New research has found that British parents are signing their children up to martial arts in order to protect them from the threat of bullying. Meanwhile, it was found that parents are more likely to sign their sons up than their daughters.

A man teaches martial arts

A man teaches martial arts

The team behind conducted the poll as part of ongoing research into people’s views towards martial arts.

Initially, all respondents were asked if they had ever signed their child up to martial arts classes of any kind, to which 22% said they had. When asked what the main reason behind signing their child up for martial arts was, 61% of the parents wanted their children to be able to protect themselves. 12% said it was to give them more confidence.

Respondents were asked “Would you encourage your child to retaliate if they were hit?” 58% said they would encourage their child to retaliate. However, 92% of respondents said they would never encourage their child to hit another child first, even if provoked.

All respondents with both a male and a female child were asked whether they’d be more likely to sign their son or their daughter up for martial arts classes. More than half (53%) of the relevant respondents said that they would be more likely to sign their sons up than their daughters, while 30% said they’d be just as likely to sign up their daughters as their sons and 17% said their daughter would take priority.

During the research, it was found that the most popular form of martial arts is karate, with 54% of parents signing their kids up for this form of the discipline. In second place was judo, with 20%, and kickboxing was the third most popular martial art for parents to sign their children up to (10%). When asked how old their child was when they first signed them up to a martial art, the majority (52%) said they were between six and 10 years old, while 30% said ‘aged five or under’ and 18% said they were aged 11 or older.

Finally, all respondents were asked if they were encouraged by their own parents to do martial arts when they were younger, to which 12% said ‘yes’, that they did do martial arts themselves as a child; meaning that it is rising in popularity among children today. The majority of these respondents (92%) no longer participated in martial arts, but 62% of these said that they wish they had continued.

A spokesperson for commented:

“Martial arts is a great way to protect yourself from a number of threats, and it reaches far beyond self-defence. There are many benefits to someone’s mental wellbeing when participating in martial arts too.

“Martial arts is inclusive for all newcomers, so parents shouldn’t prioritise boys over girls just because of the stereotypes that come with being a boy. The old saying ‘boys will be boys’ isn’t necessarily appropriate in the current climate and self defence is important for all genders. Martial arts is not just a great way to protect yourself, but it is a great way to meet new people and stay fit.”

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