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Should All Kids Train Jiu Jitsu?
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Should All Kids Train Jiu Jitsu?

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As a parent it’s easy to question everything, am I doing this right? Should I do this differently? Am I doing this right? After all, they didn’t come with an owner’s manual.  

If you have kids, you know this feeling. As jiu jitsu practitioners, it’s natural for us to want our kids to be involved in and enjoy the same activities we enjoy.  But when should they start? What if they hate it?

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I think it makes sense to expose your kids to as many experiences as possible.  Let them find their passion. That being said, I think it’s more important than ever for our kids to have a way to defend themselves.  We see it way too often on the news and all over social media, bullying is out of control and seemingly only getting worse. As parents we have an obligation to provide our kids with the tools to be successful in life.  Part of that is providing them with a resource that will build confidence they can protect themselves, as well as make them physically and mentally stronger.

I started my daughters in jiu jitsu basically as early as the academy would let me.  At my academy they have classes starting as young as four years old. It’s incredible.  You can see the self-confidence change after just a few short months of training. All of the kids at the academy have a high level of respect, confidence, and self-awareness.  As I’m sure most of us know already, bullies are looking for easy targets and a kid that trains carry themselves in a way that’s much different than those that don’t. These kids don’t think they can fight, they don’t think they can protect themselves; they know they can.  The now 9-year-old absolutely loves training and is proud that she’s a part of it. The now 6-year-old lost interest after a few months of really loving it. So now what?

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I force the older one to go to class on the rare occasion she “doesn’t feel like it” (within reason) because there are going to be times in life when you have to do things you don’t feel like doing, and I explain that to her.  As for the younger one, I ask her every week if she’s ready to go back yet. I don’t want it to be a traumatizing experience for her, so I want to keep presenting it and encouraging it and hope she gets excited about it again. How do you know when to let them quit?  In my opinion when it becomes a major argument. I plan on training for the rest of my life, and I want nothing more than to one day share the mat with my kids. I want them to come to jiu jitsu when they see the value and want to. I’ll encourage it and support it every step of the way, but I don’t want to be the reason they are turned off by it and never make their way to the mats.  

I’m not sure if this is the perfect thought process or not, as mentioned above, I didn’t get an owner’s manual.  At the end of the day, it’s up to you to decide what’s right for you and your family. The evidence is indisputable though, bullies are out in full force looking for easy targets, and they are meaner and crueler than ever before.  No matter what, find something that builds your kids self confidence and feeling of self worth. These factors can be the differentiator in this cruel world we live in.

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