Martial arts classes are healthy and beneficial for kids of almost any age. But many parents, despite being interested in signing their kids up at Gracie Botany, are justifiably concerned about safety. How safe is kids Jiu-Jitsu really?
It’s safe! Of course, every physical endeavor involves some kind of injury risk. But the risks of Jiu-Jitsu are lesser than many other sports, like rugby or even soccer, and far less than other martial arts.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is an intense and challenging martial art, but it doesn’t involve many of the injury risks present in other martial arts classes. That’s because Jiu-Jitsu is all about ground-based grappling. Kids don’t learn how to slam each other from standing to the floor, nor will they practice punching and kicking each other.
Here’s what parents need to know about safety in kids Jiu-Jitsu. If you’re keen to learn more, come into Gracie Botany for a free trial class.
First, safety is our priority at Gracie Botany. That’s true of every class, but especially our kids classes.
It’s worth mentioning that our children’s programs are split into three distinct levels. We have a Tot’s class for 3- to 5-year olds, a Kid’s class for 6- to 11-year-olds, and a class for 12- to -15-year-olds. When we talk about “kids Jiu-Jitsu” at Gracie Botany, it’s worth remembering children are split up depending on their age.
Naturally, we save the more complicated stuff for older children. Boys and girls in the Tots class don’t learn too many explicit Jiu-Jitsu techniques. Much of the lesson is around fun games that get the kids active and teach them important Jiu-Jitsu movements. (It may not sound like much, but learning these movements early can make an enormous difference later on.)
As the kids get older, the techniques get more complicated. Once comfortable and coordinated enough, we have children drill moves with each other. Then, when the time is right, have them spar. But we make sure the kids are always safe and comfortable.
Risks of the sport
We mentioned before that BJJ is an unusually safe martial art. That’s primarily because of two things that are absent in Jiu-Jitsu: slams and strikes.
BJJ is a martial art that focuses on ground-based grappling. For adult practitioners, the goal is to take an opponent from standing to the ground. There, they can be subdued and submitted. At no point are students of any age taught how to throw a punch or a kick.
Because Jiu-Jitsu is first and foremost about self-defence, kids will learn how to defend themselves against strikes. But they themselves won’t be practicing them on anyone else.
Many injuries in other martial arts occur when someone cops an unprotected punch or kick to the head. Even with gloves in boxing, for instance, damage can be done.
The other common injury risk in martial arts classes is in slams. Wrestling and Judo are two disciplines similar to BJJ in that they focus exclusively on grappling. But they’re different in their focus on takedowns. Most of Judo is about slamming your opponent, and wrestling matches end when a practitioner’s shoulders are pinned on the mats.
To be sure, both Judo and wrestling are great martial arts. But if safety is your primary concern, it’s worth noting that Jiu-Jitsu puts far less energy into takedowns. Adults do learn these skills, as well as kids who want to compete in Jiu-Jitsu tournaments. But it’s a far less prominent part of the whole game.
By removing recurring injury risks, practiced Jiu-Jitsu students are able to spar at high levels of intensity (once they’re old enough) with surprisingly little injury risk. If you’re interested in signing your kid up for Jiu-Jitsu classes, come to our Gracie Botany academy for a free trial.