When Is Your Child Old Enough For BJJ?

You are probably itching to get your child involved in BJJ, however you are concerned if you sign them up too early they won’t get anything out of it or even worse be turned off by the sport.

BJJ is a great sport that has so many benefits for children. It can help improve their confidence, be a great place to meet friends, keep them fit and healthy and teach them how to defend themselves. With so many benefits it is no wonder that thousands and thousands of parents want to drop their kids off at their local BJJ academy.

To reap the benefits of BJJ children need to be able to concentrate for at least 45 minutes. They must be able to follow instructions and absorb criticism. Finally they need to possess enough coordination to allow them to perform the basic BJJ movements.

When is your child old enough for BJJ?

Most children who are 5 years old are ready to attend their first BJJ class. By the age of 5 most children are able to concentrate for the entire class (45 minutes), they can listen to their coach and have enough physical coordination to perform the movements and techniques in BJJ. 

If you are looking for a fun hobby for your child that will make them fit, healthy and strong then starting them in BJJ at 5 years old is perfectly fine.

When starting your child this young in BJJ you have to be prepared for the following situations:

  • Crying – your child may cry if they get frustrated about not being able to perform a technique, they feel embarrassed or they get tired. If this happens don’t worry it is perfectly normal. Just check on them quickly to make sure they are not injured, help them calm down and gently encourage them to keep going
  • Not following/listening to instructions – your child’s coach will demonstrate techniques and then get the class to mimic his movements with their training partner, young kids will often day dream and either forget how to perform the movement or just go off on their own and start trying out random movements. Don’t panic if your child is off in fairy land just help them refocus and explain to them they need to listen to their coach
  • Running off the mat – some children try to leave training halfway through or decide they want to explore the gym. Make sure you keep an eye on your child and explain to them the importance of continuing to train and finishing the class

Even though you may run into a few minor problems when sending your 5 year old to a BJJ class, these issues are usually resolved within a few weeks. Your child will quickly understand how the system works and start adapting to the environment.

Most 5 year olds have all the necessary capabilities to learn BJJ and get so much out of the sport. Don’t panic if your child doesn’t enjoy it the first few times they attend their academy. It can take a few weeks or months before they start becoming comfortable in the environment.

You will often see a switch that goes off in young children. One BJJ training they are nervous and uncomfortable, hoping that the training will just hurry up and finish.

Then the very next training they are confident, laughing with their friends and really focused on performing the techniques. Don’t be surprised if your child starts asking you to take them to more BJJ training sessions.

What Is The Best Age To Start BJJ If You Want To Be A World Champion?

The best age to start your child in BJJ if you want to create a world champion is 10 years old. From the age of 10 to 14 you train them part time in BJJ. Then from the age of 14 to 15 you train them full time in the sport with the goal of peaking the athlete for world class adult competition at 21 to 23.

If you are a parent who just wants their kid to learn BJJ as a hobby, make some friends, learn some self defence and stay fit and healthy then 5 years old is a great time to start.

However, if your goal to produce a world class BJJ athlete 5 years old is not the optimal time to start an athlete in BJJ.

The Soviets whose scientists invented the modern field of sports science wanted to show the world that communism was the best political and social system in the world. One way they wanted to prove this was through dominating athletic competition. By winning athletic competitions it was meant to the world that communism produced the fittest and strongest people.

To help them win athletic competitions the Soviets commissioned their scientists to perform studies to determine the most optimal way to produce world class athletes. They came up with a specific system that gives a person the highest chance of becoming an elite athlete.

This is the system they came up with:

  • 5 years old – you take a 5 year old child and you place them into general athletic training, to teach them how to move, develop strength, power, coordination and mobility. The most effective forms of general athletic training are gymnastics, dancing and track and field. This training is done 3 times a week and training is switch to keep the child interested to build a balanced athlete
  • 10 years old – once the child is 10 years and has a solid foundation in athletic training you then start introducing them to the sport you want them to eventually specialise in. This is when you would start your child in BJJ. At this stage general training is taking place but it is reduced to allow for the child to train in their chosen sport. This training is part time, a couple of times a week with periods of the year where no training is occurring.
  • 14 to 15 years old – at this stage the child now begins to train full time in their specialised sport. The amount of general training is significantly reduced but is still scheduled within training cycles and used in warm ups. During full time BJJ training the child should be training 6 days and each training session should be 2 hours in length. During the earlier stages of full time training the major focus should be on skill and technical development. As the technical development starts reaching its peak, the athlete should ensure that he is also operating at his physical peak
  • Early 20s – by this stage the athlete should be ready to compete in world class adult competitions and be at their technical and physical peak

If you want to get your child involved in BJJ as early as possible because you want them to learn a new hobby then 5 years is perfectly fine. However, if your goal is to turn them into the next BJJ world champion then you should start them at 10 years old.

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