In the age of digital technology and the ever increasing comfort of home, physical development has been put on hold. People have become so accustomed to communicating through electronic means, that they’ve become socially awkward. This holds especially true for kids.
Modern children are exposed to this manner of behavior since the earliest age. They can barely walk before they get their first tablet and get plugged in to the virtual world. There’s no more playing outside, in the dirt, with friends or going over someone’s house. Most of the contact is artificial, including the time spent at school. This behavior results in children who don’t know how to move and are unaccustomed to their bodies.
Let’s go through a the typical day of a modern kid. It starts off by swiping at the tablet while having breakfast. After that, it’s another monitor at school, with the mandatory phone dabbling on breaks. Back home, it’s back to staring at the TV, gaming system or a computer monitor, before wiping out the tablet in bed again. An the cycle goes on.
Social behavior is out of the scope of this article, but it merits mentioning due to it’s huge importance. Humans are social beings and have been communicating face to face since earliest times. Technology has taken us out of context so much that people have no idea how to actually talk to other people without a keyboard.
From a health aspect, all the time spent on their favorite devices causes all kinds of problems with kids. All those hours on the phone destroy their eyesight, while prolonged sitting at the computer leads to a plethora of health problems. Kids nowadays have no idea how to move about, they can’t even run, let alone climb trees or play more physically demanding games. Their bodies and their minds are deteriorating, and there actually is something we can do to help. And it is not hard.
Martial arts and sports in general, are a perfect tool for the development of children. They have been used for centuries to promote the development of positive values among our youngest. Sports in general give structure to children ,teaching them first and foremost about their body.
Kids these days are challenged by the simplest of movement patterns. I have been teaching martial arts classes for kids for over 8 years now. With every passing year I am amazed at how fast kids are losing touch with their physical abilities. A new kid walking into class is almost regularly challenged by even the simplest of tasks, like standing in a staggered stance. Add to that an unrelated upper body movement and you’ve lost them.
The importance of martial arts in particular is in the mental aspect of children’s’ development, as much as in the physical one. Through involvement in martial arts, kids learn how to develop both mind and body. The sooner they’re able to forge such a connection, the more time they have to perfect it. Complex movement patterns require as much concentration as they do physical coordination.
There are countless benefits from enrolling kids in martial arts classes. With a clear bias towards BJJ, lets see how the gentle art can help build incredible individuals from the youngest age.
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for kids
Almost every academy in the world has a kids’ curriculum and assorted classes. Teaching the art to people as early as possible allows them to develop into healthy individuals as well as fearsome grapples.
BJJ offers a different dimension to any other sport or martial art. It encompasses a variety of physical exercises, movement patterns and technical lessons while instilling important virtues in children. The BJJ class starts with a warm up consisting of basic physical culture exercises, which strengthen the body and get kids ready for class. Movement patterns develop the children’s coordination while teaching them BJJ related movements. The technical part of class teaches a technique appropriate to the kids’ age and experience. Before the class ends, kids take part in a game involving all of them, making class a fun experience. The class is concluded with a strong message, delivered by the instructors in a manner that relates to the children.
It is clear that BJJ can offer lots of benefits for kids involved in it. Let’s look at some of the qualities it can develop in future generations:
If there’s one thing kids develop when training BJJ it is character. Jiu Jitsu teaches them to be responsible, honest, humble and above all, respectful. These are all virtues that seem to lack in modern society and that deficiency is growing more noticeable with every new generation. Building men and women with strong characters can only lead to a better and more grounded society.
Martial arts have always been held discipline in the highest of regards. Probably stemming from the strict structure of Japanese and Chinese arts, military-like discipline is a staple of combat sports. In all honesty, BJJ does not adhere to the army style of discipline, but is just as effective none the less. The structure that is taught through discipline results in increased focus and attention in kids, while also promoting respect.
BJJ offers a platform on which kids can develop those much needed real life friendships that they lack nowadays. Meeting new friends in BJJ is unlike meeting them at school or in other social contexts. The camraderie developed through grappling training is a strong bond that very often extends into the personal life of children. They tend to keep strong connections with their training partners outside the academy and with years to come. This epitomizes the human contact that is slowly fading.
4. Body coordination
The most important physical attribute of all is the ability to control our own bodies. Muscles can be trained to grow and endurance can be developed at any point in life. Coordination, on the other hand, is a quality best learnt at an early age. When we are kids, we are very malleable and able to learn new patterns with both our bodies and our minds. BJJ uses the ability to develop as diverse individuals as possible, by implementing different kinds of patterns in class.
5. Self Defence
In the technical part of kids’ classes a huge emphasis is placed on self defense techniques. This allows kids to both develop the ability to defend themselves along with the confidence needed to thrive in life. BJJ doesn’t create bullies or teach kids to fight. On the contrary, it focuses on creating individuals who are not afraid to stand up for themselves and others. It creates confident and strong individuals who can use their grappling knowledge to diffuse and control potential violent situations. The message delivered by instructors at the end of class enforces this way of behavior. The mats are no place for bullies, but they do bully – proof every kid that steps on them.
Give your kids everything they need to grow into a healthy and strong individual, both physically and mentally. Enroll them in BJJ and watch as it transforms them through fun, molding them into exemplary human beings. Watch as they develop confidence, friendships and a positive outlook on life through the lessons taught by BJJ.