Few martial arts offer self-defence systems as respected as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu’s. If you’re on this page though, you probably already know that. Over the past three decades BJJ has become renowned enough that its self-defence credentials no longer need to be proven.
But martial arts like Jiu-Jitsu teach kids (and adults) a lot more than self-defence skills. If you’re a parent in search of an athletic activity to sign your boy or girl up to, martial arts are a great option.
Beyond self-defence, kids who train Jiu-Jitsu get a great physical workout, build tremendous confidence, and learn life skills like perseverance and discipline. If you’re intrigued, bring your kid to Gracie Botany in Sydney’s eastern suburbs for a free trial lesson.
If you’re unsure about what BJJ is, here’s a quick primer.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a martial art that focuses entirely on grappling. It’s a spiritual successor of sorts to Judo, a Japanese discipline which centres around taking your opponent to the ground with slams and sweeps. Jiu-Jitsu takes the principles of Judo – namely using timing and your opponent’s leverage to destabilize them – and applies them to ground combat.
The guiding principle of Jiu-Jitsu is that the techniques learned by practitioners, whether kids or adults, should work on people bigger than them. Technique, timing and leverage are king, not strength, size and power.
Instead of learning punches and kicks, BJJ students learn how to subdue opponents on the ground and submit them with armlocks, leglocks and chokeholds. You can read more about Jiu-Jitsu’s self-defence benefits here. Beyond those benefits, here’s what your kid can learn at academies like Gracie Botany.
Benefits of martial arts for kids
A full body workout. This one is fairly obvious, but worth highlighting. Healthy habits are important for kids to develop, and BJJ classes are solid workouts. This is especially true as kids age into teenagers. For classes of young kids, we teach Jiu-Jitsu skills, movements and principles through games and drills. As they age, to older kids and teenagers, classes get more challenging, and workouts more intense.
Jiu-Jitsu gets kids to move their whole body, work up a sweat and build coordination.
Discipline and perseverance. As noted above, kids don’t need to be big or strong to succeed in Jiu-Jitsu. People of any body size or shape can learn our martial art. But what you will need, whether kid or adult, is discipline and perseverance.
It takes time and patience to learn Jiu-Jitsu. Illustrative of this, practitioners who begin training as adults typically take around 12-15 years to earn their black belt. Practitioners who show discipline in training regularly and the ability to persevere through plateaus are rewarded with a rich self-defence skillset.
Confidence. The process just outlined – showing up regularly and learning to deal will plateaus or failure – is great at building confidence. After training BJJ for a solid period of time, kids will gets experience in doubting their ability, enduring through that doubt and succeeding in learning a skill they initially thought beyond their reach.
This experience teaches kids confidence. But it goes beyond the confidence to know they can defend themselves. It teaches a deeper resolve: They learn early that they can achieve what they want if they put in the work.
Getting comfortable being uncomfortable. All in all, Jiu-Jitsu is a safe martial art. Because there are no strikes and no takedowns (until they reach adulthood, at least), kids are protected from the prominent injury risks of other martial arts. Safety is our priority at Gracie Botany, and we make sure the health of our students is never at risk.
But while kids are never put at risk, they will be put in positions that make them uncomfortable. A core skill of Jiu-Jitsu is finding comfort in uncomfortable situations. Sometimes that can be learning to be calm when their training partner is on top of them. It can also mean dealing with the pressure of competition or sparring. But discomfort is part of life, and internalizing the knowledge that you can find comfort in uncomfortable situations is an unexpected life skill.
If you’re interested in signing your boy or girl up to BJJ, come into Gracie Botany for a free trial class.