Kids Martial Arts Classes in Madison

Learning self-defense is as important a life skill as learning to swim, but it doesn’t have to be a huge time or financial commitment for families! If you are looking for a way to support your child in developing their confidence, we can help.

Our small, individualized kids martial arts program is led by Ali Treviño-Murphy, a 5th degree black belt, professional social worker, and mother of 2 with over 15 years of teaching experience and over 30 years of martial arts experience.

At one class per week, kids learn practical self-defense skills while having fun and building their confidence.

Rather than focusing on belts, stickers, or tournament trophies, we build a foundation of intrinsic motivation and growth mindset within a supportive, caring community. Our kung fu kids commit to their classes because they genuinely enjoy them, and most of them choose to stay for years.

Unlike most martial arts schools, we offer affordable month-to-month pricing for families: no contracts, no hidden fees.

We are now accepting new students ages 4 and up!

Contact us or register below to get started with a trial class.

kids karate martial arts class underground self-defense madison wi
Kids in Kid karate class at Underground Self-Defense Madison, WI

How to get started:

New students can start at any time! We offer one or more free trial classes to kids, because we feel strongly that kids should choose to participate on their own terms. Schedule a free trial class and ask about our family discount.

Class Schedule:

Kung Fu Kritters (4-7 year olds)

Saturdays 9:15-10am (2 spots left)

Kung Fu Kritters learn through play as they explore the movements of the five kung fu animals: tiger, leopard, crane, snake and dragon. Kritters learn how to use their little bodies to do big, strong things! Students may start at white belt or pre-white belt animal belts. Progress to yellow or orange belt depends on the individual and their progress, and happens during scheduled rank tests outside of class time.

Kung Fu Kids (8-13* year olds)

Saturdays 10-11am (1 spot left)

Kung Fu Kids develop more complex fighting skills and begin incorporating more realistic partnered self-defense practice, point sparring and individual forms practice. And yes, we still play games. 😉 Students in this class are eligible to progress to advanced ranks of green or brown belt, based on individual progress.

*Our older kids (12-14) sometimes choose to start/stay in kids class, or may progress to adult classes, depending on their interest and instructor approval.

Values we teach

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Treating people the way they want to be treated.

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Doing what you know you should, even if nobody is making you do it.

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Using your body and voice the way you want to.

Our position on bullying and self-defense

We don’t currently teach an explicit anti-bullying curriculum. Instead, we offer experiential learning opportunities in bodily autonomy, identifying personal boundaries, assertive communication, and yes, physically fighting back. However, if a student brings up bullying (which happens on occasion) we do pause class to discuss as a group.

We do teach, explicitly, that everyone has the right to defend themselves. This means if anyone, another child or an adult, tries to hurt or control you, it is right to run, scream, or fight back even to the point of hurting someone. Even if it is against the rules.

PROOF OF COVID VACCINATION REQUIRED for all students, instructors, parents/caregivers and guests who plan to stay in the space. (Exception still allowed for unvaccinated siblings under age 5.) Masks not required, but we support any individual who chooses to wear a mask. We continue to require staying home when sick, and good hand hygiene practices. We continue to sanitize equipment after use.

A note: We don’t give black belts to 8 year olds

We only have one standard for black belt at our school– the adult standard. Some of our most exceptionally mature and hard-working students over the years have tested (with adults) as young as 13 years old after at least one year of participation in adult classes. High school is a more realistic timeline for black belt testing, even for our kids who started young. It is a significant accomplishment to achieve a black belt with us before age 18, for any student. Our kids take pride in their weekly progress, as well as any color of belt they may earn along the way.