Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for Kids
Why Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for Kids?
By Professor Michael Stratton
Before I get into why Esteem BJJ is the choice martial art school for kids, let me first explain why jiu jitsu for kids in general, triumphs over other martial arts for kids.
The fact that martial arts are great for kids is common knowledge; the benefits includeconfidence, discipline, respect, better grades and much more.
The real question is:
“Why is jiu jitsu the best martial art for my child?”
As far as questions go, this one is as easy as it gets. In jiu jitsu, the GOAL is to CONTROL, always. Now, it’s important to keep in mind that I have nothing against any other martial arts. As a martial artist myself, I have the utmost respect for all martial arts practitioners. However, I feel very strongly about what we need to be exposing ourkids to, and in my opinion, it’s not trading strikes with another person. That’s exactly why jiu jitsu is the best choice for your child, there is absolutely no punching or kicking!
Would you really want to teach a child to “defend” themselves by putting up there dukes and squaring off against another kid on the playground? Of course not! The majority of jiu jitsu techniques are done off of your back, from the perspective of a person who has been tackled to the ground. This is as self defense as it gets!
Here at Esteem BJJ, we teach the kids that they need to avoid the fight at all costs. When we teach them take downs, it’s from the perspective of a cornered person, or a person being attacked with punches and kicks. When we teach ground work, the goal is to gain control of the attacker; NOT to hurt them.
What about kids that are shy and not very social?
Let me draw out a visual for you:
A timid, shy 7 year old comes in to do a class for the first time. He’s very nervous, and unsure about what to do. Throughout the 50 minute class, he slowly inches out of his comfort zone, getting constant praise from the coaches for doing so. Whether he’s a quick learner or not, whether he’s athletic or not, whether he’s a “natural” or not, he receives constant praise for every effort he gives. He gets through the class feeling like this may be something that he’s good at, and then the coach walks up to him at the end with a shocked look on his face.
“Hey, I thought you said you’ve never done jiu jitsu before? You did amazing today! Where else have you done jiu jitsu, tell me the truth!”
This inevitably boosts his confidence as he walks out of the school with his head up and his chest out, thinking about how well he did.
This scenario is a true story, and this particular child’s confidence has grown exponentially since that day through positive reinforcements. We use constantpositive reinforcement to breed confidence in the children, and how well they are actually performing is secondary. Of course it is important that they learn the techniques well, but you must remember that good technique will come in time,confidence needs to come first. In fact, as parents, your one and only goal for your child when signing them up for jiu jitsu should be improved confidence.
“What about discipline, respect, better grades, and all that other stuff you say jiu jitsu will give my child? Why does it seem like confidence is the only thing you focus on?”
Quite simply, because confidence is the seed from which all of the other benefits are grown. That’s right, confidence comes first and all of the others follow. How can children be disciplined, if they’re not confident in themselves? How can childrenachieve higher grades if they are not confident in themselves? How can childrendevelop self respect or genuine respect for others, if they are not confident in themselves? Developing confidence at an early age is a vital factor in the formula for success. Yeah, it’s that important.
“What about the other kids. The kid’s who are bullies or have false, inflated confidence and bad behavior?”
As Coaches, we must address the individual needs of the children, and all children are unique. Most bullies need a combination of things. Structure, guidance, a physical outlet, and a consistent positive role model. That pretty much sums up what you get when you sign up at Esteem BJJ.
Other kids will just push the boundary to see how much they can get away with, especially if all of the positive reinforcements makes you seem “too nice” to discipline them. Well, those kids just need to be shown, very clearly, where the boundary lies and what will happen if they cross it.
Guess what? They very rarely cross it. Why? Because they respect their Coach. Their Coach is a clear leader and they’re kids. It’s only natural- kids want to be lead, and they want an adult to guide them. Without structure and guidance, kids will falter. Thankfully, the opposite holds true as well; when kid’s are faltering, what they need is some structure and guidance.