How Does BJJ Increase Confidence in Children?

How Does BJJ Increase Confidence in Children

Is your child shy, unsure of him- or herself, not getting good grades or being made fun of in school? These situations can be complex and may require multiple approaches to fix the problem. But one simple, easy way to help your child—with any of these difficulties--is to enroll them in a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) class for youngsters. How does BJJ increase confidence in a child? Here are six things this incredible martial art does to build a stronger sense of self in a young participant.

Helps set fitness habits early.

One thing that most children love to do is move. Take advantage of their natural propensity for movement by introducing them to BJJ. Not only will it benefit them physically—Jiu Jitsu builds strong bones and muscles and keeps a body fit—but mentally as well. It gets them into the groove of working out regularly, which is an invaluable gift to give a child who’s eventually going to grow up to be a busy adult with a packed schedule. When your child attends class on a regular basis, they realize that fitness is paramount in life—a belief that will hold for years to come.

Promotes goal setting.

A large part of the culture of BJJ involves practicing and improving enough to be awarded a higher rank, which provides the perfect basis for setting goals. Trying to achieve the next color belt will form a natural foundation for hard training and intense focus. And when it comes down to it, goals are a large part of life in general. A child in BJJ learns how to set achievable goals, just like they will in their schooling, future career and even their personal pursuits.

Makes failure more palatable.

Of course, it’s fantastic when child wins, masters a skill or achieves good grades—all these things lead to improved confidence. But when a child fails, important things also happen in terms of developing confidence. Participating in BJJ has its share of failures, especially early on. Facing a real live opponent who is actively resisting your techniques is one aspect of BJJ that contributes to the possibility of failure. Because of that, everyone is subject to losing. But failure within BJJ is really the opportunity to learn, improve and become more motivated. The ability to embrace failure and recover from it seeps into other areas of a child’s life, making them more confident in school and sports.

Posted by Grappling University Martial Arts on Thursday, March 12, 2020

Improves learning.

Children who are in better physical condition do better on memory tests than those who are not as fit. They also have a bigger part of the brain that is associated with better performance on spatial reasoning and other cognitive tasks. BJJ increases the levels of certain brain chemicals that help children focus on classroom lessons. Of course, children who do well in school generally feel better about themselves. 

Empowers them.

Childhood can a difficult time for children who are teased, belittled or even worse. Having BJJ as a tool at their disposal should a situation ever escalate to require self-defense is empowering. Just knowing they can defend themselves, without ever having to punch or kick, is enough to boost confidence. BJJ also teaches youngsters that size and gender don’t really matter. For instance, someone who is smaller than their opponent can attack from a lower position, use gravity or grapple to improve their position or escape an uncomfortable one, or apply enough pressure to control their opponent. Even a young girl who trains hard can certainly be successful.

Creates relationships.

Growing together and learning new skills in proximity over time helps children forge bonds with their peers--sometimes ones that are lifelong. They will also have plenty of time off the mat, while traveling to tournaments or during other team activities, to share feelings and goals, further strengthening friendships. In addition to peers, a child will meet teens and adults along the way in their BJJ journey, some of whom will be learning alongside them. Older students and instructors who exude confidence, demonstrate that they approach new challenges with a sense of excitement, and don’t complain or make excuses for failure, will become positive role models in a child’s life.
For a child, a lack of self-confidence often has its roots in fear. That might mean a fear of saying something to a peer that will make him mad, of telling their parents how they truly feel, or doing anything else where they cannot predict the outcome. Mastering BJJ helps a child develop the strength to say things that others might disagree with and to stand up for themselves, even in the face of a bully. To get to that point, a child must first overcome their fears, and BJJ is uniquely qualified at helping young participants grow their confidence.
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