3 uncommon reasons why your kid should try jiu jitsu

Kids' classes on Monday and Wednesday 5pm, Saturday 10am

Kids' classes on Monday and Wednesday 5pm, Saturday 10am

John Lawrence
Hurricane Jiu Jitsu - Cleveland OH

If you've ever read a kids' class flyer for a martial arts school, they typically highlight the same stale bullet points. "Get your child in shape! Teach them confidence! Learn self defense!" And these points are quite valid. Brazilian jiu jitsu (BJJ) will provide your child with these things:

- Yes, your child will get in shape. BJJ is a unique form of high-intensity exercise that combines resistance training and cardiovascular training. There are few better forms of total body conditioning.

- Yes, your child will develop confidence. A child (or adult!) who feels fit in a healthy body, while having the skill and knowledge to subdue any physical threat will intrinsically have a strong sense of confidence.

- Yes, your child will learn self defense. BJJ is considered by many to be the single most effective form of self defense. And children learn far faster than adults.

So enough with the obvious. The three bullet points above are relatively apparent to the casual observer. Let's review some essential benefits of putting your child in Brazilian jiu jitsu that are rarely discussed. In the many years of my life that I have poured into BJJ, I have taught hundreds of people. And I have seen the following transformations consistently take place in children and adults alike:

-- BJJ will teach your child empathy. Probably not quite what you were expecting? Empathy is defined as the ability to understand and share the feelings of another person. Let me be the first to tell you that even when practiced carefully, BJJ is difficult and somewhat painful. The pain that your child will experience in a BJJ class is a healthy kind of pain. The pain of working muscles, of burning lungs, and even the mental pain of losing a match. This pain will help your child develop a sense of empathy. By experiencing the challenge of discomfort in a controlled environment under an experienced instructor, they will begin to understand that what feels unpleasant for them will also feel unpleasant for those around them. A well trained child is never a bully. Put your child in BJJ classes, and watch them become a better person.

-- BJJ will change your child's perception of "difficult." The adults at Hurricane Jiu Jitsu occupy a variety of jobs. Concrete workers, law students, doctors, and tradesman. Ask them "what's the hardest part of your day?" and across the board, the answer will be "jiu jitsu class." In our modern world, a child's most difficult task is often deciding what to watch on Netflix. Everything is designed to be easy. The distance between your child and most things is the length of a button-push. 

I have a four year old daughter. When I ask her to put on her shoes, she'll sometimes tell me "I can't, it's too hard." The logical part of my brain chuckles and says 'she's only a four year old,' but somewhere in the dreaded depths of my subconscious, I worry (completely illogically) that she will carry this attitude throughout her life. Putting your child in BJJ classes will recalibrate their definition of "difficult." Assuming you read paragraph above, I won't need to reiterate how incredibly difficult it is to practice BJJ. When they compare yard work, chores, and homework to BJJ class, these tasks will seem simple in contrast.

-- BJJ will help your child manage their biology. Our children's bodies are not meant for the sedentary world in which they live. Our children are built to move, jump, run, climb, and discover. They spend most of their time in environments that discourage these activities. Think about the average child that is diagnosed with ADHD. What is this child actually guilty of? Not wanting to sit immobile in a chair for 8 hours, listening to a lecture on a subject in which they have no interest, given by a person with whom they cannot relate?

Children need a healthy, nurturing outlet for the explosion of energy happening in their bodies. Put them in a BJJ class! They will spend the hour running, stretching, moving each other's bodies around, drilling, and sparring. And they will leave tired every day. They will eat better, sleep better, and behave better.

If you'd like to give your child the gift of Brazilian jiu jitsu, our kids' classes take place on Monday and Wednesday at 5:00pm, and Saturday at 10:00am. Visit http://www.hurricanejj.com/kids/ for more info. See you on the mats!