Updated: Oct 27, 2021
< Lashley Training Center >
By Sarah Elise
Over the last few decades, "the gentle art" of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has become increasingly popular as the new martial art to try. Thanks mostly credited to the Gracie family, Jiu Jitsu is one of the fastest growing sports in the world and can be the most transformational activity you choose for your child. As a parent, the reality is we have the ability to expose our kids to a number of different hobbies, sports, and activities. Oftentimes, martial arts are overlooked because we tend to choose those with which we feel comfortable or familiar. Truth is, above all other youth sports out there, Jiu Jitsu is by far the best investment for your child’s time and development. From basic mind and body awareness, confidence, and social skills to goal-setting, self-defense, and discipline, the benefits found in a solid Jiu Jitsu program are countless and well worth the commitment.
Coordination ~ Mind & Body awareness
Let’s be realistic - we didn’t all birth Olympians. And while we all wish our child was naturally an adept tiny ninja, coordination, mind and body awareness are fundamental learned behaviors. Because young children continue to develop fine motor skills throughout their adolescence, incorporating Jiu Jitsu into their lives tackles not just the basics of balance, core strength and body control, but also challenges kids to memorize and execute detailed escapes, submissions, and other techniques.
With coordination and awareness comes self confidence. Jiu Jitsu students naturally increase their confidence with each class. There is no hiding behind the best kid on the soccer team or goofing off while riding the pine on the sidelines. With routine warm-ups, situationals, games, and regular belt tests, you will see your shy, awkward, introverted child begin to blossom and grow into a strong, outgoing, confident jits master capable of arm-barring strangers.
Though it doesn’t fit the mold of a team-building sport like youth basketball, tee-ball, or soccer, Jiu Jitsu does something greater: it creates a community. Many of our kids go to school and spend their entire day around the same group of children. In most cases, youth team sports are an extension of that, same faces - different space. In both scenarios, there is every opportunity to become a number rather than a name and avoid conversation altogether. Jiu Jitsu, however, encourages socialization because the classes require students to interact with all participants. That’s several conversations, whether short or long, with numerous different personalities, ages, and genders in one single class.
As a parent, one of the most frustrating aspects of the job is the inevitable realization that we won’t always be there to protect our children. Life is hard, unfair, and cruel at times. As an alternative to bubble-wrapping our children or being a helicopter parent, enrolling kids in a Jiu Jitsu program can equip them with the proper mentality, tools and strategies to defend themselves in various scenarios. Many of the basic techniques taught in class can be applied to real world experiences, giving kids the confidence and knowledge to handle bullies they may face down the line.
One of the greatest feelings on earth is a sense of accomplishment. The single act of setting a realistic and attainable goal incites an entire process that ends with an amazing feeling of achievement. Research shows that goal setting at a young age triggers new behaviors, creates a path of aligned focus, establishes time management skills and structure, and promotes the sustaining of that momentum throughout life. With a solid curriculum and regular belt tests in Jiu Jitsu, the program introduces goal setting and encourages positive behaviors to achieve a sense of self-mastery.
Discipline & Respect
Whether you birthed a future valedictorian or the class clown, Jiu Jitsu is known for the discipline and structure it brings to anyone’s life. So often children lack basic respect and proper etiquette - eye contact when speaking or listening and a firm handshake among others. Jiu Jitsu builds discipline and enforces respect - not just for others but for oneself first. From making the bed every morning and following routines, the structure established over time will tame your wild child and instill a natural reverence for others as each class will continue to humble your child and help them learn from failures to ultimately succeed.
This isn’t your average seasonal sport. This is a lifestyle you’re building for your child - one that includes a plethora of benefits both short and long term. Jiu Jitsu builds healthy lifestyle habits, a strong immune system, and a greater sense of belonging and community. It is one of the only sports which challenges children physically while strengthening them mentally and emotionally. Students who commit to the program, respect the process, and believe it… can achieve it.