The question that parents often ask me when I tell them that I teach kids BJJ or when they stop in to check out a class is: “At what age can my kids start practicing?”.
My recommendation? The youngest age would be 6 years old. With this comes disclaimers. What I mean by this is lets face it, BJJ can be pretty boring. The rest of us who do BJJ are either weird or insane. To truly get BJJ you have to spent countless hours on the mats and to be good you need to be drilling. Its all about repetition and mat time. For a six year old, the world moves at too slow a pace and their attention lasts 5 seconds at most. If a parent really wants to sign up their child, they need to make sure the class takes into account these points and ask these questions:
- Is there a class dedicated to them?: There needs to be a class dedicated to ages of 6 – 8. Mix classes with a wide range between the ages is very hard to manage and quite frankly not very productive (in most cases).
- What does the class focus on: At that age, classes should be more about learning very basic movements and games. For most 6 year olds, they are just too young to take in the wide range of techniques in BJJ. The class should be fun for them, a place where they can get their energy out. Kids at that age are still developing and learning. It is very easy to burn out or get bored of BJJ if you are not careful.
- Who are the instructors and their teaching methods?: The instructors need to be able to be creative in their teaching method. As mentioned before, on one hand they need to be able to keep the kids moving and attentive and on the other tie in BJJ principles and basics. This is not very easy to do, but if the instructor can find his/her own working formula, then that class will be well worth it.
Overall, I’m not say the kids cant learn BJJ. In fact many of the champions and successful competitors today all started at a very young age. The point I am trying to get across is that starting that young, there needs to be a class dedicated to that age group. Once they get older and get the basics down, that is when the classes become more serious and more focused. So if parents are looking to sign up their kids for BJJ, definitely make sure to do your research and ask the right questions.