Parenting and Jiu-Jitsu
Jiu Jitsu is a tough sport. It's not like Basketball, Soccer, or Karate at your local YMCA.
This is a sport where two people are actively trying to choke each other. It's not for the faint of heart.
That needs to be taken into consideration when your kids are doing Jiu Jitsu. You want them to have fun, you want them to be successful, but you have to understand that it's not always going to be like that. Being choked, having your limbs bent in the wrong direction, just losing in general, those things are never fun. But they're part of the sport. A part that's never going to go away.
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What your child needs is your support. Without it, they'll never survive. Unfortunately, that’s sometimes easier said than done. A lot of times parents may think that they’re being supportive, when in reality they’re not. Here are a few examples of that.
- Don't ride your child about their performance.
As said before, Jiu Jitsu is a tough sport. Your child is going to have bad days. There's going to be times when they get submitted over and over and over again. As the saying goes, some days you're the hammer and other days you're the nail.
The thing is, if they're "losing" they will know it. They will know that they just got choked, or armbared, or smashed on for an entire 3 minute round. There won't be any confusion. This isn't a game where they might not understand what's going on. They will endure physical pain and discomfort. They will know they lost.
Riding them after that only makes it worse. They already feel bad, they know that they lost, and now you're adding your disapproval of their performance. This will crush their soul. Which in turn will make them hate Jiu Jitsu even more. This creates a downward spiral that can be extremely difficult to get out of. They hate being there so they put no effort into anything. By putting no effort into anything they actually get worse while everyone else continues to get better. Which leads to them losing even more.
Just let them be when they are down. They will figure it out. You’d be amazed at how resilient children can be when they’re not being constantly pressured by their parents.
- Don't coach your child.
Unless you're experienced with Jiu Jitsu as well (preferably a colored belt at minimum), you have no idea what your child is going through. You don't know how difficult it is to "Just get up" or "Just pull your arm out". I assure you, it's not as easy as you might think. If you don't believe me, please sign up for a class yourself.
On top of that, you can actually make things much worse for them. Some things in Jiu Jitsu are self explanatory, but others are not. And some can be very counter intuitive. An armbar from the bottom is a prime example. For the person being armbarred it would seem as though simply standing up and pulling your arm out would be easy. But by doing so you allow the person on the bottom to fully extend the submission with very little effort. So even though you meant well, by telling them to just stand up and pull their arm out, you just coached your child into an even worse position.
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Jiu Jitsu is very technical. It does require heart and guts as well, but you cannot solely rely on that. There must be a technically sound foundation first. If you don't understand what that entails, then there's no way you can coach your child to get there.
- Leave Jiu Jitsu at the gym.
Kids need variety in their lives. It's the way their brains work. They're like little sponges that are just sucking in everything around them. It's a great thing, but too much of any one thing and they can pretty easily get burnt out and bored with it. Will drilling that mount escape 100 times every night make them better at it? Very likely. Will it also make him hate Jiu Jitsu? Also, very likely. Remember that downward spiral we talked about earlier.......
Let their coaches do their job. That's what you're paying them for. They have the experience and knowledge needed to properly coach your child. Let your child enjoy their time in the gym. Jiu Jitsu is a tough sport and it will make your child tough. But it's tough enough on it's own. It doesn't need anything else added to it.
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