Benefits of Teaching Children BJJ
Shape the future of BJJ by Helping the Youth
Many join the martial arts to either learn self defense or to do a fun activity to get in better shape. As you delve into the art and learn more about it, for some the need to teach and pass on this knowledge arises. Not everybody is a teacher, it is not for everybody, but for those that wish to start passing on their knowledge they may want to start with teaching children. Usually they start by coming in early and helping their instructor with the children's class but as they gain more experience and learn how to run and structure a class they may be asked at some point to do it on their own (typically still with help of other instructors). This is a major leap in your journey and one that is not to be taken lightly.
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What you teach these children must be effective for their own self protection but must also be adequate for their age (so maybe leave the neck cranks and heel hooks out of the curriculum). Not only will your material have to be effective but the class must also be engaging and fun. Typically, at my school, the way we teach our children is the way we teach the adults.They do a warm up, train technique (minus some details for simplicity’s sake), then train live positionally as well as full rounds, for the very young kids class, ages 4-6 they have some games thrown in that help teach grappling movements and concepts as well as basic coordination and awareness. I personally do not believe in running a children's class by just playing games the full hour, I once taught at a school that played games nearly the whole time and the children never actually learned anything because they never got to actually apply the skills they were supposed to be learning.
Now let’s discuss what benefits teaching children may give you. The first is a sense of pride and accomplishment, nothing beats watching the light in a child's eyes when they finally understand how to move for a hip escape or when it finally clicks in their brain how to escape a position they have been having trouble with. The best feeling is watching a students journey from starting as a young kid and moving up the ranks gaining skill with each stripe and watching their confidence and technique grow. The sense of pride they feel when overcoming an obstacle you feel as well.
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Next is what teaching children Jiu Jitsu does for your personal Jiu Jitsu. Teaching adults makes you really understand the fine details, but teaching children makes you fully grasp a concept and be able to break it down to its most simplest of forms, especially when teaching very young children. To be able to do this with your techniques will let you gain an extremely in depth knowledge of your Jiu Jitsu, something that will make you a better grappler and a better teacher for adults as well. If you can get a child to understand how to set up and execute a single leg takedown or a scissor sweep, teaching adults becomes multiple times easier.
Finally, the last benefit of teaching children or helping to teach the children's class is how much that does for your school and instructor. It is not easy teaching kids, keeping them on track can be difficult even during the most entertaining of classes. Having extra bodies on the mat that truly want to help the kids learn is so helpful for your instructor and something that we really do appreciate. Think of it as investing in the next generation of grapplers. The next generation that will be faster, stronger and more technical because they learned from our mistakes early on, all of this in turn will give us tough training partners in the future, tough training partners that will kick our butts someday which in turn help us to grow. So if you have the extra time in your schedule think about investing in the next generation of martial artist, you will benefit from it!
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