What would be typical for a 9-year-old with 6 months BJJ

Crosswind117

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Hi Everybody,

I'm a non-martial artist with two sons (aged 6 and 9) that started attending BJJ lessons last April and they've just past the 6-month mark (attending two 45-minute sessions per week).

Throughout those 6 months, I have been very "hands-off" and avoided giving them any coaching or advice; I actually decided to remain unfamiliar with BJJ so that my sons could hopefully teach me about it, instead of the other way around.

However, that said, as a parent that has invested 6 months of time, energy, and fees, I'm intensely curious as to my sons' current progress and whether another 6 months of investment is advisable. Please note that I'm not being a cheapskate by any means; but if it turns out that a kid wasn't really clicking with a certain sport and would have found more benefit and joy working on another activity, then it would've be better to make the switch sooner rather than later.

So for those of you that can remember what it was like to be 6 months in as a child or instructed children up to the 6-month mark, what would be considered typical for such a student? In terms of aptitude, proficiency, knowledge, attitude, and confidence? Bear in mind kids come in all kinds of personalities and competitive mentalities, ranging from intense game face all the time to just going through the motions at another routine day; but what would be the common factors to look for that would be characteristic of kids that reach the 6-month mark?

Sincerely appreciate any and all advice these forums have to offer,

Thank you,
 

skribs

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Do they look forward to class? Do they have friends in class? Are they smiling when they leave class? You've known these kids for 6 years and 9 years. You should have a very good grasp of what they're like when they enjoy something. Don't overthink it any more than that.
 
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Crosswind117

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Do they look forward to class? Do they have friends in class? Are they smiling when they leave class? You've known these kids for 6 years and 9 years. You should have a very good grasp of what they're like when they enjoy something. Don't overthink it any more than that.

Hi skribs, it's not about me overthinking, and my kids do enjoy class and show no signs of wanting to quit. I'm only asking the question simply because I don't know what an average 6-month BJJ student is supposed to look like.

As an aside, my 6-year-old continues to struggle with literacy. It became quite apparent to us at an early age, and later, when he began attending public school, his teachers also brought it to our attention. As a response we work with him every evening on reading comprehension so that he would avoid falling further behind the rest of his class. It is because we were aware of what an average 5-6 year-old is typically capable of that we were able to get a jump on his weakness before it becomes more pronounce in the higher grades.

For a 6-month junior BJJ student, if I were to speak in extremes, I would not imagine an "average" kid obsessing over every single drill super seriously and treating every sparring session as if it was a championship match. Likewise for the opposite side of the spectrum, if a kid only continued to attend BJJ classes just for the social aspects and games, but only did the bare minimum during lessons and not even offering resistance during sparring, well, I couldn't imagine that to be an "average" student either.

Just looking to see if anybody has experiences they can share.

Thank you!
 

Jimmythebull

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As an aside, my 6-year-old continues to struggle with literacy
I don織t see a problem as he might be gifted in sports, any sports not just BJJ. Will boost his confidence & will no doubt make friends. there have been many Professional sport athletes who were not gifted in school.
 

skribs

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Let me give you a longer answer. Your kids are 6 and 9. The most important things about activities they're doing is that they're learning motor skills and getting exercise, they're learning how to get along with other kids and listen to teachers, and that they have a place that's fun where they can build their self-confidence. The actual aptitude is completely irrelevant.

It may be that they're ahead of the pack, which is great. It may be that they're behind the pack, which is perfectly fine. They'll learn the skills eventually if they keep going. If they are behind, then at some point it might suddenly click. It might be a move that clicks and everything else lines up, or it might be when they get older.

Or it might be that at some point, they say, "Dad, I want to ______ instead." It might be another sport. It might be chess. It might be guitar. It might be something like professional gamer or tiktok influencer. It might be something you understand, it might not. That's when it's time to have a discussion if they quit BJJ to do the new thing, if they add BJJ to the new thing, or if the new thing is something feasible for them to do. And after trying the new thing, maybe decide if they want to go back to BJJ, or if doing both was too much (you get the idea).

Deal with these things when they come up, instead of worrying about every possible eventuality. It's nice to have a plan and be prepared, but not in such detail that it comes at the expense of the present. The only thing I will say is if they do go to another activity, and it is not a physical activity, to make sure they get their exercise somehow.
 

tkdroamer

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Hi skribs, it's not about me overthinking, and my kids do enjoy class and show no signs of wanting to quit. I'm only asking the question simply because I don't know what an average 6-month BJJ student is supposed to look like.

As an aside, my 6-year-old continues to struggle with literacy. It became quite apparent to us at an early age, and later, when he began attending public school, his teachers also brought it to our attention. As a response we work with him every evening on reading comprehension so that he would avoid falling further behind the rest of his class. It is because we were aware of what an average 5-6 year-old is typically capable of that we were able to get a jump on his weakness before it becomes more pronounce in the higher grades.

For a 6-month junior BJJ student, if I were to speak in extremes, I would not imagine an "average" kid obsessing over every single drill super seriously and treating every sparring session as if it was a championship match. Likewise for the opposite side of the spectrum, if a kid only continued to attend BJJ classes just for the social aspects and games, but only did the bare minimum during lessons and not even offering resistance during sparring, well, I couldn't imagine that to be an "average" student either.

Just looking to see if anybody has experiences they can share.

Thank you!
I wasn't overly concerned with your post until this part:

"For a 6-month junior BJJ student, if I were to speak in extremes, I would not imagine an "average" kid obsessing over every single drill super seriously and treating every sparring session as if it was a championship match."

The "average" six or nine year-old kid with 6-months of classes does not treat every sparring session as a championship match. Most of them do not fully grasp the rules yet and do not know a ton of skills. To be frank, I feel you are the one obsessing. Not explicitly a bad thing but it can suck the fun right out of taking BJJ for your kids if you are not careful.

Let's use the two teaching venues you have mentioned to create some needed contrast between the two. Grade school teaching is very defined and uniform. Because of this any child can reasonably be evaluated and compared to the rest of the (literally) millions of other kids the same age and determine whether the kid is ahead or behind the pack in learning. And even this is pretty far from 100%. It is a tightly regulated, government entity with every kind of control method you can think of.
BJJ or any other martial art school is a private venture with little to no regulatory control. With some exceptions, the teacher has zero actual instructional training outside of their own arts teachings. They may be the best at BJJ in the competitive sense but may or may not be very good at teaching it. They may have excellent teaching skills but may be better at teaching adults. Or they may be great at teaching kids, and you simply do not understand the process or how to evaluate it.
Things very much a constant are that kids learn at different paces, even at the same age, and the three years difference in the age of your kids is Huge in the developmental sense. Add to this that 6-months is not much time in any martial art. The best teachers understand this and how to get the most out of each child.

So, as a doating, concerned parent, I would tell you to step back and do not evaluate, especially since it sounds like you have zero basis or background to do so with anyway. It seems your expectations and reality are pretty far apart. Let your kids have fun with class. Better yet, make certain your kids are having fun. Remember, the kid thing only comes around once for all of us.

Most of this really needs to be a set down conversation between you and you alone with the instructor. Do not include your kids. Listen and learn. Of course, there are markers you can listen for in the general sense, but as the parent, you have responsibilities to their learning as well. Get involved and do your part.

Lastly, it sounds like you have done just that with one of your kid's as far as their development in grade school learning. That is fantastic and just what every parent should do. Just know that things are a bit 'looser' in teaching a martial art. Yes, there are specific milestones and absolutes every person should meet but every person reaches these markers at their own pace and in their own time. What I find consistently with the younger kids is they learn by osmosis, even when you think they are not learning. At some point a 'switch' will flip and they will get it.

So, step back and take a breath. Do not create a problem that is not really there. Something I have seen way too many times are kids that end up hating and leaving class because their parents just would not back off and let them have fun.
 
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skribs

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So, step back and take a breath. Do create problem that is not really there. Something I have seen say too many times are kids that end up hating and leaving class because their parents just would not back off and let them have fun.
You may want to fix this one word. Because I think you mean the opposite of what it currently says.
 

Jared Traveler

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6 is far too young in my opinion to place a kid in a structured BJJ class. 9 is potentially too young also. I think putting kids in martial arts too young is one of the biggest ways to turn them off to martial arts and ruin the experience.

I would consider pulling them out. Perhaps put them in a hard art like karate. But the soft systems like Judo, and BJJ are something they would be better to wait on. With a high level of personal instruction, young kids can learn BJJ young, but it's a very complex system to learn.
 

tkdroamer

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6 is far too young in my opinion to place a kid in a structured BJJ class. 9 is potentially too young also. I think putting kids in martial arts too young is one of the biggest ways to turn them off to martial arts and ruin the experience.

I would consider pulling them out. Perhaps put them in a hard art like karate. But the soft systems like Judo, and BJJ are something they would be better to wait on. With a high level of personal instruction, young kids can learn BJJ young, but it's a very complex system to learn.
A notable point. To the OP ( @Crosswind117 17 ), if you really want to evaluate the class, make certain they are not getting too much twisting & pulling. In a nutshell not overly competitive for their age. Burnout is a very real thing.
Any good school is going to understand this and modify the program based on age.
 

skribs

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stop nit picking man..his post was spot on .
It was a minor edit that he accepted. At this point, you're just targeting me.
6 is far too young in my opinion to place a kid in a structured BJJ class. 9 is potentially too young also. I think putting kids in martial arts too young is one of the biggest ways to turn them off to martial arts and ruin the experience.

I would consider pulling them out. Perhaps put them in a hard art like karate. But the soft systems like Judo, and BJJ are something they would be better to wait on. With a high level of personal instruction, young kids can learn BJJ young, but it's a very complex system to learn.
Both my old TKD school and my new BJJ school start kids as young as 4, sometimes even 3. There are TKD schools that do a horrible job with kids and just treat it like daycare. There are TKD schools that have very little structure and are 90% just games and activities. My BJJ class isn't structured in curriculum, but it is structured in how class progresses. It's always warmup - drill - positional roll - live roll - (for kids class) games.

It's much more important that you have a teacher who knows how to teach kids than which specific art they teach or the specific way they arrange the curriculum. He says his kids are having fun. Pulling them out of a place they love and into a different style that they may or may not like is more likely to create burnout than leaving them in a place they enjoy where they already have friends. Just like when a movie franchise decides they need to change the formula to attract a new audience, and they end up turning off the current audience in the process.
 

skribs

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A notable point. To the OP ( @Crosswind117 17 ), if you really want to evaluate the class, make certain they are not getting too much twisting & pulling. In a nutshell not overly competitive for their age. Burnout is a very real thing.
Any good school is going to understand this and modify the program based on age.
We had this discussion in class a few weeks ago. My professor put up signs "Parents, do not coach your kids." One of the blue belts was saying it's unfortunate how much pressure the parents put on the kids, and they treat every roll as if it's a competition. Kids should be there to have fun and too much pressure ruins that. I think most coaches are going to know this, and in most cases the pressure burnouts are from the parents instead.
 

Jimmythebull

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It was a minor edit that he accepted. At this point, you're just targeting me.
absolutely not. I just feel that when people "nit pick" little things like grammer they織re normally upset. Everyone understood his post.
 

skribs

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absolutely not. I just feel that when people "nit pick" little things like grammer they織re normally upset. Everyone understood his post.
You're probably just thinking that because you routinely upset people and you have horrible grammar.
 

Jared Traveler

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It was a minor edit that he accepted. At this point, you're just targeting me.

Both my old TKD school and my new BJJ school start kids as young as 4, sometimes even 3. There are TKD schools that do a horrible job with kids and just treat it like daycare. There are TKD schools that have very little structure and are 90% just games and activities. My BJJ class isn't structured in curriculum, but it is structured in how class progresses. It's always warmup - drill - positional roll - live roll - (for kids class) games.

It's much more important that you have a teacher who knows how to teach kids than which specific art they teach or the specific way they arrange the curriculum. He says his kids are having fun. Pulling them out of a place they love and into a different style that they may or may not like is more likely to create burnout than leaving them in a place they enjoy where they already have friends. Just like when a movie franchise decides they need to change the formula to attract a new audience, and they end up turning off the current audience in the process.
I'm aware of what TKD schools do. Teaching grappling skills is exponentially more complex than teaching TKD. I would support a kid doing TKD at age 6, potentially.

Kids can have a lot of fun doing a lot of things, but if we are talking about actually developing skill, technique and learning a martial art, 6 and potentially 9 is too young in my opinion. This is a common opinion shared by many people who actually teach submission grappling arts.

Of course there are always instructors who are focused on the money and will develop a program to "entertain kids" so they are having fun. But this has little to do with learning a martial art.
 

skribs

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there you go i was correct
No. You were not. If you had any ounce of awareness you would have noticed that I agreed with his post. That doesn't sound like it upset me.

You're using this as an excuse to pick a fight with me, because that's all you do. You look for excuses to create drama. And I say "create drama", because that drama did not exist until you got involved. Before that, it was merely me trying to be helpful, and then the person I was trying to help accepting that help. Again, any amount of awareness would have told you this, because A) he liked my suggestion and B) he quoted it and mentioned that he accepted the advice.

But no, you had to make this about you vs. me. This is 100% on you. You were not involved until you decided to be, and you picked nobody's side.
 

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