11 Tips for Teaching Children the Fundamentals of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
Guiding the next generation of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) practitioners is a rewarding experience. As coaches and mentors, we have the privilege of empowering younger generations to develop the skills they need to succeed in the sport.
However, we must understand that teaching BJJ to children is much different than coaching adults. To ensure that kids are developing the right mentality and learning proper techniques, here are some tips for teaching children the fundamentals of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
How To Teach Kids BJJ Effectively:
- Start with basic balance and movement drills.
- Be ______ with your child's progress.
- Encourage your child to attend classes regularly.
- Ensure that your child has proper attire and equipment.
- Focus on __________ over winning or losing.
- Teach your child the importance of ________ and _________ in the dojo.
- Help your child set achievable goals and celebrate their achievements.
- Provide a positive and supportive environment for your child to learn and grow.
- Emphasize the importance of safety during training.
- Encourage your child to _________ and seek ________ from their ________.
- (Bonus Section) - BJJ Teaches Kids Social Skills Above All
Tip #1 - Start with basic balance and movement drills
If you want your kids to learn Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ), one of the best ways to motivate them is by setting a good example. You can do this by going and learning it with them. BJJ can be a lot of fun!
You can make it even more enjoyable by incorporating games, challenges, and other activities into your training sessions. This will help your child develop a love for the sport and a desire to improve. Playful learning is explored more in this article: The Importance of Playful Training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
It's important to be supportive of your child's progress, even if they are not picking it up as quickly as you might like. Be patient and encourage them to keep practicing. You can also reward progress with small treats, such as a favorite snack or a new BJJ gear. Submission Shark is a favorite among many youth practitioners.
Whether it's shrimping, technical stand-ups, or more dynamic movements, developing a strong foundation is key. Start by teaching your child the basics of balance and movement, such as proper stances and footwork. This will be essential for them to progress further in their BJJ journey.
Tip #2 - Be patient with your child's progress
Being patient with your progress is important when learning Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, just like it is with any other skill. If you're a child learning BJJ, it's important to remember that you won't become a black belt overnight. It takes time and practice to improve.
As a parent, encourage them to keep practicing and learning, even if they don't seem to be improving as fast as you'd like. Everyone learns at their own pace. Some might be natural on the mats, others may need more time. Don't discourage them. Rather empower and motivate them to keep trying.
Tip #3 - Encourage your child to attend classes regularly
Attending BJJ classes regularly is important for children who want to learn the sport. It's a good way to learn new techniques, practice with other students, and improve your skills. As a parent, you can encourage your child to attend classes regularly by doing the following:
- Set a good example: If you want your child to attend BJJ classes regularly, then one of the best ways to motivate them is to go with them! By attending classes with your child, you show them that BJJ is important and that you are committed to helping them learn.
- Make it fun: BJJ can be a lot of fun! Encourage your child to participate in games and other activities during class. This will help them develop a love for the sport and look forward to attending classes.
- Be supportive: Let your child know that you are proud of them for attending classes and practicing regularly. Encourage them to keep going, even if they feel discouraged or tired.
- Reward progress: Celebrate your child's achievements along the way. Maybe they mastered a new technique or performed well in a tournament. Whatever it is, acknowledge their hard work and progress.
- Have realistic expectations: Remember that learning BJJ takes time and practice. Don't expect your child to become an expert overnight. Encourage them to do their best and enjoy the journey.
By following these tips, you can help your child attend BJJ classes regularly and enjoy the learning process. Consistent repetition and drilling are essential to becoming a proficient Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner. With your support and encouragement, your child can become an expert and experience the joys of being a part of this community.
Tip #4 - Ensure that your child has proper attire and equipment
Children need to wear the proper attire and equipment when practicing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Wearing the right clothes and gear can help prevent injuries and make it easier to move around during training. Here are some tips for ensuring that your child has the proper attire and equipment:
- Check with your child's BJJ school to see what is required: Some schools have specific requirements for what students should wear during classes. Make sure you know what these requirements are so that you can provide the appropriate clothing and gear for your child.
- Wear athletic gear: It's important to wear clothes that are comfortable and will keep you cool while sweating. Avoid wearing cotton t-shirts, as they can get heavy and stretched out after multiple wears. A rash guard is a good alternative, as it is made of spandex and nylon or polyester, which can help keep your child comfortable during practice.
- Invest in proper equipment: Your child may need to have certain equipment, such as a BJJ uniform (also known as a gi), a mouth guard, and a rash guard. Make sure you have these items for your child so that they can fully participate in classes.
- Keep everything clean and well-maintained: Make sure your child's clothing and gear are clean and in good condition before each class. This will help prevent the spread of germs (like ringworm and other microbial problems) and ensure that your child is safe and comfortable during training.
- Even when learning the basics, being well-dressed can help foster confidence because it shows that you take the activity seriously. So, make sure your child has the right attire and equipment for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu classes. We cover this topic in more depth here: The Importance of Dressing Well For BJJ Training
By ensuring that your child has the proper attire and equipment, you can help them stay safe and comfortable during Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practice. From a hygiene perspective, having extra gear in your laundry rotation can help prevent rolling in dirty clothing. As a parent, you can help your child get the most out of their BJJ classes by providing them with proper attire and equipment.
Tip #5 - Focus on proper technique over winning or losing
It's common for kids to want to win when they participate in sports or martial arts, but it's important to emphasize that proper technique is more important than winning or losing. In Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, focusing on proper technique can help kids develop good habits early on and prevent them from developing bad habits that could limit their potential.
By mastering proper technique, kids can learn how to use their body weight and leverage to control their opponent, which can be especially important if they are smaller or weaker than their opponent. Focusing on technique can also help kids become more confident in their abilities and more successful in competitions.
Parents and instructors need to encourage kids to focus on proper technique, rather than just winning or losing. This can help kids develop a love for martial art and keep them motivated to continue practicing and improving. Rather than creating a sense of self-worth through external accolades, the enjoyment of developing mastery of a martial art through practice can be an important part of the journey. This can translate to other areas of life as well and is an important lesson to teach kids while they are young.
Parents and instructors can help kids focus on proper technique by emphasizing the importance of good form, giving positive feedback for correct technique, and correcting mistakes early on before they become bad habits. With proper instruction and encouragement, kids can become skilled Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioners while also learning the value of discipline and hard work.
Tip #6 - Teach your child the importance of respect and discipline in the dojo
In Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, respect and discipline are important values that kids should learn both on and off the mat. This means being respectful to instructors, fellow students, and even opponents during competitions.
Respect is a key aspect of martial arts etiquette, which is important for learning and practicing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Children should learn to bow to their instructors and fellow students as a sign of respect and gratitude for the opportunity to learn and improve their skills. They should also learn to listen carefully to instructions and show respect to their opponents during sparring matches.
Discipline is another important value that kids should learn in the dojo. This means following the rules and regulations set by the instructor and practicing self-control and self-discipline in their everyday lives. Kids need to understand that discipline is necessary for achieving their goals, both in martial arts and in other areas of life.
By teaching kids the importance of respect and discipline in the dojo, parents and instructors can help them develop important social skills that will benefit them throughout their lives. These values can help children become more self-confident, respectful, and disciplined individuals who are capable of achieving their goals and making a positive impact in their communities.
Tip #7 - Help your child set achievable goals and celebrate their achievements
Setting achievable goals and celebrating achievements are important aspects of learning Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Kids need to understand that progress takes time and effort and that setting realistic goals can help them stay motivated and focused on their training.
When helping your child set goals, it's important to avoid unrealistic expectations. Setting goals that are too difficult or unrealistic can lead to frustration and disappointment, which can ultimately discourage your child from continuing their training. Instead, encourage your child to set just-out-of-reach goals that are challenging, but achievable with hard work and dedication.
To help your child set specific goals, break down their training into smaller, more manageable parts. For example, if your child is working towards earning their next belt, set checkpoints for them to achieve along the way, such as mastering a certain technique or winning a sparring match. Long-term goals are okay, but sometimes a stripe at a time is a better approach.
Celebrating achievements is also important for keeping kids motivated and engaged in their training. This could mean rewarding your child with a special treat or activity when they achieve a specific goal, or simply taking the time to recognize and acknowledge their progress and hard work.
By helping your child set achievable goals and celebrating their achievements, you can help them stay motivated and engaged in their Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training. This can ultimately help them develop important skills such as perseverance, dedication, and self-discipline, which will benefit them both on and off the mat.
Tip #8 - Provide a positive and supportive environment for your child to learn and grow
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu can offer many benefits for children. It can help them to lose weight, improve their physical condition, develop self-confidence, reduce stress and anxiety, and improve their reflexes. For children to get the most out of their BJJ training, it is important to provide a positive and supportive environment for them to learn and grow.
This means that parents should encourage their children to try their best and provide them with positive feedback and reinforcement when they succeed. It is also important to avoid putting too much pressure on children to perform or achieve a certain level of success in BJJ. Instead, parents should focus on the process of learning and growing, and celebrate their child's progress and achievements along the way.
Creating a supportive environment also means ensuring that children are safe and comfortable during their training. Parents should make sure their child has the appropriate equipment and attire, as well as access to knowledgeable and responsible coaches. With a positive and supportive environment, children can enjoy the many benefits of BJJ and develop important skills and values that will serve them well throughout their lives.
Many young practitioners step onto the mats to become empowered after being bullied. Don't forget to remind your child that. Self-defense is not an excuse for violence. With great power comes great responsibility. Although they are just learning the basics, even simple techniques can be used maliciously. Lead them towards a life of protection rather than provocation.
Tip #9 - Emphasize the importance of safety during training
For kids practicing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, safety is very important. It's important to remember that BJJ is a martial art that emphasizes technique over strength. When rolling with a training partner, it's important to use proper technique and not rely on brute force. This means not using any striking moves like punching or kicking, and not slamming your training partner on the mat.
Instead, BJJ students should focus on grappling techniques like proper positional control which are meant to subdue, calm and submit (if needed) to their opponent without causing injury. By using proper techniques, kids can learn how to defend themselves and control their opponents safely.
It's also important to remember that safety is a team effort. Both you and your training partner should be mindful of each other's safety during practice. If you feel that you or your partner are at risk of getting hurt, stop and talk to your coach or instructor. With proper technique and a focus on safety, kids can enjoy learning BJJ while minimizing the risk of injury.
Developing the capability to flow roll early on is something that shouldn't be neglected. The philosophy of flow is powerful in itself, but from a longevity standpoint, it's also important to appreciate the safety aspect. The idea of flow rolling is to move through various positions in a fluid and safe manner. This differs from live rolling which is more intense and can be dangerous for children.
Of course, turning it up and making realistic scenarios is part of the learning process and should be introduced safely as kids progress. But as BJJ beginners, flow rolling is the best way to go.
Tip #10 - Encourage your child to ask questions and seek feedback from their instructors
When your child is learning Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ), it is important that they feel comfortable asking questions and seeking feedback from their instructors. Here are some ways to encourage your child to do so:
- Make sure that the classroom environment is a safe and welcoming place for questions.
- Praise your child when they ask questions. This will encourage them to continue to seek out knowledge.
- Teach your child about open-ended and closed questions. This will help them to ask more specific and targeted questions.
- Encourage your child to slow down and take the time to ask questions when they need clarification.
- Provide opportunities for your child to practice asking questions. You can do this by asking them questions about their training or helping them come up with questions to ask their instructor.
Shyness is something that many kids struggle with, but it can be overcome. By encouraging your child to ask questions about something they are passionate about and encouraging their natural curiosity, you can help them become more confident in their ability to reach out and get the answers they need. Don't shame anyone for asking questions, even if they are fairly basic. Doing so may cause social anxiety and can eventually lead to a lack of interest in the sport.
BJJ Teaches Kids Social Skills Above All
Learning how to lose gracefully and win with humility is one of the most important lessons that BJJ teaches kids. If a child is ripping off limbs on a light sparring day, no other kids are going to want to grapple with them. The same goes for a child who takes losing too hard and can't handle not winning every time. It's just not a fun situation to play with from their perspective.
You aren't just training them on the art of BJJ but also on how to play fairly and charitably. Not every child (most actually!) won't pursue the path of becoming a career martial artist. However, life skills such as being able to play social games as they grow are invaluable. BJJ is a game-based sport and to be successful, you must learn the rules of engagement on the mats.
If your child is a star athlete, sometimes letting the training partner with slower development win even just 10% of the time can work wonders for their confidence. This can create a lifelong friendship. After all, life is much more enjoyable with allies, right? Even better if they are formidable in the art of Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
As parents, it's our job to help guide our children and teach them the right way to do things - even if it means letting them lose a few bouts. BJJ is so much more than just physical training and competition, it's about learning how to be successful in life and learning how to use your physical abilities respectfully. So, don't forget the social aspect of BJJ training and ensure that your child is learning these valuable life lessons.
In conclusion, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu can be a wonderful martial art for children to learn. It can help them build strength, confidence, and discipline while also having fun.
If you're an adult looking to teach a child the fundamentals of BJJ, there are some important tips to keep in mind. But we forget sometimes, right? That's why many Submission Shark readers bookmark these articles for future reference.
As parents (or mentors), it's important to remember that martial art is about teaching children life skills. Young grapplers are the future of this sport.
Overall, if you follow these tips and remember to have fun, teaching a child the fundamentals of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu can be a rewarding experience for both you and the child. If you are curious if your BJJ instructor is right for your child's martial arts journey, feel free to check out this article: What Makes A Good BJJ Instructor? (12 Traits of Great Coaches)
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