Timid kid in BJJ, should aggression be advised?

Crosswind117

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Hello everybody,

I'm a parent with two sons that have just completed over a month of BJJ (2 lessons per week); they will be be 9 and 6 years old this year. I do not have any martial arts or combat background.

My younger son is more athletically-inclined and was totally into it; he also had the benefit of a relatively level playing field as most of the other kids had, at most, just an extra year of experience over him.

My older son is currently quite timid by nature, and after watching his first few classes, it was clear he would be the "runt of the litter" for a while.

My philosophy going into this is that I would not comment, coach, or push my sons in any way and to allow them to grow themselves into the sport as they see fit and without bias. My younger son didn't need any convincing at the start as he seemed to fit right in, always bouncing on his toes. However, I had reservations about my older son because of his gentle nature, but he still wanted to join even though he says that he was scared. The one thing I did tell my sons is that they should treat the BJJ lessons the same as if they were going to school; sometimes you have good days and sometimes you have bad days, but you still need to attend classes and complete your schoolwork regardless.

Then one day two new kids joined my older son's class and they were essentially UFC wannabees. I, on other hand, have never shown my sons any videos of combat sports, partially because I didn't want them to get any misconceptions or preconceived notions. Not surprisingly, my son, despite being taller and heavier, couldn't handle the more aggressive newbies. My son didn't complain and nor did I; he simply mentioned to me on the drive home that everybody was so aggressive. And I just mentioned that BJJ is a combat sport and sometimes you need to be aggressive and, of course, I complimented him on his effort as he always leaves class a little winded and red-faced.

My question is this: Should I continue as is and remain hands-off? and allow my older son to discovered and determine his own mindset over time? Or should I be taking a more pro-active and involved approach, exposing him more to the competitive mentality? Would either of the above approaches be considered a disservice to a child participating in martial arts lessons?

Sorry if these sound like dumb questions, but I'm just somebody that knows very little.

Appreciate any and all advice this forum has to offer.

Kind regards,
 

drop bear

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Are you talking about a technical fix. Or a mind set fix?
 

skribs

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I'm sorry, but why are you not letting them watch videos of the sport they participate in? Top-level athletes are very often inspiration for young folk growing up in a sport.
 

dunc

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My tuppenys Worth:

The first step in BJJ is to build a strong defence - become untappable
I give this advice to everyone starting BJJ, but often folk with a less aggressive personality find this suits them quite well

It is relatively straightforward to do if you focus on defence only when youre rolling (Most people dont). With a bit of coaching and practice your son will probably find the more aggressive kids are running around getting frustrated because they cant do anything to him. Which is very satisfying actually

Im not sure how you get him the coaching on how to do this (basically glue your elbows to your ribs, defend your collar and be a little on your side if possible), but if you can get him a little technical advice and help him take a defensive mindset (ie dont try to win, just survive / dont get tapped) then most likely hell have some good success. Maybe get some support from the professor by chatting to him/her (or a private class focused on this)?

I hope this helps
 

lklawson

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Then one day two new kids joined my older son's class and they were essentially UFC wannabees. I, on other hand, have never shown my sons any videos of combat sports, partially because I didn't want them to get any misconceptions or preconceived notions. Not surprisingly, my son, despite being taller and heavier, couldn't handle the more aggressive newbies. My son didn't complain and nor did I; he simply mentioned to me on the drive home that everybody was so aggressive. And I just mentioned that BJJ is a combat sport and sometimes you need to be aggressive and, of course, I complimented him on his effort as he always leaves class a little winded and red-faced.

My question is this: Should I continue as is and remain hands-off? and allow my older son to discovered and determine his own mindset over time? Or should I be taking a more pro-active and involved approach, exposing him more to the competitive mentality? Would either of the above approaches be considered a disservice to a child participating in martial arts lessons?
Your club doesn't have coaches? It's their job to help train the students in how to be successful. Tell your kid to ask his instructor or ask the instructor to teach him what he needs to do to win against the "more aggressive" new students.

If they can't do that, or won't, then they suck as teachers and you should find a new school. It's not as if BJJ is some sort of underground secret society. The only martial art that seems to have more schools is TKD. There's probably two more BJJ clubs within driving distance.

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
 

Steve

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Personally, I think you should just encourage and support your kids. Your son will do just fine if he sticks with it, and while he may never be super aggressive, he will develop a solid game over time.

If you don't care for MMA, I get that... I'm not a fan of teaching kids striking, in general, or any sport where there is a lot of contact to the head. But there are a lot of great grappling tournaments out there with elite level athletes. Watch the videos with your kids. You can even stream some of them live, so you can watch the action as it unfolds.
 

Flying Crane

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I think so far, your approach is spot-on. Allow your son to develop his own interest without you dictating how that should be. Also, allow him to decide that this just isnt for him, if that is where he ends up. They have just completed their first month, which is nothing and you should have no expectations at this point.

Perhaps he will find his groove and his place in the school and will be happy there. Perhaps he needs to be in a different school, even if this school is good for your other son. Perhaps he needs to be training a different method altogether. Perhaps martial arts is simply not for him. But after a month, you cannot know yet. So give it some time and keep the communication lines open with him.
 

Martial D

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My tuppenys Worth:

The first step in BJJ is to build a strong defence - become untappable
I give this advice to everyone starting BJJ, but often folk with a less aggressive personality find this suits them quite well

It is relatively straightforward to do if you focus on defence only when youre rolling (Most people dont). With a bit of coaching and practice your son will probably find the more aggressive kids are running around getting frustrated because they cant do anything to him. Which is very satisfying actually

Im not sure how you get him the coaching on how to do this (basically glue your elbows to your ribs, defend your collar and be a little on your side if possible), but if you can get him a little technical advice and help him take a defensive mindset (ie dont try to win, just survive / dont get tapped) then most likely hell have some good success. Maybe get some support from the professor by chatting to him/her (or a private class focused on this)?

I hope this helps
Nobody is 'untappable' , and I'm not sure trying to instill such a mindset could be benificial. Rolling involves a lot of tapping, quickly and frequently and teaches you to swallow your ego. If you believe you should never tap you will likely receive injuries.
 

Steve

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Nobody is 'untappable' , and I'm not sure trying to instill such a mindset could be benificial. Rolling involves a lot of tapping, quickly and frequently and teaches you to swallow your ego. If you believe you should never tap you will likely receive injuries.
Agree that being egotistical is a problem. There is no stigma to tapping often. Its part of learning. But I took @dunc s comment to be about focusing on defense, which is not the same as being hard headed. :)
 

Dirty Dog

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Nobody is 'untappable' , and I'm not sure trying to instill such a mindset could be benificial. Rolling involves a lot of tapping, quickly and frequently and teaches you to swallow your ego. If you believe you should never tap you will likely receive injuries.
I don't really think that's what dunc meant.
Lots of striking arts teach the ideal of "one strike knockouts" which, we all know, just don't happen all that often.
Both concepts can be viewed as ideals, or goals, or striving for perfection.
Nobody is perfect, but that doesn't mean it's not worth trying to be.
 

Holmejr

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Good coaches are able to ascertain the demeanor of an individual and work with them. We purposely do not pair timid new students with overbearing students to ease them into the aggressiveness of the art. This usually works well, but not always. Hopefully, the student grows in confidence and controlled aggressiveness.
My 3 grandchildren all started in bjj at around the same time. Currently the middle one is sticking with it at about 2 years. The others are happily playing baseball and soccer.

Eskrido de Alcuizar
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dunc

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Nobody is 'untappable' , and I'm not sure trying to instill such a mindset could be benificial. Rolling involves a lot of tapping, quickly and frequently and teaches you to swallow your ego. If you believe you should never tap you will likely receive injuries.
My bad - I was just quoting a phrase that my teacher uses
I should have been more precise and said "Strive to become untappable and always tap early if you get caught in a lock"

My point is, and I believe it is a really important one, to initially focus on your defence & escapes

If the OP's son can see not getting tapped in a roll as a win then he'll likely be able to a) develop the best foundation for his JJ and b) enjoy rolling with the more aggressive kids
 

drop bear

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My version of aggression is work ethic. If it is my job to go hard and beat people up. Then I commit myself to doing that as well as I can.
 

skribs

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When someone trains MA, he tries to solve some problems. To have the ability to deal with punches may be the 1st problem that he will need to solve.
I'm guessing that's not the first problem he will need to solve in a BJJ class. Just a hunch.
 

Monkey Turned Wolf

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At a month in, aggressive people are probably going to beat him. It takes a bit to learn to handle that. That said, why do you not let him watch videos of UFC, or at least BJJ tournaments? To succeed in pretty much any sport you need to see what people at a high level are doing and learn why they do it, and it can also provide inspiration.
 

Flying Crane

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I suspect that if this particular child watched MMA competitions, it would immediately him off from the training. The childs parent knows his temperament. At his age and with his temperament, it is better to let him explore the training without the weight and pressure of watching people get beat up and getting a message of, this is where you are headed.

Just let the kid decide if he enjoys the activity. Later, the idea of competition can be introduced and he can decide if he is interested.
 

Kung Fu Wang

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How is that relevant to the question being asked?
A: Should aggression be advised?
B: You can't be timid forever. Soon or later you have to use aggression to deal with aggression.

When people throw punches at your head, and you have courage to punch back, the word "timid" will never be in your dictionary.

 
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