmingham
  • Bloomfield
  • Brighton
  • Canton
  • Chelsea
  • Clinton Township
  • Detroit
  • Dexter
  • Dundee
  • Fenton
  • Fowlerville
  • Grass Lake
  • Howell
  • Inkster
  • Jackson
  • Lansing
  • Livonia
  • Manchester
  • Milan
  • Milford
  • Monroe
  • Novi
  • Okemos
  • Pinckney
  • Plymouth
  • Rochester
  • Romulus
  • Saline
  • Southfield
  • Tecumseh
  • Troy
  • Whitmore Lake
  • Wixom
  • Ypsilanti
  • University of Michigan
  • Eastern Michigan University
  • Michigan State University
  • Washtenaw Community College
  • Oakland Community College
Directions to JMAC

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Ann Arbor - Martial Arts Mecca

For the prospective martial arts student, Ann Arbor is a mecca in the Midwest. More than any other location in Michigan, Ann Arbor has a wide variety of martial arts styles taught by many well respected sensei (teachers). You can find training opportunities at community centers, college and university gyms, health clubs, fitness centers and dojos (training halls). Among the styles available are: aikido, iaido, judo, jiu-jitsu (also called jujutsu), karate, kendo, kung fu, MMA (mixed martial arts, sometimes called BJJ) tae kwon do, tai chi, and many westernized martial arts systems. At JMAC, we offer world class instruction in judo, jiu-jitsu, iaido (Japanese swordsmanship), and karate for kids.


Aikido is a martial arts descended from jiu-jitsu. It includes joint locks, throws, takedowns, and pins. The philosophy of aikido is a peaceful one - to use the attacker’s energy to neutralize his or her attack without causing injury. Aikido is taught in several forms, such as Aikikai, Ki Society, and Yoshinkan. Aikido was founded by Ueshiba Morihei, who studied with Takeda Sokaku, the most famous practitioner of Daito Ryu Aiki-Jujutsu. Its principles can be found in almost every Japanese martial art, especially jiu-jitsu and judo. Read more about the physical and philosophical principles of Nihon Jujutsu.

Iaido in Ann Arbor

Iaido is Japanese sword drawing. It was created by the Samurai to defend against surprise attacks by an armed opponent. Most iaido involves the practice of pre-arranged forms, which are excellent tools for training the body, improving concentration, and entering into a meditative state. Finding a talented instructor in iaido with legitimate credentials is rare … in the Midwest it’s practically unheard of. For those with a desire to compete in swordsmanship for sport, kendo is the activity of choice. Those who are willing to endure an occasional whack on the head may pursue bokken kumite (sparring with wooden swords) with our director’s authorization once they reach black belt at JMAC. Read more about iaido at JMAC.

Ann Arbor Judo

Judo was founded by Professor Jigoro Kano. It is both a martial art and an Olympic sport. It includes throws, pins, joint locks, and chokes. It is among the most vigorous of martial arts and is very popular with children as well as adults. The Japanese Martial Arts Center offers classes in judo for children as young as 6 years old, and for adults (starting at age 16). One fact not widely known is that sport judo is a narrow cross section of the complete art of judo. Proponents of the entire art, such as Satoh Tadayuki Sensei of Waseda University in Tokyo, recognize that the founder’s vision encompassed not only “judo” throws, but joint locks, takedowns, redirection, strikes, vital points, dynamic ukemi, kata, and weapons. Judo training at JMAC includes many of these opportunities. Read more about Judo at JMAC.

Ann Arbor Jiu-Jitsu (Jujitsu / Jujutsu)

Jujutsu - which is also written "jujitsu" and "jiu jitsu" - is the ancestor martial art of aikido and judo. Although it includes many of the techniques found in aikido, as well as many more combative techniques that did not find their way into aikido, the philosophy of jujutsu is more practical. Techniques are applied more directly, with a greater emphasis on pain compliance. Those who study jiu-jitsu over the long term improve their fitness, concentration, and ability to defend themselves. The Japanese Martial Arts Center offers serious jiu-jitsu classes for adults starting at age 16. You can learn more about the differences between Japanese jujutsu and Brazilian jiujitsu.

Karate – Kids Karate in Ann Arbor

Karate involves mainly strikes, kicks, and blocks. It was originally developed in the Ryukyu Islands (now Okinawa), and was later exported to Japan before finding its way around the world. Karate is an excellent martial art for those who prefer striking, and helps develop physical strength, stamina, and confidence. There are many forms of karate taught around the world today, including Shotokan, Shorin-ryu, Chito-Ryu, Goju-Ryu, and Kyokushinkai. If you’re looking for a way to help your child learn enthusiasm, fitness, discipline, and manners while having a lot of fun, consider the kids karate program at JMAC. We have an incredible core of talented instructors who have made it their business to inspire kids to be their best. Read more about our karate program for kids.


Kendo is a sport descended from Japanese swordsmanship. In Kendo, participants wear padded armor and attempt to score points by striking vital points with bamboo swords called "shinai." Practice is fast paced, involves much spirited shouting, and is a lot of fun. The Japanese Martial Arts Center does not offer kendo, but can refer you to a reputable kendo instructor in the area.

Kung Fu

Kung Fu is a Chinese martial art that actually includes many sub-styles. Like karate, kung fu involves strikes, kicks, and blocks, but also includes many esoteric motions that can be applied to take down or otherwise defeat an opponent. Kung fu often appeals to imaginative people because of the many references to animal forms, but it is also a very challenging and practical martial art.

MMA (Mixed Martial Arts)

MMA (mixed martial arts) to a modern competition-based collection of techniques. Most MMA schools teach striking as well as grappling. Although not a traditional martial art - and thus lacking many of the character development and spiritual aspects of ancient Asian arts - MMA is nevertheless a fantastic form of exercise and a lot of fun. Because many MMA fighters have employed judo and jujutsu successfully, the Japanese Martial Arts Center offers private instruction to top-level competitors as well as occasional workshops for our members.

Tae Kwon Do

Tae Kwon Do is the Korean counterpart to Japanese karate. As a striking art, it includes punches, kicks, and blocks, but typically Tae Kwon Do emphasizes more kicking than does karate. Competition (usually for points rather than full contact) is very common among Tae Kwon Do practitioners. It is an excellent form of exercise, but seems more susceptible to commercialization than more traditional arts such as aikido and iaido.

Tai Chi

Tai Chi is another form of Chinese martial art. It is usually taught with slow, controlled movements and deep stances. There are many health benefits associated with Tai Chi, including strong bones, cardiovascular health, and calmness.

Getting Started in Martial Arts in Ann Arbor

If you are considering taking up martial arts, you will find many superb opportunities in and around Ann Arbor, including outlying cities such as Brighton, Canton, Howell, Northville, and Plymouth. Students from the University of Michigan, Eastern Michigan University, Washtenaw Community College, Cleary College, and even Michigan State University have supplemented their education with martial arts and found that the physical activity helps them concentrate on their studies. We think the Japanese Martial Arts Center offers the best programs in Michigan, but we’re interested in people who are willing to work hard and do what it takes to become truly accomplished. We encourage you to look around to find the martial arts club or school that best meets your needs.