ELEMENT BJJ LETTER TO PARENTS
160,000 kids miss school everyday because of fear of bullies. 75% of school shootings are related to bullying. Adults who were bullied as children have much higher rates of depression and lower self-esteem. The worst part isn’t even the physical abuse, it’s the psychological trauma that can last a lifetime.
If your child is targeted by a bully, the first and most important thing they can do is stand up for themselves verbally. The problem is that most children won’t have the confidence to defend themselves verbally unless they have the ability to defend themselves physically.
Most parents believe that when a child learns a martial art that they will get into more fights, but this couldn’t be farther from the truth. The more they learn and the more confident they become, the less likely they are to get into fights.
I have learned some of the greatest child teaching methodologies from the Gracie family, Professor Ruiz, and Professor Swimmer. There are ways to keep children engaged and excited about learning Jiu-Jitsu.
When we follow these principles for teaching children, your child will no longer be victimized by bullies, they will become more disciplined, and their confidence will go through the roof! These three things will help them in every aspect of their lives, for the rest of their lives.
I want your children to fall in love with the fun aspects of Jiu-Jitsu. If the kids have fun, they will keep coming, and if they keep coming, they will learn Jiu-Jitsu. Because of this I never allow students to attend classes when they are forced to do so. Jiu-Jitsu should be a reward, not a punishment.
I teach the rules of engagement, because it teaches the kids how to be responsible with these very powerful and dangerous techniques and gives them a solid plan for engagement with bullies.
Avoid the fight at all costs.
If physically attacked, defend yourself
If verbally attacked follow the Three T-steps (Talk, Tell, Tackle)
Never kick or punch the bully – Establish control and negotiate
When applying submissions, use minimal force and negotiate
Some parents may not agree with our rules for engagement, and ultimately the choice is yours whether or not you want your child to use them or come up with your own. The important thing is that the child won’t use the techniques to defend themselves if they are afraid of school policy or afraid that they will get in trouble with parents. Unless they know they have your support, their time learning self-defense is essentially useless.
The rules of engagement and a good plan are why Jiu-Jitsu kids rarely get into fights. They are so confident in their plan and ability to defend that when they stand up for themselves verbally, the bully almost always backs down. That’s why we say we learn to fight so we don’t have to fight.
The “Golden Rule”, is without question the most important aspect of the way I teach children. And that rule is, EXPECT NOTHING & PRAISE EVERYTHING! No exceptions to this rule!
If you have noticed in class, I will physically move their arm, legs, hands, etc. to the proper position, and then tell them, “perfect!”, or “good job!”, even though they didn’t do it themselves. We have learned that by doing this, it increases their positive mental state, and makes it easier for them to learn. After doing it for them a few times, they begin to do it correctly on their own and it allows their excitement and enthusiasm for Jiu-Jitsu to flourish!
First, I show the move so they can learn visually, then I explain the move with verbal deflection so they can learn by hearing. Next, I have them try it so they can learn by feel. Finally, I physically move them into position and tell them, “good job!” I could accomplish some of the same results through negative reinforcement, but eventually they will lose interest, lose self-esteem, lose confidence, and quit.
I really appreciate when parents come out on the mats and help with the kids, but please, above all else trust and practice the golden rule! Please refrain from yelling from the sidelines. If you want to help your child with a technique please come out on the mat and try to use the system I have outlined above. If you want to discipline your child, please call them off the mats and do it privately. Thank you for your understanding in this matter. I know that the kids will rarely master a technique the first time we teach it to them. I just want to plant a seed and let them learn the basic movement. Each time we review the lessons in future classes, they will pick up more and more details causing the techniques to become more and more effective for them. I get to know each kid and I have different expectations for each kid. My expectations are based on age, rank, ability to focus, etc. All kids are different and learn in different ways, and at different rates. That being said, your children will get out of it what they put into it. If they pay attention and practice the moves as many times as possible before we move to the next one, they will grow quickly in their abilities. I have learned to be patient and I understand that not all change is instant. The things aside from the techniques that I am teaching take time. The things like respect, discipline, focus, etc.
“EXPECT NOTHING, PRAISE EVERYTHING” Please trust me in my methods and I promise, your kids will learn Jiu-Jitsu and become responsible in the use of it! Thank you so much for allowing me the privilege of teaching this amazing art to your children! I appreciate each and every parent, and I care about each and every child! You are giving your child a gift that they will carry with them in everything they do for the rest of their lives. Years from now your children, like my own have done, will thank you for this precious gift that they didn’t even know they needed or know the effects it would have in every aspect of their lives! They won’t remember the things you bought them, but I promise you they will remember time spent with you, and that you cared enough to make sacrifices so that they could learn Jiu-Jitsu!