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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

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Why Should Your Kid Experience Martial Arts?

Why Should Your Kid Experience Martial Arts?

Does your son or daughter need more discipline, focus, and activity in their life?

Is your child interested in martial arts and you want to learn more?

Not sure about the benefits of kids martial arts in Ann Arbor or your community?

Picture an after-school activity with countless benefits for the body, mind, and behavior. Martial arts checks all these boxes. Among all the options for kids' activities today, martial arts may have one of the widest range of benefits. Although fitness may be what draws people to the dojo at first, martial arts like kids karate or kids judo help people improve in so many other ways as well. Parents are often impressed by the variety of skills and lessons kids learn in martial arts and are even more impressed when they see these things translate to other areas of life like performance in school, behavior at home, and with focus and the ability to learn .

Ready to learn more? Check out a few of the top benefits your kids can get from martial arts.

9 Benefits of Kids Martial Arts in Ann Arbor

  1. Fitness: every kid needs physical activity in their life. From cardio warm-ups to the strength-based challenges of routines, martial arts will get your kid moving and burning energy. Keeping up with practice at home will enhance these benefits.
  2. Empowerment:: kids gain confidence by learning self-defense moves and mastering skills to advance to new levels. A kid who struggles with bullies can feel more confident learning techniques to avoid a fight; a kid who has struggles academically and/or athletically will feel more confident by focusing on personal growth instead of competition.
  3. Discipline:: training in martial arts requires concentration and focus and there are elements built right in to help kids develop these skills. You'll see discipline reinforced in the moves, uniforms, customs, and attitudes of martial arts. The discipline kids learn in the dojo often positively affects behavior off the mat, too.
  4. Respect:: for their master, instructors, peers, self, others, and for skills they develop, kids learn many forms of respect through martial arts. Respect is often seen as the primary lesson of martial arts, even before the powerful moves that initially attract so many martial artists.
  5. Socialization:: Not only do kids learn how to interact with people respectfully, martial arts practice also gives them the opportunity simply to interact with people who have a similar interest. This can be a huge benefit for a kid who is shy or has a hard time making friends.
  6. No Bench: unlike team sports, kids with better skills and athleticism don't get more playing time than others in martial arts. All kids have the same opportunity to develop and display skills and the same benefits of participating. While there are surely amazing benefits to team sports, many kids will thrive in the martial arts environment with a more individual focus and community setting.
  7. Gender Equality: martial arts are one of the few sports where boys and girls practice together. Although more males participate statistically, there are no rules preventing girls from having the same opportunity as boys. Additionally, with young boys and girls practicing together, they learn first-hand the lessons of respect extend equally to everyone.
  8. Year-round: there's no off-season in martial arts! Your kid will stay active all year and you don't have to worry about retaining skills and lessons over an extended break. Progress will also happen more quickly with year-round practice which is a great incentive for kids who need the motivation to stick with an activity.
  9. Parent Practice: most schools don't have classes with adults and children training simultaneously, but kids and parents can both practice a Japanese martial art at the same facility, potentially even in back-to-back sessions. Practicing together offers the benefit of family bonding and learning from each other.

Experience Kids Martial Arts in Ann Arbor at JMAC

It's easy to see why martial arts have been and continue to be an enchanting and rewarding activity for kids of all ages. And when the benefits and skills of their martial arts seep into other areas of your kid's life, you'll see that the decision to enroll was a great one.

Are you ready to see the benefits of martial arts in your kids? Contact a member of the Japanese Martial Arts Center today. You can start by observing, scheduling private introductory lessons, or just getting a few questions answered by our experienced and passionate staff. And remember, at JMAC your satisfaction is guaranteed. Give us a call today!

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
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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.