5 Reasons Your Child Should Learn Jiu Jitsu

Let’s get something out of the way before we begin. I am very, very biased. My two sons train Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in our children’s classes, and I expect my little girl to start as soon as she learns to walk. Based on her excitement at watching the big kids training from my arms, she’ll love it. And of course, I am a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt and a children’s class instructor.

So yes, this is biased. But I’m basing this on not just my own experience, but on the experience of the parents we’ve spoken to over the years, and from seeing shy young kids develop physically and mentally with the help of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Lot’s of sports can help with development, but I think BJJ is unique in many ways. Let me tell you a few reasons.

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1) BJJ is a non-striking martial art
A brief description of BJJ would be that it uses pins, throws, and grappling to control your opponent. There is of course nothing wrong with learning striking martial arts like Taekwondo or Karate, but many children (and indeed their parents) are not fond of the idea of hitting or being hit. The expression goes that if all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. In physical altercations, skilled BJJ practitioners can use methods that don’t require striking their opponent.

2) In Brazilian Jiu Jitsu we’re always in contact.
Because BJJ is a grappling art, kids are constantly wrestling with each other- either in games, drills or matches. This gets children used to dealing with other kids physicality very quickly, and builds confidence in their own abilities not just to win matches, but to deal with close contact. Children are very natural wrestlers and adapt quickly and well to BJJ training because of this. The look on a kid’s face after successfully applying a technique in a practice match is one of the great joys of coaching.

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3) BJJ is Individual
I hesitate to use the words “nerdy” or “weaker”, but one thing we notice is that kids who are perhaps not as suited to team sports tend to flourish in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. This seems to be because BJJ is a blend of a few good things. Firstly it’s a martial art where there is no physical barrier. There’s no perfect body shape or size for BJJ. Secondly, BJJ is a blend of physical skills, and mental tactics. You can’t just muscle your way through techniques and win. It’s often been described as physical chess! Finally, because it’s an individual sport, kids who perhaps aren’t as physically adept as their peers yet get to develop at their own pace and in their own time.

4) BJJ is Social
In BJJ you’ll always have a training partner for a session or drill. This allows kids to work with each other to learn and drill, and to get to know one another while working hard. There’s nothing quite like the bond you get when you’ve sweated buckets together! There is of course the group dynamic of a class working towards the same goal, but it’s very different from a team environment.

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5) BJJ is just great fun- and develops incredible fitness for life
It may come as a surprise to you to find that trying to wrestle an opponent is among the most enjoyable thing your child might do all day, and one of the most exhausting. It’s true though. We find that the more physically exhausting the game, the more they ask to play it in class. When we plan our classes, we set out to do three things- Challenge them, Teach them, and Send them home Smiling. We find that these 3 aren’t mutually exclusive.

We have 3 age categories at Kyuzo. Maybe you have child that fits into one of these:

Ages 4, 5, and 6
Ages 7, 8, & 9
Ages 10-14

Ages 15+ begin to integrate into our senior programme with their own group within those sessions.

If you would like your child to start Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, take a look at this link, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for Children and fill out the quick form. We’d love to chat about how we can help!

 

About the author:
Barry Oglesby is the head coach of Kyuzo Gym in Dublin, a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Mixed Martial Arts club founded in 2003.

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