The Most Important Question for a Kids’ BJJ Program

There are a lot of great reasons to get your child involved in martial arts and Brazilian jiu jitsu in particular. But finding a good program is key. A child’s introduction to BJJ needs to be positive, or you run the risk of turning him or her off the experience entirely. As you consider your options here in Reno or elsewhere, this is the most important question for a kid’s BJJ program.

Setting Up for Success

The best way to introduce kids to BJJ differs from adults in a significant way. With kids, especially in the beginning, the focus should be on fun and games. And the younger they are, the more fun it should be. If you aren’t making it fun, kids lose interest quickly, and they’ll never benefit from the real skills of rolling. Things like discipline and control come much later for many kids. When they’re small, BJJ is largely about exercise, body awareness, balance, and laying the foundation for all the skills to come.

As you consider BJJ programs, ask yourself one question — will my kid have fun here? Answering that question requires a little more legwork than scanning a website or making a phone call. While you can hit the highlights this way in terms of things like class length, instructor experience, and general school philosophy, you really need to see a class in action, so make a point of heading over in person to observe. BJJ is a physical sport, after all, and teaching kids how to grapple safely and effectively really starts with the mind. Fun and games may seem like just that, but in a great BJJ program for kids, they’re also teaching kids foundational skills.

As you observe, consider the dynamic. Are the kids in class having fun? Are they focused on the instructor and the task at hand? Pay attention to the age range in class, and how the instructor handles differences in developmental abilities, ages, and skill levels. How long do classes last? How do the kids seem at the beginning, during class, and at the end? Can you picture your child in class, responding well to the structure and dynamic?

BJJ schools all have their own approach to the sport, and that’s as it should be. But it does mean that not every BJJ school is automatically a great fit for every child. Teaching children how to grapple is a skill, and the instructors with the experience and understanding to emphasize fun in class are doing it right. For small children, starting BJJ can be a wonderful way to channel energy, get some exercise, and lay the groundwork for skills to come. Start things off by focusing on the school that will do all of that by keeping class fun, and odds are good your child will do well.

If you’re in Reno, we invite you to learn more about Guerrilla BJJ at Freestyle Martial Arts. Contact us today to get started.

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