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GBK Bjj Program: 4 Ways Jiu-jitsu Benefits Children

GBK Bjj Program- 4 Ways Jiu-jitsu Benefits Children

Gracie Barra’s ICP5 (Instructor Certification Program) is underway and filled with a wealth of information for instructors. The module for the GB Kids programs – formerly called “Little Champions” examines the “hows and whys” of the GBK program with the program design backed by research on how martial arts training can benefit young people.

Today’s children have some challenges growing up and parents need an activity that can help the children face these problems.”Providing children with opportunities that help them overcome those challenges…”

read also: Why Do You Train Jiu-jitsu?


Here are 4 Ways Jiu-jitsu Benefits Children – from the Gracie Barra ICP 5 Course:

1) Kids Health

Perform a Google search on childhood diabetes and alarmingly, it has become an epidemic in America. The rates of diabetes and childhood obesity have skyrocketed in the last decade. Children need an activity that gets them to put down the video games for exercise several times a week. The ICP 5 states:

Obesity and Nutritional Deficits: These are real challenges children in our communities are facing. According to the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition:

  • Only 1 in 3 kids are physically active every day.
  • More than 80% of adolescents do not do enough aerobic physical activity to meet the guidelines established for healthy youth.
  • Kids now spend more than 7.5 hours a day in front of a screen (TV, computer, video games, etc.).
  • Almost 17% of American children are considered obese.
  • Overweight kids have a 70% chance of becoming overweight or obese in adulthood.
  • Since the 1970s, the obesity rate for kids between the ages of 6 and 11 has quadrupled.

“Meeting the demands of parents who are seeking healthy activities for their children.”
Parents recognize that children need healthy outlets for their natural energy. Kids are in desperate need of an exercise program that provides whole body fitness taught in a structured environment. GB Kids classes provide a variety of games and exercise to get those youngsters active!

ICP5: “We also implement games for the kids’ classes, reinforcing the fun aspect of learning and giving them an opportunity to get out some of those “wiggles” that kids can have, especially after applying mental attention during the class period. Many children see games such as these as a reward, but we know that even in game playing there is learning.”

2) Mental and Emotional Challenges

The ICP 5 states the problem: “Increasing numbers of adolescents are diagnosed with mental and/or emotional challenges.”

  • The CDC reports that ADD/ADHD is one of the most common neurobehavioral disorders facing children.
  • Suicide is the leading cause of death in children younger than 14 years.

GB Kids classes are a structured, supervised environment where the children can express that energy and relieve stress and interact with other children at the same age / levels of psychological development.

Adult students know that bjj class is an escape from their own stresses and kids experience stress and frustration in their lives also. Bjj classes can help young people vent their mental anxieties. Many child problems are complex but bjj training can help develop emotional qualities as self esteem, confidence and patience that a child needs.

ICP 5: “Teaching youth how to overcome their limitations and reach physical, mental, and emotional maturity levels.”


3) Bullying

The GB Kids program addresses the significant problem of child bullying by equipping a child with the tools they need to deal with physical and psychological bullying. 1 in 7 students in grades K-12 is either a victim of bullying or the perpetrator of bullying.

  • 90% of kids between the 4th and 8th grades report they are victims of bullying.
  • The National Education Association reports that more than 160,000 kids miss school every day because they are afraid they will be bullied.
  • Almost 300,000 students are physically attacked in secondary schools every month.

One professor put it brilliantly: “Jiu-jitsu doesn’t teach children to be ‘monsters’ but does teach them what to do when they encounter one!” Common self defense situations and the mental tools to deal with physical intimidation are taught in the anti-bullying classes and invaluable in helping victims of bullying.


4) Character development

The traditional martial arts have long been known as excellent ways for young people to learn important life skills. The valuable qualities of:

  • Respect for authority
  • Self control and patience
  • Cooperation with others
  • Self discipline

The GBK program is a supervised, structured environment that encourages and guides children to develop these traits. In contrast to hours spent in solitary activity like video games, bjj class provides guidelines for healthy interactions with other children. Studies have concluded that children need structure and consistency and martial arts training is excellent training for life.

GB ICP5: “When you consider all of the challenges facing the children in your communities, it is easier to see that they are the ones who have the tough road ahead of them. However, when you give them the opportunities of Jiu-Jitsu, you have the power to change their lives for the better.”

Question: Do your own children train bjj classes?


Credits: Mark Mullen
Gracie Barra Black belt based in Taiwan
Twitter: @MarkMullenBJJ

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