Parents Help your kids on their BJJ Journey
Parents Help your kids in their BJJ journey. I haven’t written a blog in a couple of years. Whenever I feel the need to write one, I want it to be something I am passionate about. I have been practicing BJJ for 17 yrs now. I have been teaching for over 10. I wanted to write a blog about something that helps and makes some parents see some common mistakes they are doing in your child’s journey through BJJ. In the beginning, it is important to help your child with some very simple things…first, bring your child on time!!!! Nothing is worse than when a parent brings their child late to class, in many schools, there is a “punishment” for this like pushups or burpees. You cannot expect your child to act with discipline if you aren’t disciplined yourself. Encourage your child to stay in the beginning. Most kids today quit things at the first sign of difficulty. Your child is learning things in BJJ that can help them later in life like discipline, confidence, respect, how to succeed, how to fail and overcome it, a competitive spirit (something that is becoming lost in the “everyone gets a trophy” youth sports these days). If you are into it, they will be as well. (My school offers free training to parents if their child is training at the school or vice-versa) As they get more seasoned, many will want to compete or many schools will push this. Here is where the biggest problem lies. Hopefully your child is competing because he wants to and not for you. If you didn’t realize your sports dreams, do not put that pressure on your child. Your child should have his own set of dreams and goals and maybe he or she is not mature enough to know what those are yet. If you are pushing your child to compete or make your child’s training all about competing (or worse, if your school is a win at all costs, only cares about competition kids training facility, you are in the wrong place), you have lost sight about why you brought your child to martial arts. Competition can be a good thing…if you have learned how to lose and learn from it. Royler Gracie used to tell a story of Grandmaster Helio Gracie making them compete as children w/ a built in lesson. He would give them $5 if they won and $10 if they lost in competition to ease the fears, make it fun and make a game out of learning something from the experience. Most adults learn the most from their losses in competition. Most champions are made through failure. It’s OK if they lose, stop looking for an excuse or someone to “blame”. (The ref, your coach, the rules etc) Learn from your mistakes and own them. Sometimes, even you the parent, has to realize that you have to take some responsibility. It is not always “the coaches fault” if they lose. Just like when they are in regular school, the teacher gives them homework and they are not there to help them do it. The teacher taught them HOW to do the homework but if it doesn’t get done correctly, is that the teachers fault? Kids learn at different paces, you do not pull them out of a school or off a team at the first sign of adversity. How does anyone learn from that? One of my favorite sayings in from the great Michael Jordan who once said “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” Let your child learn the same way, allow them that. Everyone loses…another quote “The only person who does not lose in the one who doesn’t fight.” so be supportive, teach them to win or lose with class. Teach them that tantrums, crying after a loss or showboating during a win is something that nobody has respect for. Also, let your coaches do what you pay them for, let them coach. Let them handle refs calls, no matter what, keep your attitude positive. Do not put your own feeling onto your kids, they are nervous enough. It takes guts to compete, they should be rewarded for testing themselves, not everyone is cut out to be a champion. They are a champion if they are trying to be the best they can be. If they are having fun, great! Too much intensity or pressure can create negativity towards competition or BJJ and will push them away. You then are creating an environment in which they quit or don’t try future endeavors. Being positive and encouraging will not make your child a wimp, it will help them train more. BJJ has so many benefits, it is something you want them in for the long haul.
Professor Chris Savarese
Savarese BJJ Academy