KIDS JIU JITSU
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a highly effective form of Martial Arts. The popularity of the sport has multiplied especially in the last five years, as the Brazilian art has become one of the mainstream forms of combat. The world of professional grappling has seen a multitude of adult competitors, but in recent times kids divisions are flourishing with an influx of children worldwide. Parents will often look to find sports for their children that will help them with their confidence, their fine motor skills, their team work, and their behavioural issues. This will lead to parents wondering what the benefits of jiu jitsu for kids is.
What this article covers:
- How Does a Kids Training Session Work
- The Kids Belt Ranking System
- The Benefits of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
Being involved in a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu academy has enormous pathways, and opportunities for children to achieve. These days children need guidance, and structure, and training in the art of grappling will give them enormous benefits towards becoming a better athlete, and a better person.
Children's classes will always have different age divisions, and this is to help keep them safe, and wanting to continue learning the art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Also children learn at different paces, and different ages will adapt differently to different technical structures. For example, the younger children need more play, so the classes are designed to deliver the technical components in a more playful aspect. The older kids will be able to train under a normal systematic structure, like that similar to an adult's class. Above all else, kids training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu will be able to adapt better to many of the obstacles they face in the real world, and this is due to the many benefits that training inside of an academy has to offer.
HOW DOES A KIDS TRAINING SESSION WORK
Kids training sessions can be a lot of fun, but the structure of the class is different and every academy. Different instructors have different ideologies surrounding how they like to profess their Jiu Jitsu instruction. Some academies are really strict, and others are much more laid back in how they teach the art to children. There is no definitive method of teaching that has been proven to be the best, and most academies are very similar in how they structure their classes. At the end of the day the art is more about helping a child adapt to a group sport, and learning many of the fundamental aspects that go far beyond fighting, and delve into the realms of social behaviour.
A common training session for children will always begin with a line up, and this is because the traditional art of BJJ will expect all students to line up in belt rank order, and bow to their instructor as a sign of respect. From here the class will move into the warm up phase, as an instructor will warm up the children however they deem most necessary. A common warm up will be jogging around the mat to get the blood flowing, before doing other warm ups that help to activate different muscle groups, stretching to get all of their muscles limbered up and ready for training, as well as movement based drills which are extensive ways that kids can learn functional movement that directly relates to techniques they will learn during their journey.
Once the warm up is done the class will move into the technique phase, where the instructor will showcase a few techniques. All the children will find a partner to then practice these techniques, as the instructor will go around and help each individual pair one at a time. Quite often a kid's class will have more than one instructor, especially a class that has a high number of attendance. So parents can have their mind at ease knowing that their children will be receiving a lot of attention to help them learn these intricate movements of grappling. Once the technique portion of the session is done, the instructor will begin the rolling session, and this can be free rolling where children are free to partner up, and begin grappling to a specific time duration.
Sometimes the instructor will organise specific drills where a few children will be on the mat, and all of the other children lined up against the wall. This is where a specific goal is required, for instance the children that are waiting on the mat may have to start in the closed guard, with their only goal is to execute a sweep to win. While the other children that are lined up against the wall will enter into each child's guard one at a time with a specific goal to pass the guard to win. Whichever child wins will stay on the mat, and the other child gets up and joins the end of the line. Other drills may include escaping and maintaining positions, takedown battles, and guard passing and guard retention drills. These types of drills can be extremely beneficial to students, which will help them to learn at a faster rate, and this is because of the specifically targeted goals.
THE KIDS BELT RANKING SYSTEM
The belt progression in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is unlike most other Martial Arts. There are no cartas, or demonstrations for each child to achieve their next stripe, or belt. The only way to progress in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a slow accumulation of learnt skills that the instructor will deem when they think the child is ready for the promotion. There are thirteen different coloured belts, with each belt set to receive four stripes before the next belt is handed out. There are only five coloured belts, but each belt colour has three different belts within that coloured belt group. For example, when a student moves up to the grey belt coloured group, they start on the grey and white striped belt, before moving up to a solid grey belt, and finishing with a grey and black striped belt.
All kids start off at the white belt level, and will receive stripes as they learn different techniques, and concepts within the art. Stripes will be handed out not just for competency in learning movements, but as a way to encourage students, and for the effort they may put in. Because there are thirteen different belts, kids can be awarded stripes, and belts at a fast pace, so they can get through the belt system before they are too old. After receiving four stripes on their white belt, they will move up to the grey belt coloured series. The yellow belt series is after the grey, but children must be at least seven years old to begin this next coloured belt in their journey. Kids will spend basically one year per belt, and by the time they turn ten years old they can move into the orange belt series. At the age of thirteen they will be allowed to move into the green belt series, and by this stage students should be extremely technical at Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. The good aspect about kids going through this kind of belt ranking system, means as soon as they turn sixteen they do not have to wear an adult white belt, as they can be promoted straight to an adult blue belt.
WHAT TECHNIQUES WILL CHILDREN LEARN
Learning Brazilian Jiu Jitsu at such a young age can be extremely hard, as kids usually are distracted and struggle because of their short attention spans. For children to learn the art they must first understand the different control positions like the mount, side control, back control, and the guard. When children first begin training they don't just get choked unconscious, these types of events just do not happen. The misconception that Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is extremely dangerous is completely untrue, in fact BJJ is one of the safest forms of Martial Arts. There is no punching, or striking involved with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and even though there are choke holds, and joint locks this is monitored closely, and children are only allowed to partake in these practices once they have had some experience under their belt. There is a lot to learn in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, as it is more than just submitting an opponent, there are applications of takedown maneuvers, maintaining positional control, defending and escaping from positions, defending and escaping from submissions, as well as sweeping and transitional components.
Once a child has understood all of the positions in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu they will also start to learn basic techniques like sweeping mechanics, different ways to break and pass the guard, simple takedown maneuvers, and basic submission practices. It does take a long time to get good at Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, but the best part for children is that they will have a long time to adapt to the technical aspects of this combat sport. Instructors will never force a child to go against someone that can hurt them, and all students are closely monitored by the coaching group. Of course accidents can always happen, and injuries are a part of the game, but parents can have an easy mind knowing their kids are relatively safe. Learning Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and going through all of the training procedures will not only help their child understand the Martial Art, they will also get fitter and stronger, and become more capable of exercise.
ARE COMPETITIONS SAFE FOR KIDS
There has been a constant rise in children competing in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu events, and this is due to the mainstream popularity of the grappling art. Nowadays kids are extremely safe when they compete in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu events, and this is because of the strict guidelines that are incorporated from all of the grappling organisations. There are different rule sets for different age groups, and different kids divisions, and due to the fact that most children will only compete against kids of the same belt rank, age, and weight category, they should never be going up against an opponent that is considerably bigger, or stronger than them. Kids are also prohibited from using certain techniques, as some of these moves have been deemed dangerous by the IBJJF guidelines. This is another aspect that can keep a parent's mind at ease knowing their child is safe to complete.
One of the biggest aspects of why Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is safe for children is because of the referee. All kids matches are adjudicated by experienced black belt teachers of the art. This means that the referee will make sure that both competitors are safe, and that no child is unnecessarily injured. Once again, of course accidents can happen, but overall their safety is paramount. All Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competitions also have medics on hand, so that if a student does happen to receive an injury of some kind, there is always medical staff close by to attend to a child. BJJ competitions can be extremely fun for kids, and rewarding, as they look to become state champions, and earn themselves gold medallions.
THE BENEFITS OF BRAZILIAN JIU JITSU
There is a vast range of benefits that go along with training in Brazilian JiuJitsu. First and foremost, children will become extremely athletic and broaden their range of mobility, flexibility, and dexterity. They will also become fitter and stronger, as they will be using an extensive amount of muscle groups, and their cardiovascular system. All of these aspects are great for kids, as they will become healthier and feel better about themselves. Learning Brazilian Jiu Jitsu will also give the child an extreme amount of confidence in their ability to defend themselves. Nowadays children will go through a lot of different kinds of issues like bullying, or become victims of all kinds of abuse. A child that knows how to stand up for themselves, will ultimately learn how to identify danger, avoid conflict, or deal with any kind of scenario. Because kids are constantly under pressure during training sessions, they are forced to make a decision, and this can be a great way to learn how to make the right decisions. This is an important aspect, as real life altercations can happen so fast, and a wrong decision can mean the end, so this aspect for children is fundamentally important, and will serve kids well moving on into their futures.
There are a lot more benefits for kids that train in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, as they will meet a lot of different people from different walks of life, and different ethnicity groups. This type of training can help a child to connect with people from all different backgrounds. This is a great way for children to make new friends, and learn how to be respectful, and mindful of other people's beliefs, and cultures. This type of training is extremely beneficial not just to an ordinary child, but to a child that has special needs, or mental health issues. This can be all types of depression, anxiety, or autism, and these students will highly benefit from the structure, and the guidance that is given by all of the academy members. Learning Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is more than just learning how to become a good fighter, it is about becoming a better person, and knowing how to integrate into society. Many children grow up and not know who they are, or how they fit into the world, and training at a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu academy gives them purpose, and helps them to understand who they are as a person. This is how a child can develop methods on how to overcome obstacles, as well as learn how to respect people from all walks of life.
Starting from such a young age is highly advantageous for a few different reasons. A common story that is told is a beginner picks up the Gi somewhere in their twenties, or thirties and starts trying to figure out the mechanics of BJJ. A child will spend at least ten years before they earn their blue belt, which is the same amount of time the average person earns their black belt in. This means by the time they turn eighteen they are a black belt in the art. Becoming a professor at such a young age means they can challenge for the world titles, and still have youth on their side. They will also be able to reach the higher levels of the coral belt at the age of forty nine, which can be extremely rare. More and more athletes are achieving black belts at the younger age, and this trend looks highly likely that it will continue.
If you enjoyed this piece, consider checking:
- Kids Jiu-Jitsu Belts
- Start Jiu Jitsu
- What Age Can a Child Start Jiu Jitsu
- Jiu Jitsu for Teens
- BJJ for Beginners
- Youth Jiu-Jitsu Tournaments
- Youth Jiu-Jitsu Belt Ranking
- Youngest BJJ Black Belt
- Mental Benefits of Jiu-Jitsu
- What Does Jiu Jitsu Teach You
- Jiu Jitsu Self Defense
- Is Jiu Jitsu Offensive or Defensive
- Judo Or Jiu Jitsu for Self Defense
- Jiu Jitsu Throws
- Judo Throws for BJJ