How and why choose to learn a combat sport?

Among the sports activities that are on the rise with young children and the youngest, there are combat sports. Their popularity comes in part from the advent of MMA or Mixed Martial Arts. We can also talk about certain martial art films in which the reputation of actors such as Donnie Yen, Jet Li, Jackie Chan, Tony Jaa, Michael Jay White, Scott Adkins, etc. is not to be done anymore. In addition, there are such a multitude of combat sports in which one could learn that it is difficult to choose.

What is a combat sport ?

Above all, it is important to define what a combat sport is. It is a form of competition in which two participants or fighters compete. As a sport, it is limited in time, takes place over a demarcated area and obeys certain rules that an arbitrator strives to enforce. It is notably forbidden to wear certain blows (knocking under the belt, pulling the hair, etc.). While other techniques are favored and assign points that may allow the winner to be designated. Otherwise, the loser is the one who gives up, leaves the ring or loses consciousness (KO).

It should also be emphasized that a combat sport aims to guarantee a minimum of the physical integrity of combatants. Thus, in addition to prohibiting a few shots depending on its nature, combat sport can allow some form of protection. For example: a tooth guard, shin guards, gloves, shell, helmet, etc.

In short, by definition, a combat sport is moving away from what a real confrontation is.

What is the difference between combat sport, self-defense and martial arts ?

For many people, there is no difference between these three categories. And yet there are indeed differences between them.

Combat sports

Regarding combat sport, we have already seen that it is practiced in a sports setting or during a competition. Its purpose is therefore to win victories. In the case of non-competitors, it is a question of measuring the extent of its progress or of testing what they have learned by facing another fighter. The goal is only sporty and not to learn to defend yourself against a potential aggressor. However, this does not mean that a sports fighter cannot react accordingly in the event of an assault. Also, it should be borne in mind that some codified combat techniques can be very dangerous to use on the street. Certain catches can seriously injure the assailant or leave the vulnerable practitioner to a group attack.

Combat sports bring together several disciplines, including:

  • the MMA,
  • free struggle,
  • judo,
  • boxing
    • French boxing or savate,
    • English boxing,
    • American boxing or full contact,
    • Thai boxing,
  • kickboxing,
  • fencing,
  • etc.

Martial arts

Etymologically, the term “martial art” comes from two words: art that refers to aesthetics or skill and martial that relates to war. Indeed, according to Chinese documents over the age of 2,000, the military trained to master combat techniques with bare hands. The latter would then have spread in civilian life. Other stories relate that the origin of oriental martial arts dates back to a Shaolin temple. Anyway, there is general agreement that martial arts are a philosophy of life. They even go so far as to instill several principles, including respect, humility, righteousness and self-control. In some cases, the practice of martial arts is close to spirituality. To this must be added that the presence of an adversary is not necessary to work the katas in the Japanese martial arts and taos in the Chinese martial arts.

The disciplines that can be found in martial arts are:

  • Taï chi or Taiji Quan,
  • Aikido,
  • The Kalarippayattu,
  • The Wing Chun,
  • and the Jeet Kune Do …


Regarding self-defense or self-defense, it consists in learning to neutralize an attacker. In practice, all the techniques necessary to defend oneself are used. Among other things, in self-defense, you can call on movements from combat sport or martial arts. It is also possible to use different objects available immediately (bottle, taser, stick, etc.).

If martial arts meet an aesthetic, technical need and demand a fair fight, self-defense responds more to a need for survival. Thus, it aims to stop the aggression as quickly as possible. In short, blows to the belt, fingers to eyes and bites are allowed if they can help survive. Things also prohibited in combat sports. Furthermore, resorting to the art of personal defense requires that one be in a situation of self-defense. It is imperative to gauge the situation well before resolving a conflict with violence. Legally, the response must also be proportional to the attack. On the other hand, self-defense training requires rigorous compliance with safety rules.

The commonalities between martial arts and combat sports

Combat sports and martial arts still share commonalities. First, each of the categories cannot be learned on its own. Indeed, the presence of a coach, a teacher or a master is necessary to learn and progress more quickly. It goes without saying that the instructor or the master is a person who has several years of experience in the practice of a given discipline.

Some martial arts include a training combat phase like combat sports. That is to say, two students embark on a friendly duel to put into practice what they have learned. Of course, as in competition, safety rules are established and must be respected. Combat sports and martial arts also share a common value: self-exceeding. Practitioners are indeed looking to become a better version of themselves. You should know that if values like respect for superiors, humility and patience are very present in martial arts, they are also present in combat sports. However, they are more tacit in the latter category.

Finally, we must talk about the fact that certain combat sports such as kick-boxing have a belt graduation system. A system that is frequently found in martial arts. Opponents also greet before committing.

The approach and practice of discipline

At this level, it is also not obvious to classify certain disciplines. Indeed, certain martial arts such as karate and taekwondo are practiced in competition and are even Olympic sports. In fact, a point system is used to designate a winner in these disciplines. On the other hand, the latter offer katas in order to reproduce the gestures exactly. It is therefore legitimate to ask the question if they constitute combat sports or martial arts. Under these conditions, these disciplines belong to both categories.

Note then that it is not discipline that defines membership in one or both categories. Rather, it is about how discipline is practiced. Indeed, a single discipline can be taught in various ways depending on the instructor or the master. It can for example focus learning on the moral, competitive or physical aspect. Nor is it uncommon for the approach to differ in the same club. Some practitioners may prefer traditional culture and body expression. While others favor the sports side and competition.

The advantages of practicing combat sport

Benefits of combat sports on body and mind

Like all physical activities, combat sports allow you to work and maintain your physique. In fact, such an activity causes all parts of the body to work, to gain strength, endurance, flexibility and agility. A session also burns nearly 150 calories on average. In addition, it learns to coordinate its movements in rhythm. Obviously, playing a combat sport reduces the risk of illness and increases the lifespan. However, the benefits of combat sport are not limited to physical conditions.

Indeed, the practice of combat sport also provides advantages over the mind. This allows, among other things, to gain self-confidence or to feel good about yourself. It must also be said that hitting in a sandbag, bear paws or a boxing ball helps to calm the nerves. It’s just as effective at removing stress or chasing depression. However, you must avoid having a sudden release on a training partner. An accident could happen and instead of a feeling of decompression, remorse and guilt will appear.

Other advantages of practicing combat sport

Another good reason to play a combat sport is to meet new people. Making a friend is done in all simplicity in a club. Just ask one of the other practitioners for advice or help to work a sequence. It may also be done on its own. In addition, the atmosphere in a sports club is often good. We see people of all age groups, all sex and sometimes from another country.

Then there are also the different values of honor, self-control and respect that can be instilled in students. In any case, getting into a combat sport learns to be courageous. In a collective sport, such as football or basketball, you can rest on your team’s teammates to turn around a situation or progress. In a combat sport, it is above all about yourself that you have to count. However, the feeling of belonging to a group is also present. But the most certain advantage when practicing combat sport is that you are able to defend yourself in the event of aggression.

Why register my child for a combat sport ?

It goes without saying that a child can be enrolled in combat sport to take advantage of its many benefits. There are received ideas that such physical activity should target a specific type of child or physique. The truth is quite different. It doesn’t matter whether a child is well built, big, small, boy or girl. Indeed, the diversity of combat disciplines makes it possible to find one that is adapted to your little one and that pleases it.

It is a very good idea to enroll your child in combat sport if he is full of energy. He will indeed be able to let off steam at heart in a secure environment. It is also beneficial for working on its concentration, personal and intellectual development outside the school curriculum. On the other hand, there is no reason to fear that your child will come home with a black eye. The training followed by the children is adapted to their physical strength and their age. However, make sure that the instructor holds a patent (state or federal). In addition, before making them fight (always by focusing on security), they are given time to familiarize themselves with safety rules and to protect themselves properly. Which usually starts after the age of 10.

There is also nothing to worry about your cherub turning into a little bully. Because his instructor will teach him that the discipline he has chosen has rules that must be respected. One of these rules is not to use techniques learned outside the club. If necessary, he will be banned from the structure. Eventually, only knowing that he is able to defend himself in the event of harassment will give him confidence. In addition, these are not just the rules that must be respected, it must also be given to other children and to its instructor.

How to choose your combat sport ?

The easiest way to choose a combat sport for your child is to ask him what he wants to do. Some of these sports favor the use of one part of the body more than others. For example, for taekwondo, it is the legs that dominate. For English boxing, these are the arms. However, there are also more balanced combat sports such as French boxing and kick-boxing. Also ask yourself if your child prefers mixed disciplines mixing feet, fists, foreclosures and projections to percussion or gripping disciplines.

Children are also simply attracted to outfits like kimonos. This type of uniform makes them feel like they’re already a pro. Not to mention the belt which changes color as you go up in rank. If it is this formal aspect that attracts your child the most, judo could be indicated for him. In fact, this sport is known to be the most suitable for young children. In addition, judo develops all the muscles and allows you to spend yourself considerably. Literally, judo means “way to flexibility”. This combat sport therefore relaxes the body, learns to remain in balance, to fall without hurting oneself and to position your back well. In general, defense techniques are put into practice from the age of 6 years. These consist of projections and joint keys. Judo also learns to remain self-master. But before that, the child is in the early stages of discipline and safety rules.

Karate is another discipline that provides a good balance and works all parts of the body. In short, you develop your muscles, your endurance, your coordination and your concentration. In addition, karate mixes attack and defense techniques and instills discipline, the concept of peace and respect for authority. His practice requires wearing a helmet and a tooth guard to avoid incidents. If you are also interested and you are looking for parent-child activity, you can register at the same time as your little one.

Find the right club for her child

When the child has chosen the combat sport he wants to do, all that remains is to find a good club. The first thing to do is to verify that the professor is indeed a patent holder. However, you also need to make sure that he is able to teach your cherub something. So, accompany him to the club and gauge the general atmosphere.

If the club offers a free course, this will make this task easier for you. The explanations seem clear ? It’s a good sign, otherwise go your way. On the other hand, if after a first experience, your child does not give the impression of having had a good time, it is more than likely that he will drop out of school. He might also want to do it if he realizes that he is not progressing as fast as the others. In this case, it is up to the instructor and you to reassure him. Let him know that everyone is moving at their own pace. But also that when you do something with passion, you always end up reaching your goal.

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