MYTH: 6-8 YEAR OLD BOYS ARE TOO YOUNG FOR BRAZILIAN JIU-JITSU
Is BJJ Safe for 6 to 8 Year Old Boys?
There is no kicking or punching in the “gentle” art of BJJ. It is safe for 6 to 8 year old boys because a large element of any children’s Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu should regularly drill safety-based movements. For example, “break falls” should be an often drilled technique that trains kids how to fall safely if pushed by a bully or even if they just accidentally slip. The break fall distributes forces from a fall evenly across the body to reduce trauma, and more importantly, protects the head from hitting a cement sidewalk for instance.
Another example of BJJ teaching physical safety is “backward shoulder rolls” which train kids to protect their head and neck. The natural instinct at a young age is to roll over the head which can be dangerous and cause injury even when horse playing off the mat.
As a result, the frequent drilling of safety techniques in kids BJJ class helps them in physical safety even off the mat.
I Think My 6 to 8 Year Old Son has ADHD and will not be Focused Enough for BJJ
Our kids come from a variety of different backgrounds with a variety of different personalities and energy levels. In BJJ, everyone lines up in uniform and conforms to dojo rules just the same. Specific to behaviors from ADHD (Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder), hyper-activeness and other reasons, we find the energy exhausted both physically and mentally can calm down high-energy children and promotes an even keel. Many of the activities are full body coordination movements across the mat, and this practice requires both physical and mental energy to accomplish. Furthermore, as an individual sport, there is more direct attention rather than coaching directed to a whole team, as in team sports.
We find that as kids adapt to the structure and energy levels of our BJJ environment, that even ADHD can be managed. (This is not medical advice.)
What the Youngest Age For a Child to Learn BJJ?
A child can be taught the most fundamental principles of BJJ at a young age, when deep rooted body movements are developed. This can be done at home for example with balancing games and play wrestling.
We generally find that 6 years old is the average for BJJ-readiness. There are two main requirements, 1) have enough core strength for a backwards roll, and 2) have minimum attentiveness to directions. This ensures that the student is old enough to gain value from our structured curriculum. As a result — we have several 5 years old students but also have students that were not ready until 7 years old.