Introducing a child to the world of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in their formative years is an excellent way to ensure they will grow up with a strong foundation of patience, confidence and discipline. While some parents are hesitant to get their child involved in any contact sports, the art of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu is far gentler than you might think. Your child is more likely to be injured in a playground unsupervised than they would under the care and direction of a good instructor.
Choosing the right school for your child is important as the structured lessons of a good school will teach them about the challenges, rules, disciplines and rewards in life through the art of Jiu-jitsu. As a parent, making the decision to get your child involved in any structured activity at an early age is often a daunting prospect. To help provide some perspective and give you an idea of what the art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has to offer, we’ve compiled a short list of 5 of the top benefits your child will receive through training.
5. Team Buidling/Camaraderie
Martial arts and the practice of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu provide a perfect environment for building lifelong friendships. Many other children will be the same age and at the same starting point which gives your child a peer environment outside of the classroom setting of an elementary or primary school. The bonds they build through group lessons and supervised playful challenges between themselves will help them grow together in ways that are difficult to achieve in today’s primary schools. While training together your children will be surrounded by new friends that are all working towards a mutual goal of self improvement, of which a core component involves learning to understand and assist others in training.
Respect is a core component in working with others in society. As adults we learn through painstaking mistake after mistake how to recognize and value the needs and desires of our peers and seniors. All too often the story of learning respect late in life leaves an individual with a sense of conflict for who they were and who they’ve become.
One of the most fascinating aspects of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu versus that of other martial arts is the ability to best your opponent no matter their size or strength. Your child may have been blessed with natural athleticism, but do they appreciate what they have? It’s easy to get lost in the zeal of youth and before you know it your child might become something of a bully.
Taking part in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu or any martial arts discipline corrects any ego a child may have by presenting unlikely and unexpected challenges that broaden their view of the world. Knowing that simple size and strength are not sufficient to succeed in all situations is a humbling experience for anyone. And instructors are mindful of a child’s temperament in their class. They will not tolerate any sort of bullying, rivalry or insubordination.
As a parent you may be inclined to insist that you have everything under control, and while it may be true for some, how your child behaves when not in your presence is equally if not even more important than how they seem when they are with you. Martial arts instruction through Brazilian Jiu-jitsu will teach your child to recognize and respect their mentors and guardians. Most importantly of all, training in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu will help teach your child to respect themselves.
3. Conflict Resolution
Whether competition-related or not, kids will quickly learn how to overcome their obstacles. While some martial arts focus on speed, strength and repetition, the application of those arts in practice are mostly reflex driven. There’s no doubt they are useful tools to learn regardless of their nature. In Brazilian Jiu-jitsu your child will be challenged in ways that require transition from speed and reflex to complex problem solving.
The art of Jiu-Jitsu comes not from the mere application of a set of movements to subdue an opponent, but rather it is in the understanding that dominance in any situation is temporal. Your child may be an impatient sort, always expecting everything as quickly as possible. To be fair, it is not so much the parent to blame as it is the convenience that technology and industry have brought to our lives.
But taking your child out of the day-to-day routine of video games, computers, television and texting will show them that there is more to think about than just when the next iPhone is getting released. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu challenges individuals by requiring patience and self control to calmly asses their situation, consider their options and then make a calculated decision. Yet the best part of the challenge is the fact that your sparring partner is using those same tools and thus the activity becomes an engaging puzzle with the strategic considerations of a chess match but the activity of a sport.
2. Self defense
Through Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, children will learn tactics and develop skills that will enable them to avoid many dangerous situations. The art of Jiu-Jitsu focuses primarily on the transition to and from a dominant or submissive position. Movements are designed to deflect your opponent’s attacks and restrain them if necessary. Yet one of the most fundamental and critical components of Jiu-Jitsu is the escape from a submissive position. Your child will learn how to squeeze our from underneath a larger opponent. They will also learn how to turn a situation in their favor by using close contact techniques to restrain a would be assailant. While there’s no shortage of bullies in any school environment, giving your child the tools necessary to avoid or evade conflict will be invaluable as they progress in life.
Another notable benefit from learning Jiu-jitsu is the level of confidence, respect, and self-esteem someone will gain knowing you are no longer a potential victim or a target for someone looking to pick on others. However, it’s very important to remember that If a bully does decide to pick on your child, the philosophy behind this and many other martial arts teaches an individual to avoid conflict at all costs. In the famous words of Mr. Miyagi from “The Karate Kid”, “The best defense is no be there!”
Self-discipline is absolutely necessary to ensure survival in life. Acting zealously and expending resources when they can be conserved may leave you vulnerable to another unforeseen obstacle. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu teaches self discipline by requiring your child to conserve their energy, especially when under pressure. The initial response for any human being is to panic, flee or respond aggressively when challenged. Yet, these tactics do not work in a Jiu-Jitsu match. In order to flee you may be required to escape a full mount from your opponent, and in order to to that you may be required to distract your opponent with an attempt to gain control by one means only in an effort to expose an opportunity somewhere else.
The beauty of this process is in the art of it’s implementation. There is no striking, no unadulterated aggression is necessary. In fact, you are taught to accomplish your goal using the least amount of energy possible. This will teach your child to be more conservative with their resources, at a time when they are most abundant and easily taken for granted. While parents will do everything in their power to reinforce the importance of self-discipline throughout their child’s life, the essence of “self” and discipline implies a truth that is unavoidable. It must come from within your child by their own choosing.
Learning and training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu will introduce your child to a new world of possibilities in a positive environment that should evoke a desire to learn and do more. Their sense of self discipline will evolve out of need rather than simple instruction and that is ideal for everyone.
Finally, the grappling techniques and self-defense abilities they will acquire will stay with them for the rest of their life, regardless of any danger they may encounter. And with a fundamental understanding of patience, strategy and keeping calm under pressure your child will have a greater chance of maturing into a resilient adult who’s ready for almost any challenge!