I am asked quite often if Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (bjj) is appropriate for kids : “doesn’t it teach them how to fight, make them more aggressive, and possibly turning them into bullies”? Well nothing could be further from the truth. I typically let them know 5 things that we strive to teach our kids, and how bjj and the jiu jitsu lifestyle will develop a positive influence on their children. It’s really among the best kids martial arts or sports, in general, for kids.
- Coordination and Body Awareness – Learning jiu jitsu requires children to execute techniques that contain many small details. Learning to perform these techniques develops the child’s fine motor skills and teaches a good understanding of base and balance, not to mention strength and coordination. This often spills over to other sport activities they may pursue, and aids in making them more successful in later life.
- Personal Discipline and Focus– Kids today grow up in a world of constant electronic stimulation. Discipline and focus are just like muscles that need to be trained. Learning jiu jitsu is fun, but the techniques can be very detailed and sometimes complicated to learn and execute correctly. Kids enjoy doing this and the challenge of learning new techniques required them to pay close attention to the details and a lot of personal discipline to not only practice with a partner, but also to be a good training partner. All of this translates to the child becoming a better student in school, having better personal relationships, and being a better person in later life.
- Confidence– Most sports can and do build confidence in children, but here is why I think BJJ is better. Every day they will learn a new technique, practice on a partner, and then be asked to try and perform these techniques on a non compliant partner that is trying to do the same to them. We call this “rolling”. It is a live, safe environment for the kids to see if they can put into practice what they have learned. This also teaches children how to lose, but we choose to tell them that losing in BJJ or “tapping out” just means you are learning. What you won’t see is a group of kids screaming and breaking boards or kick and hitting bags, instead they are engaged in a real life combat situation with one of their training partners. This process teaches real life situations instead of giving a false sense of security because boards and bags don’t punch or kick back. Also, jiu jitsu doesn’t employ kicking or punching, so your child will learn to control the situation without having to punch or kick another child.
- Fitness– Again I can harp on the fact that almost every child spends too much time with electronic stimulation. So if you are looking for an engaging finger workout, stick with the PlayStations, Xboxes, Iphone, and a litany of other gaming devices. However, through BJJ they will gain core strength, have more energy and stamina, and become more flexible. This will also translate to other sports they may enjoy as well. This is what we refer to as the “Jiu Jitsu Lifestyle”. We then make better choices about sleep, the foods we eat, and how we engage others. Because the BJJ lifestyle can be demanding, we tend to take care of ourselves better on and off the mat.
- Self Defense– Lastly, BJJ will give your child REAL self defense for real situations. As bullying is on the rise in schools and in general, BJJ gives your child confidence which is the number 1 deterrent to bullies. Bullies stay away from confident, in shape prey. They want the weak and meek. Besides being confident, your child will have REAL self defense that they have practiced over and over in a live “Rolling” match, so they know it works.
In my eyes these are some pretty compelling arguments for giving your child the gift of BJJ. Sure giving them an Xbox or PlayStation seems to be the thing to do, and I am quite sure what they are begging for, but giving them something that will last a lifetime should be much more relevant for a parent. Learn more about our kid program and get a completely free 2 week trial.
And did I mention this is a great family activity? Come join your kids on the mat, it’s fun and rewarding, and you will enjoy talking about for years to come.