Excel Jiu Jitsu Kids Program
Article written by Dr. Eric Beam; Excel Jiu JItsu student and parent
As an Excel martial artist and a father of an Excel kid, I have many, personal reasons to love Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu at Excel. However, I would like to take a moment to explain why Excel Jiu-Jitsu and MMA is great for children from my professional perspective. I have been an educational psychologist since 1999 and a school administrator since 2005. The benefits of training in the martial arts have been shown in professional research and affirmed by my professional experience.
Benefits of Jiu Jitsu training for kids
Health – Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ), Boxing, and Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) are great athletic activities. A day does not go by without a news headline of the threat that sedentary lifestyles have on the health of modern Americans.
Balance and Coordination – One of the hottest new trends in the special education/disability world are franchise centers that sell pseudo-therapeutic exercise programs that promise to improve balance and coordination (without a licensed therapist), enhance brain functioning, and improve the disability of any parent who can afford their rates. One session at these places often cost more than a month’s dues at Excel! However, the benefits of these programs are rarely significantly better than a quality martial arts program charging a fraction of the price.
Confidence and self-esteem – You can research almost any social, emotional, or behavioral problem in schools (victimization, self-harm, drug abuse, and dropping out), and you will always see low self-esteem as one of the risk-factors. Unlike the movies, the key to preventing bullying is not beating up the bully, it is having confidence. Confident students do not make easy victims; rally friends and stand up for other students; and are not afraid to involve responsible adults. Confidence helps you take healthy risks such as auditioning for the play, enrolling in a difficult class, applying to that university, or getting a job.
This is even more important for girls, who can be devastated by low self-esteem and poor body image. If you want to protect girls from low self-esteem and body image problems, the first two items on your to-do list should be: 1 – Model proper self-esteem and body acceptance yourself (kids follow what you practice far more than what you preach), and 2 – get them involved in positive athletic activities. I also recommend the videos and activities available at http://selfesteem.dove.us/ .
Self- Discipline – Many other competitive sports favor those genetically blessed with natural athletic attributes, and it is certainly possible to be a highly competitive tournament player with 2-3 tournaments within driving distance every weekend. However, the martial arts and endurance sports are both considered the best options for children of all athletic abilities. There is a culture of continuous improvement through consistent effort. The next stripe or belt promotion always attainable with hard work, regardless of how large, fast, or strong the person next to you is. Mastering escapes give experience problem-solving and being comfortable being uncomfortable. Simply put, HARD WORK PAYS OFF!
Structured Time – Idle, unsupervised time is bad for children. Rich or poor, children get in the most trouble (online and in real-time) in the unsupervised hours after school before most adults get home from work. Supervised, structured activities are the best way to keep kids safe during these hours. In addition, the structure and expectations of a formal class are very helpful for children with social skills challenges.
Exposure to Greatness/Mentors – How often does a little leaguer play on the same field as their MLB hero? BJJ is one of the rare sports where the white belt novice can train and compete on the same mats as the professionals headlining a super fight.
Family Bonding – The whole family can do it! Children do not need “things” from their parents. They need time. They need conversation. Training together gives you both.
Excel Jiu Jitsu for Kids
This question was important to me. In 2002, I needed knee surgery for injuries because I did not choose the correct place to train. In 2013, I was not going to make the same mistake for my son. After performing internet research, I spent several days touring and observing classes for almost a dozen academies. I chose Excel for my family for the following reasons:
1 – Although I hope he never needs to use it, I wanted my son to learn a reality martial art.
2 – Safety. The classes were properly staffed. Any time a child was being unsafe, the adults noticed immediately and responded appropriately.
3 – The focus on fundamentals, technique, and proper improvement while still promoting the ability to compete at the highest level… if you choose.
4 – Focus on traditional discipline and respect. This is a dojo, and not just any gym.
5 – My gut. Professor Michio and the staff model a culture and vibe that you immediately sense. Three-and-a-half years later, that initial gut feeling has proven true.
I hope that your family’s martial arts journey will be as positive as ours!