Put Your Kid in Jiu Jitsu

As I was perusing my Facebook news feed last week, I came across an article that struck near and dear to my heart.  It was an article about the surfing legend Kelly Slater, and in the article he was quoted as saying "put your kid in Jiu-Jitsu before other sports."

As a BJJ Instructor who has put his heart and soul into a kids program, and teaching kids, this was music to my ears.  One of the points made in the article, and I can’t verify if it was Slater who said it, but it was “Jiu-Jitsu is something so simple and harmless that any kid can practice it”. 

Again, I am not sure if Mr. Slater said this or not, but I wholeheartedly agree…..100%.  I would however add that ‘Jiu-Jitsu is something so simple and harmless that any kid can practice……given that they are being taught by an instructor who knows what he/she is doing, and they practice in a safe manner!”

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a lengthy process to learn and the benefits are immense.   I always lead with the importance of safety in Jiu-Jitsu in my kids and adult classes.  In my seminars and online programs you will see that safety is a cornerstone to good jiu-jitsu.  You can’t train if you are hurt, so we train hard, and we train smart……so that we can train for the rest of our lives!

Injuries in any sport doesn’t help anyone!

Let’s take a little deeper look into the benefits and add to what Mr. Slater was saying.  Yes, in a safe environment, with a good teacher who knows BJJ, Jiu-Jitsu is indeed something that is ‘simple and harmless that any kid can practice it’.

The way the Gracie family developed Jiu-Jitsu, it does not matter how big, how fast, how strong, or how athletic a person is……..they can develop into someone who can protect themselves in a crisis situation.

You can’t say the same about other youth sports; size, speed, strength  and athleticism DOES MATTER!

Football: it sure pays to be big, fast, and strong in football! 

Basketball: you’ve got to be fast, quick, and in most cases have so height to you!
Baseball: you’ve got to be coordinated, have some speed, perhaps some arm strength, and good hand eye coordination
Soccer: one needs some speed, agility, hand eye (or foot) coordination

With jiu-jitsu……..you need a kimono (a uniform), period.  That is a low barrier to entry, and all schools who teach Kids Jiu-Jitsu, have kimonos on hand, and will offer some FREE classes to see if this sport is right for your child.

Again, an individual does not need to be big, fast, strong or athletic, and the reason for this is that Jiu-Jitsu, the way the Gracie’s developed it, maximized the use of proper LEVERAGE, TIMING, and TECHNIQUE….. over brute strength.  The Gracies also have always been proponents of having a great diet, and be physically fit with good cardiovascular fitness.  They essentially made this sport a lifestyle, a way of life. 

With both weighing in at around 140 lbs., in the mean streets of Brazil, some 80 years back; brothers Carlos and Helio Gracie were developing and testing their style of Jiu-Jitsu to all comers who would ‘fight’ them.  The faith they had in their system was real, and they developed this martial art to a point where any Average Joe or Jane, or any child, could practice it, and become very proficient in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu.  Their son’s and grandson’s are carrying on this approach to Jiu-Jitsu as fighters, teachers, school owners, and in the martial arts world, celebrities!

Taking Gracie Jiu-Jitsu at face value, as one of the most effective, if not THE most effective Self-Defense Systemin the world…….why wouldn’t we want to teach it to our kids Jiu-Jitsu?

As the Gracies’, their cousins the Machados’, and other HUGE names in the evolution of BJJ have perfected the art in the United States and around the world, and have changed millions of lives for the better in the process….

I simply put together a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu system, using the leverage, timing and techniques that I have literally learned from the likes of Rorion Gracie, Royce Gracie and Rigan Machado among others.  NOTE: I am not anywhere near the level of practitioner as these guys. These guys are heroes, champions, LEGENDS!

I am one of those AVERAGE JOES that I referred to before.  I just did not quit, and I simply put together a system to teach kids safely.  And yes, I am a very good teacher!

So with all that background, why Jiu-Jitsu for YOUR CHILD?

I’m going to share five reasons with you why Jiu-Jitsu can change your child’s world, and you already know the first one.

  1. It does not matter how big or fast or strong or athletic one is if they want to train and become effective in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.   One can be slow, clumsy, small, weak…..it does not matter.  Come to class, learn the lessons, stick with it, and you can become proficient in Jiu-Jitsu.  Some can become champions, ALL can become proficient enough to walk with confidence and protect themselves.
  2. Confidence:  If a child has not done well in other sports, or is undersized, or lacks confidence, they will find that Jiu-Jitsu is something that over time they can do, and their confidence will soar.  The key, again, is proper technique, leverage and timing. (this is a recording…..haha)
  3. Focus:  Kids who lacks focus in school or at home, who begin training in Jiu-Jitsu, will indeed be able to ‘plug in’ to the classes.  These classes require self-control, respect and, yes indeed,  FOCUS!  The repetition of the techniques will assist in this new-found focus!
  4. Character:  In Jiu-Jitsu, you will be put into some amazing tough positions, you will learn that over time, that you can get out of these tough positions.  You will build character by the problem solving that working on the mats entail.  In addition, we work with the kids on a WORLD CLASS Character Development System.  Our CORE Character program is second to none in working with children on topics such as Respect, Courage, and Determination.  There are also 47 other key topics that we cover with our children over the course of each year.  I’m concerned with the overall growth and well-being of our children.  Character Development is a key element in a good Jiu-Jitsu system for kids.
  5. Self-Defense:   Please note that I’ve listed Self-Defense as the last topic.  However, when parents call for their children to take a martial art, I ask them what they are looking for, and more times than not……they mention self-defense or dealing with a bullying situation.  With Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, the Self-Defense is a given.  It is a proven system, and the child will “get it” and they will be able to defend themselves.  Note: this is not an overnight deal.  Just like baseball or football or soccer, they must practice. And if they practice, over time they will get it and will have it the rest of their lives.

These are only five of the reasons you should put your kids in a legit BJJ school.  There are many other benefits that you will see almost immediately in your child as they progress in BJJ.

Remember, do your research on the school, make sure the instructor knows what they are doing, make sure the instructor has your child’s best interest at heart, and make sure they practice with great safety precautions in place.

Hey, the way I look at it...if it's good enough for a surfing legend like Kelly Slater, ity's good enough for us mere mortals and our children, right?

Train Hard.  Train Smart.  Train for LIFE!

“Put Your Kid In Jiu-Jitsu Before Other Sports” ~~Kelly Slater

Professor Larry Shealy, BS, MBA
Rigan Machado Black Belt Instructor
Founder, Kid-Jitsu®