As a parent we all want what is best for our children. We want to provide them with as many opportunities to learn, grow, and develop into their best possible selves. By exposing them to a wide variety of activities they can find outlets that will aid them in living their best possible . Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is an incredibly effective tool that every parent should explore. Here are just a few things to expect when enrolling your child in BJJ.
You will need to know what you and your child want to get out of jiu jitsu. Do they want to compete? Do they want to learn self defense? Are they here to have fun and get a workout in? There will be some kids who love to compete, but there will be plenty of others who just want to have fun and learn jiu jitsu without the stress of competing.
Explore Your Options
Every jiu jitsu class is different, so you might want to try out a few schools and see which environment you and your family prefer. Some schools are very strict and serious. Others are competition heavy. Some schools are light hearted and have a lot of fun in class.
Persistence pays off. Your child might be involved in other sports, or it might be hard to get them to jiu jitsu class often. But the ones who come less than two days a week, usually fall behind. Three times a week (or more) is a good amount of classes to attend.
There will be times your child feels defeated. Maybe they kept getting tapped out in class. Maybe they couldn’t do the move correctly. Maybe a smaller kid beat them. This is ok. There will be plenty of times your child loses on the mats and in life. Training is a great way to learn that it’s not about winning at that moment, but the journey of self improvement.
Your child will learn about discipline and respect. There will be times to play in class, but they need to sit still, listen, and show respect to their teammates and instructors. Many life lessons will be taught in children’s classes.
Your child will build strong friendships in class. They will compete with their teammates, but still turn around and be great friends. They will push each other and learn from one another. They will make each other better people.
Your child will gain confidence. Young jiu jitsu students are becoming secret ninjas. We are preparing to send them out into the world knowing how to defend themselves and remain calm in difficult situations.
Jiu jitsu will allow your child to stand up for themselves. It will teach them to defend themselves against a bully. They will learn how to walk away from fights, only use their jiu jitsu to defend themselves, and that there are safe ways for them to hold a person down and control them without hurting them if needed.
Jiu jitsu is a contact sport. Injuries do happen. They are usually benign like a bloody lip or accidental head butt. The good thing is that the children learn how to take care of their partners, to use self-control, and when to tap out.
Leave the Coaching to the Coaches
Do not coach from the sidelines. Do not correct your children on how to do the moves. Correcting a child’s moves is the coach’s job. Sometimes classes are big and the coaches can’t feasibly make sure every kid is doing the move perfectly. We are content as long as they are trying and are close enough to knowing the techniques. Learning takes time and can not be done all in one lesson. Please do not think that we are ignoring your child.
Jiu jitsu is a sport that the entire family can do together. You can’t go jump into a child’s basketball game and coach them from the sidelines. But you can both train jiu jitsu together, whether it’s in the kid’s class, the adult class, at home, or at a tournament.
Mindy Yager is co-owner of Select Jiu-Jitsu Academy in Waco, TX, where she is a brown belt. She has a degree in journalism from Baylor University, where she also teaches self-defense courses in the Health, Human Performance and Recreation department. Mindy is a mom to two boys, Abram and Hawk, and is married to Lance Yager. You can follow her on Instagram @jiujitsumindy or on Facebook as Mindy Poehl Yager