IS JIU JITSU GOOD FOR KIDS?
Playing sports for children has many physical, psychological, and social benefits, and engaging with other children is a good way to learn team building skills. Sports can help children learn to control their emotions, and channel any negative feelings they may have in a positive way.
What this article covers:
- BJJ Can Help with Confidence
- What to Expect from an Academy
- Are There Any Dangers for Kids
- Does Competing Help Children
Sports can also build resilience in a child, which in turn will feed their confidence, making children feel better about themselves. All parents want the best for their kids, that's why they push for their children to play competitive sports, because of the pivotal life skills they will learn. The key component is to encourage them to have fun, and stay active, because winning at all costs is not the right motivator.
Some kids play team ball sports like soccer, or football, while others go the more individual route and participate in sports like swimming, athletics, or tennis. Martial Arts has been proven to be one of the best building blocks for a child, even children that play different sports. Martial Arts will give a child purpose, balance, fine motor skills, problem solving abilities, and discipline. One of the best Martial Arts forms is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and this is because of its encouraging, and integral nature. The art also provides many other life skills, and technical developments for a child. The intricate nature of grappling involves a high intensity of physical activity that builds a significant core strength, flexibility, dexterity, mobility, and cardiovascular fitness.
BJJ CAN HELP WITH CONFIDENCE
Children can often be insecure, or lack confidence, and this has become a real epidemic in the last ten years. The influx of competitive sports into a child's life has proven how instrumental it can be in helping them to engage with other people. Humans crave connection, and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu creates a platform where children are forced to interact with other children on a playful, and social level. Because grappling has a structure where all kids must talk to other children during class, it helps to break down the barriers between the kids. The act of learning comprehensive self defense movements will always help to raise the level of confidence in a child. Just imagine a child being picked on, and getting bullied at school, and they usually struggle to find their voice, or stand up for themselves. This is usually because of a lack of confidence, and after spending just a few months training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu their confidence will sky rocket, and in turn will help them to deal with how they tackle future altercations.
LEARNING TO BECOME A BETTER ATHLETE
One of the strong points about Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is how fit and strong a child will become. Even if a child grows up to change sports, or stop altogether to pursue different avenues in life, they are better off having trained in Martial Arts from a young age. This will help them to develop good eating habits, and build a strong base of physical conditioning. One of the big problems on a global scale is obesity, and if a child can have a head start into the right direction of physical health and fitness, then they have a better chance of achieving any goal they set their mind to. Achieving anything is about being confident, and confidence breeds success, so participating in brazilian jiu jitsu for kids is crucial to setting up opportunities later on in life.
Becoming fitter and stronger will not only make a child feel better, but they will be healthier. This is more than looking good, or feeling good about themself, it is about longevity in life. It can be pretty easy for children to take a wrong path in life, and wind up abusing their bodies with all of the wrong poisons. When they build a strong base from Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, their body becomes a temple of strength and conditioning, and because of the nature that BJJ represents, there is no link to drugs or alcohol like other club sports. Another great aspect about kids gaining significant strength and conditioning is the benefits of injury prevention. Being stronger means that a child is less likely to suffer from injuries, which in turn can help them to train more frequently.
USING BJJ AS THERAPY
Competitive sports can be an important tool in combating a wide variety of ongoing issues. Children will constantly be facing adversity, and challenges throughout their life, and these issues sometimes can have no way of being sorted out, and children can have no release for their frustration. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a great form of therapy, and this is for a few different reasons. The first being a great way to release a child's energy, because often after any kind of altercation, a child will need to unwind. BJJ has great applications that allow students to release their anger, and frustration by using transitional movements, and intensive workouts. This can be exactly what some children need to release the tension that can build up from a number of different reasons.
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu can be a great distraction from a child's problems. Sometimes just spending too much time thinking about a problem can have a reverse effect on finding a solution. Using distractions are a great way to put the issues aside, and find some joy in another activity. This does not mean to simply bury one's issues, it just means that a child can have more time to process, and adjust to whatever issues they may be enduring. Another great concept that Brazilian Jiu Jitsu offers is that the art is just like the rubik's cube, it can be an extensive puzzle to solve. Because there are so many different layers involved in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, children have an opportunity to occupy their minds with a Martial Art that uses a significant problem solving ability.
Sometimes all a child needs is to be around other children. Human connection is how most people can heal from issues they may be enduring. A child will not have the mental capacity, or the appropriate tools to be able to process, and think their way through problems that they may be facing. Just being around other children that are laughing, and playing can be the best medicine for a child that is facing adversity. This is why Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is known as therapy, because even adults that suffer from mental health issues, or other types of abusive situations, will speak highly about how Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has affected them in an extremely positive way. All children need therapy to some extent, even if it is only seeking some playful time with other children in an encouraging atmosphere like a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu academy.
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM AN ACADEMY
Parents may often wonder what they can expect from a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu academy. The first thing a parent must ask themselves is what are they ok with their child engaging in. If Martial Arts, and particularly Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is what they feel their child needs in order to build discipline, and a hard work ethic, then heading into an academy is the right option. A BJJ academy is an encouraging place, where all athletes of all ages and sizes are treated as equals. Unlike other Martial Arts organisations, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has no egos attached, and is one of the most humble and integral forms of combat there is in the world. The philosophy behind Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is not necessarily about becoming a good fighter, it is about becoming a good human, and all of these lessons that are taught in an academy will help children excel within the parameters of their life.
A Brazilian Jiu Jitsu academy is well known for its camaraderie, but is also known for its tough line in the sand. This means that an academy instructor will not tolerate any form of bullying, harassment, or egotistical behaviour from any of their members. The sport of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has a way of weeding out the bad eggs, and only allowing people with the right mentality to excel within the sport. Along with all of these mental, and spiritual strengths, an academy will become like a family to all members, and this is because of the caring, and encouraging nature that all members of an academy have. Children will also be able to learn a functional self defense system that allows them to not only defend their life, but to use offensive weaponry as a way to combat any form of altercation. The skills that instructors will teach are comprehensive and thorough, as is the necessity for a proper self defense system that incorporates how to identify dangers, how to make the right decisions while being under pressure, and knowing when to attack or when to give up and escape. All of these components are highly achievable, and extremely important for all children to learn, as they begin to grow into a teenager, and then into a young adult.
ARE THERE ANY DANGERS FOR KIDS
Like any combat sport there are always dangers that surround training in these forms. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a highly dynamic form of combat that uses takedown maneuvers, which can cause severe impacts to a child. There is also extensive pressure being used, as the practitioner passes the guard, and attempts to gain a dominant control position. This kind of grinding pressure can cause abrasions, or even uncomfortable pressure to the rib cage area. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu also utilises sweeping mechanisms, and transitional components, which means students may be twirled over the head of one of their training partners, which can again cause severe impact. One of the biggest dangers that BJJ incorporates is the fact that they use choke holds, and joint locks. This can be extremely dangerous if applied incorrectly, or over zealously. This is why precautions must always be taken, and why all academies have guidelines for all members to follow. This is the same in competition Jiu Jitsu, as kids will need to adhere to strict guidelines, and not break any of the rules which can result in instant disqualification.
Even though there are significant dangers attached to the art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, it can still be an extremely safe sport for children to participate in. In a training sense all kids' classes are heavily monitored by the coaching staff, and this usually consists of at least two to five coaches per lesson. Instructors will put rules on children, and this is for the safety of everyone on the mats. Extremely young children are prohibited from using choke holds in training and this can only be done by children that have had experience in training. Even then, certain chokes are not allowed, and as soon as the other child taps the choke must be relented. Furthermore all coaches will be watching closely, and will not allow a child to be endangered recklessly by another member of the academy. Of course there will always be accidents that are unavoidable, but for the most part it can be character building for a student.
DOES COMPETING HELP CHILDREN
Competing in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu tournaments can be extremely beneficial to a child. This is because a competition scene is the only place that a child can test themselves in a situation that is as close as possible to a real life conflict scenario. This means that all of the techniques, and philosophies that they have learnt can be tested out to see if they work in a more real situational experience. This is also a great platform for children to start to lose the fear of crowds, and performing in front of people. This can be extremely helpful to a student in not just fighting, but in all other aspects of their life like acting, public speaking, and other sports they may like to participate in. Having the courage to step onto the mats, and showcase all of the skills that a child has learnt, is extremely rewarding and is a lot of fun.
Kids like to feel like they are excelling, and using a platform like competitive tournaments, will do just that. Even though every division only has one winner, it is not just about winning a competitive match. What is so good about Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is there are a lot of little battles that make up the whole experience. For example when a student goes up against another student that is just better than them, sometimes just being able to sweep them, or pass their guard, or not allow their opponent to submit them, can be a win. This is what can give a child extreme amounts of confidence moving forward with future competitions, and other avenues inside of their life. Let's be honest, children also like to put a gold medallion around their necks, and this can be a fun time for children when they start challenging themselves to win tournaments, and look at other opportunities moving forward.
Another amazing aspect about Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, is that academies are all over the world, and this means that competing in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu tournaments, or just training abroad, can take a child to all sorts of amazing places worldwide. Winning local tournaments can lead to winning State tournaments, which in turn can lead to winning National, and Pan Pacific tournaments. The list goes on, as a student will be able to compete at European tournaments, Pan American tournaments, and even the ADCC, or the World Championship tournaments. There is a lot of admiration for athletes that compete, and win world titles, as most people know just how hard it is to reach the top of the mountain. This astounding platform of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu will give children something to aspire to, and a purpose they can hold dear to their hearts. All of this can be achieved at the same time as keeping fit, building strength, staying respectful, and integrating with many of the social aspects inside of the community.
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