Children participating in martial arts in England 2010-2018

The share of children participating in martial arts is increasing. Among children aged 5 to 10, it ranks at place six for most popular sports participated in on a monthly basis. As for adults, participation also increased to approximately 232 thousand people, who participate in martial arts at least twice per month as of 2018.

Football and swimming most popular among children

Half of 5 to 10 year old children go swimming and about a third play football on a monthly basis. As they grow older, this shifts to roughly half of 11 to 15 year olds playing football and close to third swimming. In this age group they also get more involved in a variety of other sports, such as gymnastics, basketball, dodgeball, rounders, rugby and plenty other types.

Competitive sports

As of 2018, approximately 72.1 percent of 5 to 15 year olds have participated in a competitive sport in or outside of school. The setting in which 11 to 15 year old children take part in competitive sports is most prominently in physical education or games lessons, followed by organized groups at school, a sports team or as a member of a sports club.

Share of children participating in martial arts in the last 4 weeks in England from 2010/11 to 2017/18

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Release date

August 2017


United Kingdom (England)

Survey time period

2010/11 to 2017/18**

Number of respondents


Age group

5-15 years

Method of interview

Face-to-face interview

Supplementary notes

Martial arts includes judo, karate, taekwando and other martial arts.
* Previous base:
2017/18: 5-10 year olds n= 909; 10-15 year olds n = 671; 2014/15: 5-10 year olds: n= 1104; 10-15 year olds n=721.
2013/14 survey: 5-10 year olds: n= 1233; 10-15 year olds n=786.
2012/13: 5-10 year olds: n= 1136; 10-15 year olds n=801.
2011/12: 5-10 year olds: n= 1040; 10-15 year olds n=771.
2010/11: 5-10 year olds: n= 1590; 10-15 year olds n=1116.
2009/10: 5-10 year olds: n= 1809; 10-15 year olds n=1350.
2008/09: 5-10 year olds: n= 1476; 10-15 year olds n=1146.

** Survey periods run April to March.

The source provides the following additional information: "Data for 5-10 year olds relates to out of school activities only. Data for 11-15 years olds relates to activities undertaken both in and out of school."

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Statistics on "Children's sports participation in the United Kingdom (UK) "

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