How to Keep Your Child in Jiu-Jitsu for Life

Jan 23, 2023Jiu-Jitsu

The Key to Lifelong Jiu-Jitsu for Your Child

Jiu-jitsu provides immense lifelong benefits for those who stick with it. However, it’s common for kids to lose interest and want to quit in their preteen and early teen years. In this article, we’ll explore the key stages of a child’s jiu-jitsu journey and what parents must do to maximize the chances their kid sticks with it long-term.

Stage 1: Ages 5-7

The main objective of this first stage is to make jiu-jitsu fun for kids. The biggest challenge is finding a school that teaches in an engaging, playful way suitable for young kids. At Apex MMA it is always our goal to provide this to our students. The class should be a highlight of their week they eagerly look forward to.

Strategies instructors use to keep it fun include:

  • Playing games like jumping on dad’s back to see who can hold on longest
  • Being silly and letting loose – kids need to know you enjoy goofing around too
  • Maintaining a playful structure with some chaos rather than rigid militant discipline
  • Giving them confidence by letting them practice controlling techniques on each other
  • Ending class with soccer or other games as a reward

While keeping it fun, kids also learn valuable skills like getting comfortable with close physical contact, basic positions, and some control techniques. But making it enjoyable is the priority.

Why Kids Quit BJJ at This Age

The #1 reason little kids quit is parents stop bringing them to class. With busy schedules, if a parent sees jiu-jitsu as less important than other activities, they may cut it.

Parents must recognize the immense lifelong value training gives their child and keep them enrolled no matter what. The benefits of building physical confidence, focus, close friendships, and learning respect and discipline at this formative age are too great to give up.

Stage 2: Ages 8-12

In this stage, the primary goal shifts to building real-world self-defence abilities and unshakable confidence. Kids learn techniques directly applicable if confronted by bullies or threats.

A major challenge is maintaining kids’ interest in jiu-jitsu as other activities compete for their time. The key is teaching concepts that are immediately useful in their daily lives.

Real-Life Applicable Techniques

Instead of random moves, kids learn how to handle verbal and physical situations they actually encounter, like:

  • Dealing with teasing or insults
  • Responding to threats without fighting
  • Protecting others being harassed
  • Staying calm under confrontation

Roleplaying realistic scenarios makes what they learn immediately useful for navigating school social dynamics. This builds their confidence and makes classes invaluable.

Why Kids Quit BJJ at This Age

The #1 reason kids quit in this stage is harsh criticism from parents. Many parents try coaching their kids and criticizing mistakes in hopes of improving techniques. This backfires.

Kids want to make their parents proud, so harsh critiques discourage them. The instructor positively corrects mistakes so kids stay excited to learn. Parents should praise their child’s effort and enjoyment regardless of skill level.

Stage 3: Ages 8-12

The primary goal is keeping kids engaged through their preteen and early teen years, when many lose interest. Challenging advanced techniques and high training standards push top kids. Exciting special events add fun on top of regular training. Praise continues emphasizing effort over results.

Why Kids Quit BJJ at This Age

Tweens commonly quit extracurriculars. Their world expands with many tempting distractions competing with long-term commitments.

Since most teens who start jiu-jitsu wish they had begun years earlier, parents must override quitting attempts. Allowing preteens to quit will be regretted when lifelong benefits become apparent in adulthood.

Keeping Kids in Jiu-Jitsu

Parents fully control their preteen’s schedule. Jiu-jitsu is so vital for development that attendance must be mandatory, even amid resistance.

Creativity helps – tying phone privileges to attendance, for example – but quitting this close to massive lifelong impacts is unacceptable. Once they reach mid-late teens, few who can defeat adults will ever quit.

Critical Knowledge to Keep Kids in Jiu-Jitsu

Jiu-jitsu provides proven, enormously positive impacts for life. With the right parental support emphasizing fun early, real-world applicability in the middle, and unwavering commitment through the challenging preteen years, kids gain advantages in physical skill, character, and confidence most miss out on.

Use this knowledge to ensure your child experiences this amazing art to the fullest. The benefits will ripple through their entire life.

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Team Apex MMA Martial Arts Coach
Apex MMA is a specialist mixed martial arts gym focusing on Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Led by an experienced team of instructors, Apex MMA offers comprehensive training programs for students of all ages and skill levels. With Apex MMA's systematic teaching methods, passion for martial arts, and strong community relationships, you will gain the tools to succeed in the gym and beyond.
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