Children’s Martial Arts Classes
Kids Martial Arts classes have been running at Stealth BJJ for a few years now. Recently, we have expanded the timetable to six days a week for ages 2-5, 5-7 and 7+. More parents are recognising the benefits that Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has to offer their children. So, at a point in their lives when they are learning lots of new things, why should your children be training Jiu Jitsu?
I had to put this first because it is the definitely the most important reason of any I’m going to list. If it isn’t fun your children are not going to continue training for a long time and reap the many other benefits BJJ has to offer! All the classes are focused around the skills involved in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. The techniques are very similar to what is taught in the adult classes, but the delivery is different, especially for the younger children. It makes exercise, problem solving and confidence building a pleasure. Finding enjoyment in activity and learning, is something that will help children on and off the mats. From what I have seen at Stealth BJJ the kids are certainly having fun.
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu classes are pretty much constant movement. Moving around for the 30 – 45 minutes of a class, is great exercise. From the warm up to the techniques/sparring and a few games at the end of class, children definitely get a sweat on. The classes cater for different levels of athleticism though and it’s a gradual individual process to build up fitness levels. Due to the type of activity involved in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu it would also count as a vigorous and muscle strengthening activity, as recommended in the NHS Guidelines for physical activity for young people ( http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/fitness/Pages/physical-activity-guidelines-for-young-people.aspx )
Learning Brazilian Jiu Jitsu requires a child to learn detailed techniques. For the younger age groups this is greatly simplified, but as your children get older the techniques remain the same, but more details are added. At first they might not quite work for them, but children are great at picking things up and it doesn’t take long for things to start flowing. This means that they have to learn to make the techniques work for them and they are much better at doing this than the adults! In doing this they are figuring out what the issues are, what they can tweak to get the desired outcome. Learning how their body works. Being constantly challenged is a great way to develop problem solving skills. The second and probably equally as important problem solving skill, will be learning to ask questions. Everyone, not just children can sometimes feel awkward asking questions openly. In any jiu jitsu class, questions are encouraged. Whether it is whilst the technique is being shown, or whilst they are drilling. Being in a positive environment to ask questions, can really help build confidence too.
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a very social sport. All the children that come into the academy are equal no matter what! It is just as rewarding for the instructors seeing a less athletic child overcome obstacles as a natural athlete that may train! They are all working as a team to get better. They are building trust and helping other kids too in order to improve. By having fun, exercising and working through BJJ problems together makes them feel part of that team. It’s a great way to build good and positive friendships.
Control and Respect
BJJ is a physical activity and any physical activity needs elements of control in different aspects. This is the responsibility of the coaches and the children themselves. They learn that the coach has to control the class so everyone learns. Being able to control how their body moves is also another important part of BJJ. As is respecting your training partners. Ultimately they learn emotional control too. Being pinned in a bad position and getting angry about it, will not get you out. Focusing and doing the technique however will. Learning to accept that you can not always win, but everyone is improving together and developing attributes that are not only important on the mat, but in life too!!
It Actually isn’t Violent
Despite being a martial art, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is not violent. There are actually many references to BJJ being considered human chess. There is no kicking or punching during classes or when children practice on one another. It is all about control of limbs and holds, and these aren’t even painful. If the children feel any pain or excessive discomfort they are taught to tap and restart again. The classes are taught on soft mats, with very attentive coaches helping and watching them. There is much less potential for injury whilst learning BJJ than most ball games.
These are just a few of the reasons children should train Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Trust me if you ask any adult on the mat, they will all say they wished they had started training when they were younger.
Thanks to Pete Wilson for the write up and Carl Walker (Foto Rolls Photography) for the awesome pictures!