Have you heard of Judo or Jiu Jitsu? Well, at an early age I started learning these self-defense techniques and have participated in martial arts competitions. It’s dangerous if you don’t know how to handle yourself. But this is not about my exploits on the mat. Rather this is about getting children interested in the sport.
Who in his right mind would let kids study an art designed to hurt someone? Well, if you look at it this way, then not many parents will raise their hands. Although Judo and Jiu Jitsu are martial arts focused on subduing an opponent, it is more than just brute force to overcome the other person. It requires discipline, patience and control of the body and of the mind. Now, allow me to rephrase the question earlier. Would you like to teach your child discipline, patience and respect while learning to defend himself/herself? Now that’s more palatable to many.
Do not force it
One of the most fundamental steps in making a child enjoy something such as judo or jiu jitsu is never to force it on them. Some people like the sport while others do not. I happens that I do and my daughter shows interest in it.
- Introduce materials
- Show moves
- Watch competitions together
- Study moves together
Ultimately, it is essential to ask the child whether he or she likes it. I know lots of parents forcing their children to wear a tutu and do ballet even if the child does not want. In my case, it’s judo and jiu jitsu. The only difference is that my daughter likes it.
Play as a practice
One way to spark the interest of the child in judo and jiu jitsu and practically in other martial arts is to play with the child using basic moves. Of course you don’t apply a triangle choke on your kid. Rather, incorporate the basic movements, principles and balance in your play. For example, in judo and jiu jitsu, there are numerous mat techniques where you need to hold on to the person tightly from the back. My daughter loves to ride on my back and hold on tight while I try to move around. She calls this game “bucky horse”. Another way I incorporate judo and jiu jitsu principles in our play is when she climbs the “daddy tree”. The objective of this game is for her to climb me so that I can embrace her. Here she climbs me by grabbing on to my limbs and holding tightly. Also, she uses her arms and legs to hold on. Both her coordination and gripping skills become better. Moreover, transitioning from holding on with her arms and legs improves dramatically. Some reminders:
- Keep it safe
- Guide the child
- You don’t have to stand up to do the daddy tree game – sitting down works fine as well
Explain the why and not just the how
Another excellent way to encourage your child to take interest in martial arts especially judo or jiu jitsu is to talk about it. Explain the moves and why it is done. Moreover, it is essential that the child understands why learning martial arts can benefit them. Surely, you do this at a level where your child actually understands it.
One critical aspect of teaching children martial arts is to establish rules early on. This will keep themselves safe and keep others safe as well. My daughter knows several grappling techniques and she can execute them effortlessly. But more than just being able to accomplish techniques, it is imperative that she knows when not to use them. This is one good example why setting rules is important to children.
- Keep rules simple
- Constantly remind the child about the rules
- Talk about the rule and why it should be followed
- Strict implementation of the rules is a must
Teachable moments are all around us. It is therefore important to utilize these moments to reinforce rules and learning. Children will gain better understanding when they are constantly guided.
Visit schools and dojos
When the child shows interest in the sport it is important to fuel this interest. One good way is to find schools or coaches that can help the child become better. Judo for kids is quite unusual since most parents would opt for Tae Kwon Do. It is therefore a good idea to find judo and jiu jitsu schools for children that is both reputable and inexpensive. Some schools have clinics and clubs that you can go to.
I used to teach grappling to students at a school in Quezon City, Philippines and many parents were really interested in the self-defense I was teaching. So check out the schools near your place and ask if they have a program for judo or Jiu jitsu.
My daughter showed interest in judo, jiu jitsu and in grappling even before she turned 2 years old. Since both my wife and I enjoy the sport, perhaps she found it appealing as well. With a little prompting and a lot of care, my daughter now executes techniques and transitions from one to another flawlessly – at least for her age.
Judo or Jiu Jitsu is not for everybody. But one thing is for sure. Both martial arts are well loved in our family.
Other martial arts tips:
- How To Be Safe When You Are New To Judo Training
- What You Need To Know About Martial Arts And Self-Defense For Women
Latest posts by jpcmc (see all)
- Inexpensive Eye Care Tips for Everyone - 10/20/2015
- How To Help A Grieving Friend - 02/02/2015
- Inexpensive Technology To Help You Through Power Interruptions - 01/26/2015
- Where to Place Keywords to Earn More Online Income - 01/26/2015
- Anatomy of Great Tips - 11/27/2014