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More than self defense: How kids benefit from martial arts

Many parents from the Cronulla and greater Sutherland region bring their kids to Gracie Miranda to learn self defense. That’s a great start, because Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a super effective form of self defense. But self defense techniques only scratch the surface of what the martial art can offer.

Not familiar with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu? As the name suggests, it’s a martial art originating from Brazil, having been popularised in the US, Australia and Europe in the early ‘90s.

It’s all about grappling, and mostly about grappling on the ground. That differentiates it from other grappling arts like Judo, which focus on stand-up wrestling, as well as striking arts. Muay Thai, Krav Maga and more also offer self defense benefits, but their revolving around striking makes them fundamentally different. More on that later!

kids jiu-jitsu classes gracie miranda

Pressure games played safe

For a martial art that teaches practitioners how to choke, armlock, leglock and more, Jiu Jitsu is very safe.

This goes back to the aforementioned distinction: Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is principally about grappling on the ground. There’s little injury risk from being slammed onto the ground, and even less risk of being struck by a punch or kick.

Once our Jiu Jitsu instructors feel your child is comfortable enough, they’ll begin to spar with other kids. Again, this is very safe. In Jiu Jitsu, practitioners learn how to defend and escape from bad positions, like back control, and advance to safer, more dominant positions. This self- defense process represents the majority of sparring.

Once a dominant position is secured, a submission hold may be applied. But the recipient of that submission, recognising they’ve lost the game, will tap well before the lock will be applied. Then the game begins again. No one gets hurt, even when sparring sessions get incredibly intense.

Of course, intense sparring is left only to adults and older kids. We advise 5 years as a safe entry point to jiu jitsu, but we mostly teach children around this age through drills and games. Sparring is introduced later.

The point? Brazilian Jiu Jitsu teaches practitioners, young and old, how to make decisions while under pressure. It teaches them how to get comfortable under pressure. This is all essential for self defense, and it teaches them this all while staying safe. Everybody wins!

Cronulla conviction

Once your kid progresses to sparring, dealing with pressure isn’t the only thing they’ll learn. In martial arts, the mental aspect can be just as taxing as the physical.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is complex. It involves hundreds of techniques, spread across defense, reversals, takedowns and submissions. That rewarding – but also difficult. Compounding this, practitioners, once old and comfortable enough, spar against each other regularly. It can be humbling or even demoralising to lose, or not progress as quickly as they want.

However, this is one of the most valuable benefits of martial arts. Kids and adults alike learn the skill of leaving their ego at the door, which ultimately allows for better progress as preoccupation shifts from winning to learning.

Just as importantly, they’ll (hopefully) learn how to not give up. All Jiu Jitsu practitioners hit plateaus, and many will at one point want to give up. Learning how to overcome these mental and emotional hurdles is an incredibly valuable life skill, on and off the mats. As your Jiu Jitsu instructor will inevitably remind you: A black belt is a white belt who never quit.

Bread and butter

These benefits are in addition to self defense skills, which is what many parents in the Cronulla region are interested in for their kids. And while it may be difficult to decisively say which martial art is truly the best, Jiu Jitsu is constantly recommended for self defense. (And not just by us.)

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu will equip your kid with all the tools he needs to stave off bullies, as well as even more serious threats. Importantly, it also teaches children how to defend themselves without necessarily hurting others. For more specifics on Jiu Jitsu’s self defense benefits, check out this article.

Alternately, Gracie Miranda offers a free trial class, for kids and adults, so feel free to come on in.