Your Karate Kid will get a kick out of these shows and stories. Even the funny ones deliver key messages on building self-esteem and standing up to bullies.
By the Kids’ Media Experts at SmartFeed
Imagine this rainy-day scenario: Your lovable, active child, who is normally bouncing off the walls when cooped up indoors, instead is dressed in a crisp, belted uniform, standing tall on a mat, in a straight line, with a dozen other boys and girls their age. Your child proceeds through the class exercises with focus, enthusiasm, and discipline. Not there yet? Here’s another scenario for your next rainy day: Your lovable, active child cozies up on the couch to read a good book or watch a movie or TV show about kids like these. Kids who are martial artists and use their skills to overcome evil in the form of bullies, bad guys, or simply self-doubt.
Below is a hand-picked list of movies, TV shows, and books about martial arts that may inspire kids to give this popular activity a try … and that will endlessly entertain students who already are working on earning their next belt or sash.
Martial Arts Books for Kids
Tales of Bunjitsu Bunny
This beginners’ chapter book shares stories of a bunny martial arts student. She is strong and good at solving problems.
Phoenix: The Five Ancestors Out of the Ashes, Book 1
The unusual combination of martial arts, bicycle racing, and Chinese mythology come together in this book — the first installment in a new adventure series featuring well-balanced characters and strong life lessons.
The heroine of this fantasy is a Korean-American girl uprooted to and transplanted in Korea. She battles mythical beings with martial arts and archery. This first book in a series is sure to leave readers wanting more.
Martial Arts Movies for Kids
Kung Fu Panda 2
Filled with its familiar entertaining cast of characters, this sequel is top notch. Kids will be mesmerized by all of the martial arts action supplied by this well-trained team, and parents will appreciate the added notes of emotion and history.
Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior
While running for homecoming queen, Wendy learns of her legacy as a warrior against evil spirits. Wendy shows that balancing demands of the present along with her heritage is a worthy pursuit.
This enjoyable, funny film offers a delightful mashup of martial arts and soccer in a format that’s fun for the whole family.
The Karate Kid
This classic original film is still the best of its series. In this coming-of-age tale, teenager Daniel learns how to mature, make friends, and defend himself thanks to the discipline of karate and the guidance of a demanding and eccentric (but endearing) instructor.
Martial Arts TV Shows for Kids
Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness
Po and his crew are back, waging martial arts battles with villains … and prevailing. Po is a great role model, showing that his uniqueness also makes him both heroic and worthy of respect.
Avatar: The Last Airbender
This terrific animated martial arts/fantasy/mythology series is entertaining for the whole family.
The Legend of Korra
An inspiring heroine is at the heart of this excellent animated sequel to Avatar: The Last Airbender. As she trains for an important role, she learns important lessons about herself and her family’s history.
Here is a great action-packed series, led by a fierce female warrior defending her family from evil. Each episode culminates in sword battles and martial arts fighting, so keep that in mind before sharing this series with younger viewers.