When I was 6, there were basically two choices of sports. Baseball, or karate. Karate was a rarity in the early 80's in Goose Creek South Carolina. I only had access to it by the good fortune of being born to a martial arts teacher for a father.
in 2018, kids can do anything and I mean anything. Hip hop dance, recording music, ukulele, every possible hobby has been packaged into a kid friendly version. I support that. The world is wide and deep and you could make the argument that exposure to different activities give kids a better chance of finding something that is truly meaningful to them.
I teach Jiu Jitsu for a living. My specialty (and my joy) is to teach little boys and girls as young as 3 how to fall safely, how to get up, how to take someone down, how to control a bigger opponent on the ground, and a healthy dose of boundaries, listening skills, and team spirit.
Historically, martial arts has been a more male driven sport. In recent years, that is slowly changing. There has always been and will be female martial arts practitioners, and that is awesome, but I'm fascinated and excited to see how many young girls are taking up the sport. At times, up to 50% of my classes are girls.
But why is this a great sport not just for rambunctious boys but for girls as well? First off, lets talk about how the martial arts community has tried to market itself to women.
Its gross, but it works. Most schools teach self defense seminars that are along the lines of "don't get assaulted" classes. I think any martial arts you learn is valuable, but I hate the fear tactics and the poster of some recently empowered woman kneeing a would be attacker in the crotch. Once again, the more you know the better, but there is so much value to the lifestyle of martial arts, not just the extreme examples of its use.
Girls of all ages, but especially young girls should learn Jiu Jitsu because Jiu Jitsu is a sport of boundaries and control. To win, you take away space from your opponent. To escape, you find a way to make space. Part of the sport is recognizing when someone is starting to get the upper hand and working to counteract that. Besides the obvious self defense value, I think the metaphor of controlling your environment and self determination is a priceless lesson for any kid to learn.
Jiu Jitsu teaches girls how to compete against insurmountable odds. One of my first coaches Ridgely Abele used to always say that if you took two athletes of equal skill, the stronger of the two will end up winning. Strength, size, explosiveness, these are all natural advantages. If you are a random guy (or girl) in a bar fight against a larger and stronger opponent, in theory, you are supposed to lose. Statistically, just like pocket Kings beats pocket 7's in poker. Jiu Jitsu is the sport that shows you how to overcome this natural advantage using technique, leverage, body mechanics, and unknown information to dominate people who would otherwise be about to dominate you.
The threat of violence is often the root of most control. In my experience with manipulative or abusive people, its often not what they do outright, but what they are capable of doing that influences the abused. Simply put, I believe that if you know you can handle yourself in an altercation, you are less likely to be intimidated by an out of control person out of the fear of the situation turning violent. Because you are in some capacity versed in violence, you know what it looks like and how to prevail. This in effect makes you less likely to take shit off of bad people. This doesn't mean you're bullet proof, just more fortified against controlling people.
Jiu Jitsu reminds girls that they are capable. I had a 4 year old student named Ellie. She weighed at the most 35 pounds and was adorable. We did a takedown drill where she tackled me, and I fell on cue after she did the technique properly. She looked in wonder at me on the ground, and said out loud and seemingly to herself "I'm good at this". That is priceless.
Jiu Jitsu is so much darn fun. We all have a innate desire to rough house with friends. Its a part f growing up. Its a part of bonding, we play fight with our friends. In some ways Jiu Jitsu is just a more formal and more effective version of the wrestling you would do on your living room floor with your kids.
Jiu Jitsu relieves stress. Kids today are growing up in a complex and and equally wonderful and terrifying world. There is a constant demand on their attention. Coming to an activity where they have one job, learn, or survive, or dominate helps clarify the mind and puts the rest of the world and its trouble in perspective.
Bring your daughter to Jiu Jitsu. She will have lots of hobbies in her life, but this one could change her life in ways that no one could predict.
If you want more information about kids Jiu Jitsu classes for boys and girls, feel free to text or call me anytime at 843.870.0410. We currently have summer classes starting soon and camps as well!