BJJ For Kids – Why Kama Jiu-Jitsu?
by Ryan Young, Professor, Kama Jiu-Jitsu
Passing on a good set of values to our children is one of the best things we can offer our children. Another good thing we can offer our kids is the opportunity to learn a martial art.
The martial arts are about self-defense and physical fitness. There are many choices for parents here in Orange County. They fall into both traditional, and “modern” programs. Parents can enroll their children in karate, tae kwon do, boxing, judo, and wrestling. With the explosion of the Ultimate Fighting Challenge (UFC), more “modern” programs have evolved. “Modern” programs involve muay thai, kickboxing, mixed marital arts (MMA), and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (Kids BJJ).
All martial arts training for kids helps to instill discipline, physical fitness, goal attainment, and self confidence.
Anyone who has seen schoolyard scuffles in real-time, knows they almost always end up on the ground. Invariably, you start off with one kid striking another. At some point, the other kid “rushes” the first kid, and the fight is now “on.” What happens perhaps 99% of the time, they are both on the ground, grappling, if you will.
This just happens.
Most kids don’t consciously take their opponent down. Usually, this environment favors the larger kid, since both kids have no training and/or knowledge of fighting on the ground.
In an environment of no training on either side, size wins out most times.
At Kama Jiu Jitsu, we offer parents a kids’ BJJ program that is different. First, our kids BJJ program teaches our children and teenagers the RIckson Gracie Jiu Jitsu self defense program. Your child/teen will definitely be proficient at dealing with a bully who takes them down to the ground. Often, it’ll be your child who decides to take the scuffle to the ground. Your child will learn early on to protect him/herself in any situation.
Second, your child will learn how to subdue their opponent, protecting themselves from any further attempts at damage by their opponent. Also, they will be able to subdue their opponent causing the opponent little harm.
Third, your child, having learned to subdue his/her opponent without causing permanent harm, will not be a “walking lawsuit” for you, the parent.
We cannot tell you how important it is for our children to be able to protect themselves from violence while avoiding potential lawsuits for their parents (especially in litigious states like California). Many martial arts schools advocate teaching kids to strike at a young age. With anyone, a well trained martial artist will be no match for someone who is untrained. Imagine a teenager trained to strike with devastating efficiency over a simple misunderstanding with another student at school. Often, young egos are involved and reputations are at stake. The untrained student lashes out, and strikes the trained student. The trained student’s immediate reaction is to throw a combination involving a jab, a right cross, a low kick to the leg, and finishing up with a kick to the head. Given this possibility, what do you think the likelihood is that the untrained student ends up in the hospital (or worse)?
The trained student was merely protecting himself at the outset. His training unleashed a flurry of strikes that each have the potential of ending the confrontation quickly. The problem, is that those same strikes, used without proper restraint and control, can cause a disproportionate amount of damage compared to what the original confrontation called for. In this example, we need to assume our trained student can exercise restraint in the “heat of the battle.”
That’s a lot to ask of a teenager.
This sad possibility is not the trained student’s fault. It’s not even the parent’s fault, though you can bet there will likely be a lawsuit targeting the parent.
The fault lies in the training. If you train a student to respond with strikes, that’s what he’ll respond with…
Strikes are designed to cause injury, pure and simple. You will know right away, who was struck in a confrontation. Just look at his face.
At Kama Jiu Jitsu in Tustin, our kids BJJ program does not focus on strikes. We focus on teaching our kids to first escape danger. If that is unsuccessful, they go to the next stage of defending themselves and ending the confrontation. If those attempts are unsuccessful, your child will escalate his efforts to subduing his antagonist.
Everything I said in the last statement can all be done without throwing a single strike. This training saves your child from further harm. Also just as important, your child can “win” the confrontation without having to throw a single strike. Of course, if the situation escalates further, your student can begin striking the antagonist. But striking will only be done to the point of gaining compliance from the antagonist.
Success in BJJ requires self-control. Everything we teach in our programs, Kids BJJ included, is about self-control when applying techniques. BJJ is unique in that we train “full speed” and with “full reality” all the time. Our practitioners develop that sense of when they have a submission “locked.” At the same time, we develop that sense that we have been “locked,” and submit, without getting hurt.
Our youngest kids (2nd Grade-5th Grade) learn the pure Rickson Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Self Defense System. They learn the art purely as self-defense; there are no chokes, joint locks, or neck manipulation taught in this class. Our belief is that kids that young are to be trained more instinctively. We want to get them started with basic movements designed to keep them safe and out of trouble. They will learn to protect themselves from harm while extracting themselves from a situation in the best possible manner.
In the pic below, we have a guest instructor for the kids’ workout, SEAL style! This is none other than retired US Navy SEAL Team 6 Member, Dan Licardo.
Our “juniors” (6th Grade-8th Grade) are introduced to the concepts tied to submissions, and are introduced to them as a secondary tool to end a confrontation. Since chokes and joint manipulation can result in severe damage to their antagonist (intentional or unintentional), we introduce these concepts carefully and “pound into them” the nature of what it is they’re learning. If they cannot understand the importance of knowing how powerful these techniques are, we delay introducing them to these concepts.
Only in BJJ, can we train to the point of submission without hurting our opponent, or getting hurt ourselves. This full speed, full reality training, will allow your student to be put in realistic “situations” at every class. In an actual confrontation, it’ll be just like our training in class.
Come visit one of our campuses to see how valuable it is to add Kama Jiu-Jitsu to your kids self-defense acumen!
Our jiu-jitsu school campuses in Orange County, CA service Laguna Niguel, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, Mission Viejo, Aliso Viejo, Lake Forest, Foothill Ranch, Rancho Santa Margarita, Trabuco Canyon, Ladera Ranch, Irvine, Tustin, Costa Mesa, Santa Ana, and Huntington Beach.
Kama Jiu-Jitsu, Laguna Niguel Campus
23500 Club House Drive
Laguna Niguel, CA 92677
We are located inside the Laguna Niguel Racquet Club
Kama Jiu-Jitsu, Irvine Campus
5 Ethel Coplen Way
Irvine, CA 92612
We are located inside the Racquet Club of Irvine