The Not-So-Obvious Benefits of BJJ for Kids

guerrilla-bjj-reno-kids-bjjWe’ve written before about the advantages of BJJ for kids, but it’s a topic worthy of a second discussion. Guerrilla BJJ here in Reno is proud to teach both kids and teen classes, and it’s amazing to see the impact that this sport has on our students – on and off the mats.

the bread and butter part

Brazilian Jiu-jitsu is called “the gentle art,” not because it isn’t explosive (it is) but because the goal is learning how to control your opponent without actually causing harm. That’s the bread and butter of all grappling sports, and it’s most true of BJJ. The idea is the same, no matter the situation – shorten the distance between you and your opponent to initiate a clinch. To do this, you use a mix of takedowns, trips and throws to take the action to the ground. Once you’re there, you use different holds and positions to control your opponent.

This level of control requires awareness and focus, two words you wouldn’t use to describe the average kid. But what if they had an activity that fostered those abilities? Imagine how they’d translate to other areas of a kid’s life – school, chores, homework, you name it.

And that’s not all.

While they’re learning and later honing their focus and awareness, kids are also improving things like their balance, reflexes, weight distribution and flexibility. And it all happens during teaching and sparring sessions that are at once playful, fun and informative. I mean, these are kids, right? The goal is to keep them focused on the task at hand, and we do that with games that are instructional and engaging.

the impact off the mats

When children are consistently engaged in an activity that teaches focus and awareness, they’re stimulating their mind – not just their body. They learn to fail, and to try again. They learn that hard work does indeed pay off, and they learn that problem solving is best approached by breaking down the problem first. These are critical parts of a child’s character, and you can practically see them being formed, right there on the mat.

That’s why the right school – and the right instructors – really do matter. Think about the impact your child’s coach or instructor has during these formative years. It’s never a mistake to expose your children to the people who model the kinds of behavior you hope they’ll learn.

learning more than just takedowns

To the untrained eye, it may appear that you child isn’t doing much more than rolling around. But give it time, and look a little deeper. Children who practice BJJ really do learn so much. Takedowns are one thing, eventually, but learning how to peacefully resolve a problem, what it means to be respectful, and how it feels to finally succeed after failing – those are the real benefits.

want to learn more?

If you’re considering BJJ for your child, we hope you’ll consider Guerrilla BJJ at Freestyle Martial Arts Academy. We invite you to tour our facility and meet our instructors, and to sit in on a class. Learn more about our getting started offer, or just come on in.

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