BJJ (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu - click to find out more) is a martial art that has totally improved my life in every aspect. I went from having very little confidence to being able to teach in front of a room full of people and demonstrate the techniques and skills that have changed my physical and mental well being for the better. When I look back over the last 10 years of training BJJ the only regret I have is that I didn't start at a younger age. My journey began at 22 years of age and although my life has improved vastly since then, I do often wonder how much better my school years could have been had I have had more confidence and self belief/self worth.
My parents never really encouraged me to pursue martial arts despite a brief stint in Tae Kwon Do and therefore I never got to fully experience the benefits of training martial arts through my younger years. This is the motive behind deciding to write this blog to make parents aware of the many benefits in training martial arts and BJJ in particular. Hopefully this list will help to understand the importance of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for young children and teenagers.
1. Improve Socialising skills - I have met some of my best friends through BJJ most of whom I never would have met without it due to the varying backgrounds and differing interests. Kids tend to stick with the same friends growing up and often find it difficult to integrate in to various circles at school. In a BJJ class this barrier is removed with students having a common interest and grounds to make long lasting friendships and bonds that wouldn't normally be formed in their day to day environment.
2. Develop Self-Belief - In our younger years it is difficult to build confidence and a lot of children can grow up with a low sense of self-esteem. With every small challenge overcome in BJJ children quickly gain confidence within themselves to be able to achieve bigger and believe in themselves to be able to take on any challenges life puts in front of them.
3. Competently Defend Themselves - Unfortunately within society there are many times when we will need to physically defend ourselves and hope that our loved ones can competently do the same. This doesn't mean being able to take down a group of masked attackers but rather understanding how to stay safe under the pressure of an attack. With the right techniques and live sparring, BJJ can give children the confidence to defend themselves and stay safe without the need for strikes.
4. Get More Active - Kids nowadays have many distractions from exercising and martial arts is a great way to keep your child active. For the whole class they will be stretching, moving, drilling and playing specific games that will improve their fitness and co-ordination to promote a healthier lifestyle.
5. Aiming For and Achieving Goals - The belt and ranking system in BJJ gives the student a constant target to be aiming for the next stripe/belt. Your child will become motivated to reach a short term goal and then immediately setting the next one. These goals can only be achieved with focus and consistency which will crossover into every day life.
6. Discipline - To make improvements in BJJ children will spend a lot of time perfecting their techniques through drilling and repetition which in turn requires a certain amount of discipline. The games and sparring on classes come with a certain set of rules which must be adhered to further promoting your child to focus and maintain discipline to progress.
7. Respect - To be able to learn a martial art your child must be able to show unwavering respect to their instructor/coach. Todays child culture often doesn't give much respect for adults and authority figures but having an instructor that can inspire children will give your child incentive to be respectful especially if they want to progress.
This list only contains seven of what I believe are the main benefits of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for kids. There are other ones such as improved listening skills, weight control, teamwork and all of these things will cross over into other areas of your childs life. Training is also something that you can do together as a family so that you can also gain similar benefits from BJJ. There are many gyms around nowadays so a BJJ school near to you should be easy to find. For those reading this in my local area check out my website and the classes that I have available for kids and adults too.