Martial Arts Games For Children

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Martial Arts Games For Children

Here are some games used at martial arts schools in order to add some variety and/or to give children a reward/break after a successful training session.

For additional information & ideas for martial arts instructors, please visit the section focused on Martial Arts Instructor Tips.

Martial Arts Games for Kids

  • Tape balloons to pads & practice dummies in order to test a kid's kicking accuracy. Kids like to hear things pop!
  • Stack a number of practice shields on top of each other. Then place a small ball or hacky sack on top and they must kick off the ball/sack without knocking over the pads. Great for teaching accuracy.
  • Similar to the suggestion above - Instructors can place a bunch of practice pads together & the kids must jump over and break a board. Keep building the pile higher & higher until only one person (the winner) can jump over & break the board. Use plastic re-breakable boards (versus wood boards) in order to save money.
  • Team contests where they must knock over kicking dummies with back kicks, flying side kicks, etc. Team who hits the dummy to the ground the most wins.
  • Each kid has a number and are separated into two teams (on opposite sides of the school). Instructors call out a number and the appropriate kid must run, kick a practice dummy (in the middle of the floor) and run back to their team. Supposedly teaches speed & concentration. However, in reality, kids just like hitting things.
  • "Tail" grabbing or flag sparring contests. Hang a spare belt, etc. around the belt on each kid's back. Then let two kids face off and the first person to pull out the tail of his/her opponent wins. Helps teach self-defense, grappling skills and footwork… as well as being lots of fun.
  • Balance contests. Have them stand on one foot with their eyes closed. If they fall, put their foot down or open their eyes, they are out. Last person standing wins.
  • Blocking contests. Have children practice their skills by blocking random strikes (i.e. with a high block, low block, etc.) from padded "blocker" sticks. Person who blocks the most strikes before getting hit is the winner.
  • Conditioning exercises can be modified also to entertain younger students. For example, martial arts schools use bear crawl races to "hide" strength and conditioning exercises.
  • Technique memorization. You can either shout out a crazy series of kicks, self-defenses, etc. and they must execute without any mistakes.
  • Clothes Pegs. Clip a clothes peg on the student's uniform. Students cannot strike but they can parry/block. Students must get their opponent's peg without losing their own. Works on improving basic sparring movement and blocking skills. It is also great to tire students out. Each "match" usually lasts less then 30 seconds.
  • Counting game. This teaches the children how to count to 10 in Japanese and is a good filler game. Each number has an action or word association. Ichi - everyone bends and scratches an imaginary itch on their legs. Ni - sounds like 'knee' so touch your knees. San - sounds a bit like 'Son' in English everyone points to a boy in the class. She - sounds like 'she' in English so point to a girl. Go - kids run fast on the spot or run to and from a designated point. Roche - Make one hand into a fist and put it firmly into the other hand … the fist represents a 'rock' being placed into your hand. Sitch - Sounds like 'stitch' make imaginary stitching action in the air. Hutch - sounds like 'hut' make your hands into a roof shape above your head representing the roof of a hut. Ku - put hands around your mouth and make a cooing noise like a pigeon makes. Ju - sounds a bit like 'shoe' hold your nose and point to a shoe in the room. Run through this 2-3 times then call out random Japanese numbers and the kids have to do the correct action.
  • Sensei Says. Elimination game. Works just like 'Simon Says'. The teacher calls out a technique (head block, stomach punch, sumo stance etc) and the kids have to do the move but only if preceded by 'Sensei Says'. If someone moves without the instruction being preceded by 'Sensei Says' or they do another technique they are out. Last kid in is the winner.

Martial Arts - Flag Sparring


  1. Taekwondo, Games for Taekwondo Classes,, Added - 02/13/14
  2. Red Dragons Karate Club UK, Clothing Peg Training, added 30/03/15
  3. Notes added by Llewena 06/24/2015

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