Will Martial Arts Help My Child Cope with Divorce?

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Divorce can be difficult for all parties, especially the children. But it happens to the best of us, creating a need for outlets to help the kids cope. Many divorcing parents ask, “will martial arts help my child cope with divorce?”

Here’s what I’ve seen:

Martial arts can definitely help children cope with divorce. Children develop behavioral skills that assist them in processing the challenging feelings about the divorce. But it also gives them a healthy outlet for pent-up feelings of anger and gives them a new friend network.

Divorce can be a highly distressing and overwhelming event for children. Some children blame themselves for the breakdown of a marriage and feel guilty about it.

Others may act it out, and academic achievement may suffer as a result.

When a child witnesses conflict, it causes anxiety and cognitive dissonance, which often leads to them siding with one parent over the other to alleviate their discomfort or turning to unhealthy outlets to vent their feelings.

This article will explain how martial arts can assist children in coping with divorce. Sit back, relax, and let your eyes do all the work.

Is martial arts a good way to release anger?

Martial arts is an excellent way to release anger as it is done in a controlled setting with expert supervision. Martial arts practice allows for a healthy release of anger with minimal risk of injury to the person or anyone else.

It is more common than you might expect for new students to wonder if martial arts can help with anger management difficulties.

It may appear counterintuitive that “learning to fight” might actually moderate one’s temper and reduce one’s tendency to engage in physical altercations, yet it is true.

Anger is a common and healthy human emotion.

The issue arises when a person is unable to control it. It can result in devastation, problems with personal and professional relationships, and a decline in your quality of life.

It is critical to learn how to regulate anger before it explodes into outward rage if one wishes to live a productive and peaceful life.

When you bring to bear emotions and channel them in activities, you disband those emotions. 

Activities, like mastering your martial arts postures or channeling your negative energy into a perfectly formed kick or punch on the training bags, help melt away those feelings before they take control.

Furthermore, martial arts can develop your ability to achieve inner calm and patience, allowing you to be prompted to anger less frequently.

While discipline and self-control help you manage your reactions to typical emotions, martial arts can also help you manage those feelings. 

In a recent article of mine, I answered the question of whether Karate will help your children’s behavior. Karate (and many other martial arts) will have a huge impact on a child’s development and ability to regulate emotions.

Click that link to get the details here on my website.

How will martial arts help a child deal with divorce?

Martial arts provide a safe outlet to release the intense feelings children develop when experiencing divorce. They may feel responsible for the divorce or feel anger and resentment towards one or both parents. As they improve in martial arts, it boosts their self-esteem, which can be damaged by divorce.

Martial arts require intense concentration and focus, which help to distract from wallowing in blame and self-pity.

Divorce is a significant life adjustment for children. If step-parents are eventually involved, they will need to adjust to new schedules, living situations, and perhaps extended family relationships.

These changes may appear insignificant to adults, yet divorce causes numerous grief sentiments in children who desire things to return to as they were as much as possible.

And, without a doubt, a child is experiencing a wide variety of emotions at the time. 

They may not understand what these feelings are, but they do feel them, even though they are unfamiliar to them, and if not handled properly, the child may be scarred for life.

Rather than allowing children to sit around moping and wallowing in their pessimism or instigating playground confrontations to release their frustrations, martial arts provide a safe and controlled outlet for those feelings.

Your child is likely to burn off a lot of their pent-up hostile or worrying energy after getting some excellent exercise and performing some kicks and Judo throws.

Will martial arts help my child deal with anxiety?

Martial arts that have a spiritual component will help children deal with anxiety. Not only will the breathwork help, but martial arts gives a physical outlet, and the endorphins created during cardiovascular activity have been proved to help with sadness and anxiety.

A recent study published in Frontiers in Psychology compared the mental health effects of 20 Karate training sessions to basic physical exercise training or cognitive training.

Only the Karate group improved in terms of emotional well-being.

Speaking of anxiety, I discussed this in a recent article where I got into a lot more detail about children, anxiety, and martial arts. I also mentioned the best martial arts for kids with a lot of anxiety.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

Now above, I saw “martial arts that have a spiritual component”. Most true martial arts do, especially those of eastern origins such as those from China, Japan, or Korea.

But some systems that are really just self-defense programs, such as Krav Maga, sometimes get mistaken for martial arts. So look for a traditional martial art that isn’t just about eye gouges and groin kicks.

I’m talking about something like:

  • Aikido
  • Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
  • Taekwondo
  • Karate
  • Kung Fu

Why do parents put their kids in martial arts?

Most parents put their children in martial arts hoping to find a physical outlet that can also help the child better regulate their behavior.

Yes, some parents do it just because their friends do it. But let’s review some of the top reasons in greater detail:

1. Self-Control

Martial arts training provides outstanding value to parents in terms of self-discipline.

Parents value the personal restraint to address and de-escalate problems orally without physical confrontation, in addition to having the discipline to work hard at physical training.

It is said that self-discipline prevents children from inappropriately using their martial arts skills.

2. Self-defense

Self-defense is a key skill that many students want when enrolling in martial arts programs.

Parents are looking for an activity that will increase their children’s physical fitness and agility.

They also want their children to develop the ability, confidence, and spirit to manage themselves in times of conflict or need.

In a recent article of mine, which you will find on my website, I talked about the best martial arts for teenage girls.

After all, teenage girls (I have 2) face some enormous challenges, so some martial arts are better to help them deal with their specific challenges.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

3. Preventing Bullying

Bullying is another factor.

It’s a severe issue that can have a negative impact on a child’s self-esteem and future, including physical pain, self-harm, and even death.

Despite huge gains in public awareness, this social problem has yet to be eradicated. Many schools provide anti-bullying programs to help pupils, which has garnered parents’ gratitude.

4. Setting and Achieving Goals

Parents appreciate the process of goal-setting and achievement that is inherent in martial arts instruction.

Parents appreciate the belt-testing cycle that comes with rank growth in the martial arts. Setting brief, attainable goals and then measuring performance is relevant to most parents.

What is the best martial art for kids whose parents are divorcing?

The best martial arts for children experiencing divorce are Aikido, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, or Wing Chun (one of the many forms of Kung Fu). These arts have an excellent balance between physical movements and a spiritual philosophy that can help them deal with challenging emotions.

Kids learn martial arts for a variety of reasons.

Some take it to learn self-defense to resist bullies. Others are motivated by a lack of discipline or a need for more structure in their life. Others because they are terrible at baseball.

However, selecting a martial art for your child necessitates some knowledge about the different martial arts and their specific benefits.

Is the intention to teach them self-defense?

Assist them in developing self-esteem? Impose discipline? There are numerous advantages of teaching martial arts to children, but determining which ones will help your child is critical.

Many martial arts are not recommended at young ages, such as Tai Chi (because it requires a lot of patience, which children do not have at that age).

But ones that focus almost exclusively on self-defense, such as kickboxing, Muay Thai, or Krav Maga (more of a self-defense system than a martial art), aren’t ideal for young kids either.

That’s even more true for kids experiencing divorce.

I have a recent article on my website that talks specifically about the advantages of Karate. Karate, of course, is one of the martial arts to first become popular in the US. But is it the best for kids?

Just click that link to read it on my site.

10 Reasons You Should Enroll Your Child in Martial Arts (Tips for Parents)


At the beginning of this article, we discussed whether martial arts is a good way to release anger.

After this, we then discussed how martial arts helps a child deal with divorce, following with if martial arts helps a child deal with anxiety.

We then studied why parents put their kids in martial arts and then rounded up with a discussion about the best martial arts for kids whose parents are divorcing.

Image by Ionas Nicolae from Pixabay and Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

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