In an age when kids are all too likely to sit at home and play video games, the benefits of getting out there and learning something new at the same time as becoming fit and making new friends has never been more clear.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a brilliant way for children to socialize, improve their fitness and have fun.
1) Learn discipline and respect
There isn’t anything quite like how martial arts teach children (and people of all ages) the importance of discipline and respect.
Discipline and respect are attributes that require training and attention. These are not functions that are built-in to the mind and are unchangeable. Instead, through proper practice, discipline and respect can be developed.
These attributes extend far beyond the experience inside a BJJ class. The ability and appreciation for learning from an instructor are much the same as the education system in which children learn from their teachers. By understanding and appreciating the fundamentals of education, children will enjoy learning.
By respecting the learning process, which is fundamental to BJJ, children can develop the same respect for teachers and other authority figures in other walks of life. In effect, this could (and should) accelerate their education through schooling and their career in the future.
2) Confidence through self-defense
The ability to defend yourself could be the most underrated skill of all.
If a child develops an understanding of the techniques that are required to defend themselves, they will undoubtedly become more confident.
Unlike some other martial arts, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu does not teach ‘flashy’ or unrealistic movements or techniques that are not applicable to the real world. BJJ balances the aspects of sport BJJ (competition) and self-defense (street) BJJ so that all participants can use their skills when required.
Self-defense is important for anyone, but especially for a child.
For many reasons, punching and kicking is usually not an ideal option for self-defense. Firstly, striking in an uncontrolled situation where anything could happen. Even in a self-defense situation, striking is not always the preferred way to defend yourself.
The preferred way to defend yourself should be to neutralize a situation and not cause damage while avoiding taking damage yourself. In this case, no one gets hurt.
A child who has experience in BJJ will be able to control an attacker and neutralize them in a realistic scenario. They will develop the ability to take an attacker to the ground and control them. They will also understand how to escape uncomfortable positions or avoid being pinned underneath a bigger and stronger attacker.
Children with an understanding of how to defend themselves in a safe and controlled manner will have unrivaled levels of confidence.
It is important not to mistake confidence with an inflated ego. Martial arts is instructed with the idea that people should not go out and use their newly acquired skills unless it is absolutely required. Instead, the ideology behind Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is learning how to defend yourself from an attacker without having to punch, kick, or inflict damage on another person.
3) Develop friendships and socialize
The physical and mental advantages of learning Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu are undeniable, however, the benefits that can be attained by meeting and making new long-lasting friendships can be the essence of the sport for children.
By training with other children of different ages, it ensures that a child develops necessary social skills from their beginnings. These social skills will stay with a child through their education years and into their careers and will ensure that they enjoy success in many aspects of life.
Rather than playing undertaking activities or hobbies that do not improve social skills, BJJ provides the opportunity for children to enjoy physical exercise at the same time as learning a martial art with friends.
4) Improve body awareness and coordination
Developing advanced coordination and body awareness from a young age is an important ability that can have long-lasting effects.
Essentially, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu teaches individual movements which are tied together through multiple series or sequences. At times, BJJ might require advanced flexibility or body awareness. Children will learn the fundamentals of movement and these skills can help them with their BJJ and also translate into success in other sports and activities.
Through practice, children can develop their bodies and coordination, so they do not feel uncomfortable in any situation. With the development of these essential mechanics, children will be able to confidently handstand, cartwheel, and perform many other body coordination related movements.
These skills can apply to any other sport, as well. Advanced body awareness and coordination ensures that a child can enjoy success in many other sports and parts of everyday life.
5) The excitement of a positive hobby
At the end of it all, though, the enjoyment and positivity of training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is one of the most important reasons a child should learn BJJ.
Can you remember what it feels like to look forward to something so much that you count down the days? Maybe that is how you look at your weekend once you hit the mid-week bump.
As a child, it is important to have a hobby that brings an overwhelming sense of enjoyment and excitement into their lives. It is not the ‘bad’ type of hobby, either. There are hobbies that could mitigate their learning or other aspects of their overall development.
Instead, BJJ may just be one of the very few ways that a child can simultaneously improve their physical attributes at the same time as developing their mind and improving their social skills.
All of these acquired skills will help build the foundation for a life of success and positivity.