Everyone loves being inspired by a good story, especially children. Stories have a way of bringing out the best in us, allowing us to aspire to greater heights when we see characters overcome difficult challenges.
There are movies, books, and stories for just about every walk of life, and karate is no exception. In fact, there are countless karate movies that can inspire and motivate your kids if you’ve recently signed them up for martial arts training at our Fort Collins or Windsor dojo.
Want to get your kids excited about karate and taekwondo? Here are some of our favorite kids’ karate movies and shows:
Avatar: The Last Airbender
To start off, let’s be clear about something — Avatar: The Last Airbender is an animated cartoon TV series. It is not to be confused with Avatar, the movie about blue alien people, or The Last Airbender, which is a live-action adaptation of this show which was extremely poorly received by both fans and critics.
In fact, it would be a major disservice to confuse this show with something else, because this show is as good as it gets for children — while also being well-written enough to appeal to countless adults. This is a show that’s extremely critically acclaimed, and you’ll more than likely love watching it with your little ones.
Avatar: The Last Airbender takes place in a fictional universe where there are four tribes that can each “bend” one of the elements — earth, water, air, and fire, This basically means that have magical fire powers (or air, water, etc), but make no mistake — this is a show that’s very martial-arts focused.
While we won’t give away too much, Avatar: The Last Airbender has it all. Action! Love! Romance! Drama! Wars! Redemption! And through it all, you’ll see amazing fight sequences that will inspire any awestruck child who has become enamored with its lovable characters.
Kung Fu Panda
While this is yet another animated movie that doesn’t even feature humans, there’s a reason why the Kung Fu Panda movies are so beloved by children — they’re just one heck of a good time! Not only that, they do a good job at showcasing the themes of honor, discipline, and self-improvement, which are foundational to just about any martial arts school such as karate and taekwondo.
In a nutshell, the story of Kung Fu Panda is that of an underdog. Po, a fat and lazy panda, is revealed to be the warrior of destiny that is meant to defeat the most dangerous and evil villain in the land. He embarks on a martial arts journey despite the fact that nobody around him believes he could possibly be the right candidate, and what results is a great and heartwarming underdog story.
We sympathize with any parent who has to routinely sit through terrible TV shows and movies because the little tykes like ‘em, and that’s one reason we recommend Kung Fu Panda. While it is undoubtedly aimed towards the younger audience, it’s also entertaining enough in its own right to be watchable for parents.
Kung Fu Panda has a couple of sequels, both of which have also had good critical reception. If you enjoyed the first movie, be sure to check them out!
No kids karate movie list would be complete without Karate Kid. It’s important to remember that there are two different versions of this movie — the 1984 version featuring the iconic Mr. Miyagi, and the 2010 remake featuring Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan.
Some might consider it heretical to say this, but we recommend showing either one to your child (or both, if they’re up for it). While the original Karate Kid is a classic, it does feel a bit dated, and younger kids who aren’t exactly film savants might find it easier to take on to the more contemporary 2010 version.
While there are various differences between the two, the main fabric of the story is generally the same — a wizened martial arts master teaches martial arts to a bullied teenager. The teenager learns the values of respect, self-discipline, and believing in himself, and it culminates into a championship where they face off against their bully in an epic karate match. For a kid who is taking taekwondo classes, there is no better film to get them more excited about their actual lessons, since it is, in fact, about a kid who is going through the same thing.
The original Karate Kid was a phenomenon in its day and it inspired three sequels. Each one is considered to be worse than the last, and we’d firmly categorize these movies as optional viewing. If you want to watch ‘em, that’s fine, but know that there is a considerable dip in quality with each entry. There was also a short-lived animated series, but it never really took off.
So, we mentioned how Karate Kid three sequels, a remake, and an animated cartoon. But did you know that there’s a brand new continuation of Karate Kid that has actually been well-received among fans and critics? That’s right, Cobra Kai is a web TV series made for Youtube Premium that continues the story of the Karate Kid. Don’t let the Youtube branding fool you — this is a fully budgeted show, on par with a Netflix or Amazon Prime original.
Cobra Kai follows the rivalry of the two boys from the original film — Daniel LaRusso, the karate kid himself, and his original bully, Johnny Lawrence. The latter is one of the main characters of the show, playing the sympathetic role of a man who has had a change of heart from being a total jerk in his adolescence. True to the nature of the original film, both men confront their demons and overcome their challenges through the cathartic release of karate.
LaRusso and Lawrence act as friendly rivals in Cobra Kai, each running their own martial arts dojo. But their relationship is much more good-natured this time around, instead of being full-on enemies like they were in their teenage years. There is, of course, a wide cast of children and teenagers who form much of the supporting cast, who act as the students of these two masters.
Cobra Kai is full of heartfelt drama, kick-butt karate action, and surprisingly poignant messaging. If you have enjoyed watching Karate Kid with your children, you may just end up loving Cobra Kai, which is now in its second season.
Kids Karate Training in Fort Collins and Windsor
As much as we love being inspired by legends, myths, and stories, there’s no substitute for getting out there and learning martial arts yourself. And if you’re the type of family who finds inspiration from the heroic characters in the aforementioned movies, you’ll love our kids karate classes in our Fort Collins and Windsor Dojos.
At Thrive Martial Arts, we hold kids karate lessons, along with classes for teenagers and adults. Everyone is welcome here, and whether you’re just signing up your children or going all-in together, you’ll love the experience and the self-improvement that comes with it.
The best part about Thrive is that you don’t have to jump in without knowing what you’re getting into — we offer trial memberships for anyone who wants to test the waters first. Are you ready to become a real-life embodiment of your favorite martial arts masters? Sign up for our trial membership today, and be sure to contact us if you have any questions!