What is the Best Martial Art for Teenage Girls?


Everyone knows martial arts are good for self-confidence and boosting self-esteem. And those are things almost every teenage girl needs. But what is the best martial art for teenage girls?

Here’s what I know from working with my older 2 daughters and countless others:

Krav Maga and Jiu-jitsu are two of the best martial arts for teenage girls because it helps boost their self-confidence, increases strength, flexibility, and awareness, and trains them to defend themselves against attackers who may bigger or stronger than they are.

But, there are a lot of martial arts to be explored depending on what you and your daughters want and need.

Will your teenage daughters become overly aggressive if they were to learn a martial art? Are they likely to be gravely injured? Is it even something that girls can or should do?

Is it true that some martial arts can help enhance self-esteem? Should they learn one or two martial arts so that they can defend themselves if they have to?

Lots of questions. Luckily I have 2 middle school daughters and all 3 of us have done a lot of martial arts. Let’s get into it.

Is Jiu-jitsu good for teenage girls?

Yes, Jiu-jitsu is very beneficial for teenage girls. Jiu-jitsu provides teenage girls techniques to help them defend themselves against attackers who are taller, heavier, and stronger than they are. 

Many believe that girls panic more readily than boys. This is probably true, and it can be a huge disadvantage if your girl is ever attacked. Why?

One of the reasons the attacker often has an upper-hand is that the person being attacked is often too afraid and paralyzed with fear that it makes them easy prey.

In fact, a lot of attackers actually count on it.

So, they take advantage of that state of confusion to quickly overpower their prey. And, they’re often the winners because they are attacking folks who are not trained.

A girl that’s trained is not prey.

With the benefit of training, she can remain calm when attacked, which reduces or eliminates fear & hesitation. The attacker is likely to be overconfident, seeing as they’re attacking a girl.

Still, because she’s calm and equipped with many techniques, she can quickly grab them, injure them or overpower the attacker by taking them to the ground (and then either running away or inflicting more harm).

Jiu-jitsu is essentially about strategy above brute strength.

It’s a way of learning how to use an opponent’s power against them. So, even if an opponent has the upper hand, a practitioner of Jiu-Jitsu could trounce them.

Many who attack girls would try to get them on the ground. This would be a costly mistake for anyone who attacks a girl who’s well-trained in Jiu-Jitsu because grappling and fighting on the ground is where practitioners excel.

Is 15 too old to start martial arts?

While it’s ideal to start martial arts at a younger age, it’s not too late to start at 15. The biggest challenges with starting at 15 will be overcoming self-esteem and body image issues that may have already formed.

But it’s a good age because the girl’s body is undergoing rapid growth and is almost fully developed.  In fact, one could argue that at this age, the body is stronger and the mind is more focused.

At this age, a girl is gradually growing an attractive young adult. That can naturally increase her chances of unwanted attention or even sexual assault. So ANY training, or starting late, is better than no training.

We all know that small children tend to learn many things faster and better than teenagers and adults.

Children possess a playful element, which helps them learn, but that’s often in short supply (if not non-existent) as we get older.

A 15-year-old is no longer a child.

So that implies that apart from the playful and fun element to learning a martial art, she’ll also appreciate the seriousness. She’ll know that it could be a matter of life and death.

It’s actually a great age- not too young and not too old.

So, it’s not too late for her to start learning how to defend herself. In fact, martial arts encompass self-defense, but they are a lot more than that.

They are a skill one can leverage through one’s life.

Will martial arts help my teenage daughter with anxiety?

Martial arts can significantly help teenage girls manage stress and anxiety. As a teenage girl becomes more proficient in the martial art, they’ll have fewer fears, and the feelings of anxiety would be mitigated if not totally eliminated.

Most martial arts are about a lot more than self-defense; they’re also about discipline, character development, calmness, and mental fitness.

Martial arts enable practitioners to divert attention away from their troubles and worries.

While practicing or engaged in a fight, one must concentrate on what’s at hand and stay in the present moment. Being mindful is known to be highly helpful in coping with anxieties, as endorphins and cannabinoids are released as they practice various techniques.

Teen girls gradually learn that the anxious states are actually a function of how they’re channeling their energy. They’ll know from experience that they can consciously shift their awareness away from anxieties and channel it to what they’ll like to achieve.

A clinical psychologist, Brad Stennerson, Ph.D., who is a judoka himself, explains that: “It improves self-confidence because you’re learning a new skill and feels assertive. That’s helpful for anxiety, in which we overestimate perceived threats and underestimate our capabilities.”

Which martial art will help my daughter’s self-confidence?

Those martial arts that are most effective in boosting a daughter’s self-confidence are Jiu-Jitsu, Judo, Karate, and Kung Fu. Most martial arts help with self-confidence, but especially those that transcend self-defense and include training on being mentally fit.

The focus of these martial art forms is not merely on how to fight but also on the practitioner’s holistic development.

Jiu-Jitsu is a good example. Like the other forms, it has a set of techniques she will have to learn and hone over time. At first, she might be a tad apprehensive, wondering if she’ll be able to pull it off.

But, in the dojo, she’ll be receiving great support and challenges too. Gradually, she’ll begin to have greater faith in herself as she realizes that she’s actually grasping the techniques and can use them to defend herself.

There’s also a ranking system, through which she’ll go through, one at a time.

This is symbolic, highly powerful, and concrete proof of the fact that she’s no longer the timid person who was plagued by low self-esteem.

As she becomes more devoted, she’ll realize that she’s more than what she thought she was, and this could have immense positive effects on all facets of her life.

Is Krav Maga good for teenage girls?

Krav Maga is good for teenage girls because it’s truly effective in real fights, and yet, it’s safe when it’s learned properly.

But you might be thinking, is Krav Maga not supposed to be aggressive and dangerous? The truth be told, it is.

However, there’s no need to worry because the solution is to let the girls train in reputable gyms with certified instructors. These instructors are highly trained and often help to tweak the training to fit the individual, and they could also provide mats with more padding to ensure that falls are not injurious.

Of course, they also watch the girls during the practice sessions to ensure that they’re not out to harm each other.

Despite its reputation for being lethal, practitioners are encouraged, just as in other martial arts, that their skills are only meant to be used as a last resort.

In addition to Krav Maga, some girls might want to explore one or two other forms of self-defense, such as BJJ or Aikido. Luckily I do a detailed comparison of both in a recent article of mine.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Conclusion

We’ve explored a great deal in this article.

We looked at what’s the best martial art for girls, how martial art can help with anxiety and low self-esteem,  and whether Krav Maga and Jiu-Jitsu are good for girls.

I have 2 middle school daughters and all 3 of us have trained extensively over the past 7 years. Currently, only my middle daughter is training. But I’ve seen huge benefits in both of them over the years in terms of boosting confidence, improving strength and flexibility, and overall awareness of their surroundings.

But now that they are in middle school, I can tell you they need those skills now more than ever!

Jeff Campbell

Jeff Campbell was Academy Director for a large martial arts school for over 7 years, and has trained extensively in a variety of martial arts including Brazilian Jiujitsu, different styles of Karate, the Russian Martial Art of Systema, Aikido, and much more.

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