Gracie Botany is home to martial artists of all different types. There are experienced grapplers who’ve been training for 10 years. There are fresh white belts who have only just signed up. Do you know who some of our happiest grapplers are?
The ones in our kids classes!
Exercise is good for children, as parents know. But choosing what type of exercise to enroll kids in can be a difficult decision. Martial arts in general, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in particular, are an excellent choice.
Before we get to that, it’ll be worthwhile explaining what Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) actually is. It’s a grappling art that, like its name suggests, emanates from Brazil. It’s different from most other types of martial arts in the sense that there are no strikes. Additionally, iit mostly takes place on the ground.
Your kids won’t learn how to do punches or roundhouse kicks. They’ll learn how to protect themselves by maintaining dominant positions, and how to apply submission holds like armbars.
Here are 5 reasons this is a good idea:
Parents who are reluctant to sign their children up to martial arts often do so because of the safety aspect. Again, this is completely fair and understandable. You should know though, Jiu-Jitsu is a safe martial art.
Above we mentioned that BJJ is a grappling art that takes place on the ground. These factors significantly reduce injury risk. First, no striking means there are no accidental strikes to the head. Second, ground-based grappling means there are no slams, as there are in Judo and wrestling. Kids will eventually learn how to do takedowns, but these techniques are reserved for older or more experienced children.
Accidents can happen – just like they can happen on a soccer pitch or in a swimming pool – but safety always comes first in our academy. Gracie Botany head coach Craig “Sav” Roberts has been teaching BJJ to kids for a decade. He’s experienced in keeping the learning environment safe and comfortable for kids.
Physical activity is important to health, but it’s hard to get children to exercise if they’re bored. Jiu-Jitsu is incidental exercise: it’s an activity that happens to involve a lot of full-body movement. It’s a great full-body workout, but it’s about the activity and not the exercise.
In short, it’s easier to get kids to be excited about Jiu-Jitsu class than about going for a run.
Coordination and discipline
Ask any experienced practitioner and they’ll tell you that BJJ training doesn’t just confer martial arts skills, but life skills too.
This is especially true for kids. Consider the most obvious example: physical coordination. Kids of all ages at Gracie Botany play games and perform drills that teach them essential Jiu-Jitsu movements and principles. Learned at a young age, many of these are transferable to other endeavors. Even if your kid doesn’t love martial arts, they’ll learn physical abilities that will serve them elsewhere.
Then there’s discipline. Jiu-Jitsu is many things, but it’s not easy. You get out what you put in. It’s not about talent, it’s about technique. Those who spend the time honing their technique get immense benefits. A smaller, technically capable grappler will easily outmaneuver a bigger, less competent one.
The flipside of this, for kids, is that it doesn’t take long for effort to pay off. Improvements in technique are easily perceptible. What this means is that children will learn that discipline, focus and persistence are the ingredients for success.
Toddlers in gis are adorable
Kids look extremely cute when they train in their Jiu-Jitsu gis. This isn’t as important as the other factors but… it’s definitely a factor.
This is the big one. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is fun and provides emotional development, but at its core it’s a self-defense system. It’s perfect for kids for two reasons.
First, its core premise is that all self-defense techniques should work on anyone. That is: A smaller opponent should be able to use techniques learned in class on a bigger aggressor. Second, kids will learn that they can protect themselves without causing great harm to their aggressor.
Other martial arts will teach your kid self-defense skill too, but none will give them the range of responses that Jiu-Jitsu affords. If your child is being bullied, a roundhouse kick may not be the solution. Kids who learn Jiu-Jitsu are taught to escape from a bully’s grip and run away, or to establish a dominant position which protects them from harm. Submission locks are only to be applied in dire situations.
If you’re interested in signing your child up for martial arts, come into Gracie Botany for a free trial lesson.