If you happen to have a child that trains jiu jitsu, perhaps you can relate to some of pre-jiu jitsu class festivities that may ensue:
Billy! Get ready for jiu jitsu class. It starts in an hour.
Billy comes skipping out of his room with the xbox controller in hand.
I can’t find my gi!
After spending 30 minutes looking for his gi, Billy’s mom finds his gi buried at the bottom of the dirty clothes bin.
Ever find yourself in a situation like this?
Perhaps your child has a bad meal before class and feels squeamish,
Or they’re just feeling tired from a long day at school and can’t build up the motivation to get through the academy doors.
Not to worry.
Because in this article, I’ll give you a couple simple things you can do to ensure your child is properly equipped for training on a consistent basis,
As well as some effective ways to get the best out of every training session both pre and post class.
The primary goal before training is to make sure that your child is ready both physically and mentally. With that said, here are some things to think about when it comes to preparing your child for class.
Teach your child how to tie their belt. Practice makes perfect.
This is such a critical skill and can make for much more fluent training sessions for your child.
The instructors are always there to help your child fix their belt when need be, but if your child gets this down early, so much time can be saved and your child will be able to spend more time training and less time worrying about their belt falling off.
Here’s a simple walkthrough on how to do this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=91P5f-jq_lA
Monitor what your child eats before class.
Training jiu jitsu takes a lot of physical and mental energy,
So it is important that your son/daughter is properly fueled and ready to train hard.
Avoid feeding them junk food or anything too heavy.
Keep the meal light.
Here are some potential ideas to consider:
- Banana, handful of nuts,
- Smoothie with fruits and veggies.
Things to avoid:
- Greasy, heavy meals.
While most of this is pretty straight forward,
It can be easy to forget something as simple as making sure your child is properly fueled before class.
Good nutrition makes for good training sessions.
And good training sessions make for a happy child.
Have more than one gi on hand.
Having a clean gi is required for training jiu jitsu,
And we know it can be a hassle to wash your child’s gi everyday.
By having more than one gi,
You can say goodbye to the days of your laundry room being taken over by your child’s kimonos on a daily basis.
How To Properly Review Your Child’s Training Sessions: The Do’s And Don’ts Of Assessing Your Child’s Progress
Okay, so your child just finished training, and they come running over to you with the happenings of the day.
With jiu jitsu, every day of training will be vastly different, and having an effective way to assess our child’s sessions day to day can be a great way to monitor progress, motivation, things to work on, etc.
Let’s break down some of the ways to properly contribute to a child’s progress after their training sessions,
Doing these things consistently will not only improve your child’s jiu jitsu,
But will also give them specific targets as they prepare for their next jiu jitsu class.
DON’T ask your child how they performed in training that day. INSTEAD, ask them what they learned.
Comparison in martial arts between students comes naturally, especially if you and/or your child are competitive in nature.
It can be tempting to want to compare your child’s jiu jitsu to other kids in the class as a way to gauge progress and discuss ways to improve…
And while comparison definitely has its place…
Because there’s a hidden cost to constantly assessing your child’s progress in relation to other students.
Every time a child is compared to another student, a false framework is being created: one that suggests that the goal of their training is to win against their training partners.
Don’t get me wrong.
There is definitely a time and place for comparison, and a little bit of healthy competition amongst teammates goes a long way.
But as a general rule,
Refrain from this approach…
Instead, focus on topics that bring up positive experiences for your child on a consistent basis.
Some examples include:
- What did you learn today?
- What was your favorite part of class today?
- Did you land any cool techniques in training?
- I saw you working on your takedowns in sparring today. You looked great out there!
Empowering questions are what you’re aiming for.
After every session, you want your child to feel excited about their progression.
They should leave class everyday better than they came in,
Doing their best to improve everyday,
while not worrying about where they stand in comparison to others.
DON’T force your child to come to class. INSTEAD, assess their motives.
What does this mean, exactly?
In your child’s jiu jitsu journey, there will most definitely be days where they are not motivated to train.
First of all, it’s important to understand that,
as with any hard skill,
This is totally NORMAL.
As a parent facing a situation where your child does not want to come to class,
It’s critical that you don’t force them to train.
Doing this will create more resistance and will cause this behavior to persist.
Instead, go about it like a detective looking for clues.
Ask your child about the reasons holding them back from training.
You’ll be surprised what you find with a little searching.
Perhaps your child is quarreling with another student in class.
Perhaps they feel they are not progressing like they want.
Each problem will be different and can be addressed with different solutions,
But as a rule of thumb,
NEVER FORCE YOUR CHILD ONTO THE MATS IF THEY DON’T FEEL EXCITED TO TRAIN.
Jiu Jitsu is about longevity.
And this truth applies even more to children.
Jiu Jitsu will always be there for them.
And the way you respond in these critical moments matters more than you know.
DON’T tell your child what they did wrong. INSTEAD, allow them to discover for themselves.
Properly learning from and fixing mistakes best comes from self-discovery.
And yet again,
Asking your child the right questions is the key to this.
- What have you been working on lately?
- Is there anything you’ve been struggling with?
- Did you try anything new today?
Even if you see blatant flaws in something your child is doing on the mats,
The best way to help them fix it while keeping a smooth progression is to ask them to bring it up themselves.
This process of self-reflection is good for your child, and will also give them a safe space to talk about where they went wrong,
With little to no fear of judgement.
One of the practices we avoid here at Legion is the notorious sideline coaching seen at many jiu jitsu academies,
Where parents with no knowledge of jiu jitsu (or perhaps some knowledge), try to fix their child’s every mistake on the mats.
This is not healthy for the child and creates tension in the academy.
Give your child the autonomy they deserve and let them take part in the beautiful journey of self-discovery and constant learning that is jiu jitsu.
If they need your help,
Create a safe space for them to ask you for it,
This is your child’s journey, not your’s
And what works for you may not be what works for your child.
Everyone’s learning style is different.
Everyone’s path is different.
Which is a part of what makes jiu jitsu such a special and unique journey for every one who partakes in it.