I recently had a conversation with a mom whose children tried Gracie Barra Brazilian jiu-jitsu for the first time. Her kids loved it and she loved it too. I asked her what she liked about it, fully prepared to hear the usual great responses about confidence, enjoyment and self defense. But her response surprised me because I hadn’t heard it before: “Every child participates fully”. You see, this mother had put her kids into every sport out there. Soccer, basketball, football…But she found, as most of us have, that in sports, not all positions are equal and not all players are equal.
And that’s OK. I’m not here to bash traditional team sports. I’m a big fan of them myself and I’ve enrolled my own children in them. They have their purpose in developing children. However, what this observant mother noticed is true. Her kids, like mine weren’t the star soccer players, or football players. So they simply didn’t get as much action as the kids who were. What she loved about Brazilian jiu-jitsu was that it didn’t matter what the abilities were of the kids in class, everyone gave their all, everyone had to put in 100% effort. It wasn’t forwards and wings getting all the action, while the, ahem, cough, fullbacks like my 6 year old self, that sat back watching. It wasn’t just the 1st string players on the field, while the benchwarmers…warmed the bench.
And while the goal of many kids sports teams is to have fun, the coaches are human. Sometimes they really want their team to win. And winning doesn’t always mean you focus your time and effort equally on your star players and your average players. It sometimes means focusing on your star players and getting the ball to them to do their magic.
In Brazilian jiu-jitsu the star player is YOUR child. The “ball” is always in their court, always in their possession. And the magic always comes from them. So while team sports are great for kids, sometimes, Brazilian jiu-jitsu can be better