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How Young Can You Start Jiu-Jitsu

how young can you start jiu jitsu

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How young can you start training jiu-jitsu? Really, there is no age restriction but we believe that the answer varies between personality types and personal desires. We started training Jiu-jitsu at the age of 23 and still felt pretty early to the game at that age. If you are a parent looking to see what is best for your kid and how early you should start them out, this article is for you.

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What is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?

Brazilian jiu-jitsu is a martial art focusing on ground-based grappling techniques, submissions, and self-defense. It does not matter how big or how small you are when you start training BJJ, the martial art was created for smaller people to have an upper hand on those that ay be bigger or stronger than them.

Brazilian jiu-jitsu is the fastest-growing martial art on the planet right now thanks to the huge popularity boost from the UFC and celebrities like Joe Rogan. Many people who train Brazilian jiu-jitsu see a lot about themselves change in a relatively short period.

If you are looking to help build discipline in your child, have them learn how to protect themselves from attackers, or just find a way for them to build confidence and self-reliance skills Brazilian jiu-jitsu may be something to seriously consider for them.

The Effects of Jiu-Jitsu on Development Phases

Every child is going to develop differently. Some children grow faster, while others take more time to catch up. Regardless of where your child fits on the spectrum of development, we firmly believe that BJJ could benefit them in four categories of their life.

As parents, we want what is best for our children, and sports (especially at a young age) can play a pivotal role in how that looks. The community within BJJ is like nothing else out there, the people show up because they choose to challenge themselves and pursue improvement in their mind, body, and soul.

Let’s examine four categories that can be developed on the mats.

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Physical Progress

The physical progress that is noticed in our children will be highest from the ages of 10 – 18. During this phase, your child will see the following things change:

  • Heart and cardio strength is improved

  • Increased Flexibility

  • Musculoskeletal systems develop and strengthen

  • Body awareness and coordination are improved

Training jiu-jitsu in this phase of their life will only allow them to become more aware of their body and in control. You may be hesitant to let your kids try out such a “violent” sport but we want to warn you that this set of beliefs of BJJ is farther from the truth than you may like to imagine.

Yes, there is always a risk of injury in full-contact sports like BJJ, but the safety and well-being of everyone on the mats is priority number one with us. Who you have as a coach matters for this and the standard that is set by the black belts of the gym is what you should be examining when making this kind of choice for your kid.

Many adults always come to us saying that they wish they would have gotten into jiu-jitsu earlier in life. Your child might be one of those.

Mental Development

During this same age range, children go through several mental changes that we as parents are aware of. The mental development that will occur while learning something like Brazilian jiu-jitsu only supports the changes that come along with children at this age. Some of these changes are:

  • A better understanding of the world around them

  • Enhanced confidence levels

  • Determination starts to build

  • Resilience

  • Improved levels of self-discipline

  • Understanding how to learn better

This list fires me up personally. Important life lessons can be learned on the mats. Young students will have an edge over all the other kids around them.

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Emotional Development

During the early stages of their life, children change a lot emotionally. Training Brazilian jiu-jitsu can help combat the changes that they will go through and serve as a health mechanism to make it out the other side hitting a stride as they go off into adulthood.

While training in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, children will learn how to do the following:

  • Children will learn how to control their emotions

  • They will learn how to develop strong connections and bond with others

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How Young Can You Start Jiu-Jitsu?

We understand that many parents who come to us are worried that their kids are going to get hurt if they introduce their kids to martial arts too young. They come to us and ask to get more reassurance that they will be safe and unharmed while training. The fact of the matter is that anyone making these claims is not only lying to you but should not be trusted.

Every parent is different, some parents think that they should enroll their child as early as possible while others are reluctant because it it too physically demanding. There is no specific answer to this question.

The age at which you should introduce your child to Brazilian jiu-jitsu depends on the kid’s ability to learn and grow. At the age of 4, a kid can start training BJJ but starting too early may cause the child to not like the sport. If we had to give it a number, anything around the age of 7 or 8 is a good range to start your child in BJJ training if you want them to get a headstart.

Even the age of 10 is a great time to introduce your kid to the sport, you know them and their personality better than we do so make a judgment call there.

How to Know if Your Child is Ready for Jiu-Jitsu Training

Every child is going to be unique. They all have varying levels of physical, mental, and emotional attributes. How can you recognize that your child is ready to learn jiu-jitsu? Here are some factors to consider when trying to make that decision:

  1. How effectively do they communicate

  2. Can they go to the bathroom on their own

  3. Do they show a level of interest in sports or physical activities

  4. Can they focus on something for a good period of time

  5. How good are they at following rules

If your child is good at the majority of the things on the list, we would say your child is ready to start training in BJJ.

Should Your Child Compete in Tournaments?

We may be jumping the gun here because you are still in the stage of discovering if you even want to sign your kid up in the first place. The best part about BJJ is the fact that there are many ways to put your skills to the test against other people.

Competition is great for children. Competition where they have to completely rely on their own skills and abilities is even better. From a very young age they will learn what defeat feels like and what winning feels like at their own hand, many adults don’t even get the opportunity till they are done with college.

Giving your child this gift is a blessing that they will not even be aware of how impactful it will be. As parents and coaches it is our duty to help guide them through those feelings but giving them the space to experience these things only serves them in the long run.

Children’s Belt Ranks & Age Divisions

Dirrent jiu-jitsu schools teach children of different age groups. These age groups are typically he following:

  • 5 to 7 years of age

This will be the minimum age group that children can be enrolled in a jiu-jitsu school. At this age, children are blank canvas having no knowledge about the game.

  • 8 to 12 years of age

Physical training begins at this age. Most of the kids in this age group will compete with classes being 45-60 minutes.

  • 13 to 16 years of age

Kids in this age range are not treated like children anymore. As teens, they are physically and mentally stronger. Their training involves understanding and following the mentor’s instructions during the training lessons.

  • 17+

Kids in this age range are training as adults.

Childrens Belt System

For those who do not know, the child ranking system is different than the adult system. The belts that a child can receive in Brazilian jiu-jits are the following in order:

  • White Belt

  • Grey Belt

  • Yellow Belt

  • Orange Belt

  • Green Belt

By the time a kid gets promoted to an orange or green belt it is common to see them jump right into a BJJ blue belt at the age of 16. Sixteen is the minimum age for someone to get their blue belt in BJJ.

Things to Note For Parents

As parents, if your kid wants to pursue a career in jiu-jitsu it is important to keep these things front of mind:

  1. Health and medical evaluations

  2. Searching for skilled instructors and skilled gyms

  3. Do not put too much pressure on children’s performance (only build resentment)

  4. Encourage Consistency

  5. Support the child’s development and encourage hard work on and off the mats

As BJJ continues to grow the possibility that your kid could make a career out of this sport increases with time, especially the earlier they start. We believe that BJJ is going to be the most widely practiced martial art on the planet, bar none, with that belief comes a world where we see real athletes get shots at making real money with their sport of choice.

Let’s say we are wrong, (I don’t think this is the case) and your kid gets their black belt in their early twenties because you decide to put them into Jiu-Jitsu at 10 years old, they have now entered the highest level of a sport when their life is just getting started. They will be miles ahead of anyone around them in a number of categories that only set their life up for positive experiences.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can you start Jiu-Jitsu at any age?

The best age to start training BJJ is the age when you get introduced to it. Many people start much later in life and that is okay. Whether you are thirty years old, forty years old, or ten, whenever you find the art form is the best time to have found it. Depending on the age you did find the martial art and the level of dedication that you put into it determines where it could possibly take you.

Is Jiu-Jitsu good for little girls?

Yes, jiu-jitsu is a good sport for little girls to participate in. The competitive scene for women in general for Brazilian jiu-jitsu has grown exponentially over the past decade and we only see a world where it gets bigger. There are plenty of adult women who train the sport but it should be noted that it is male-dominated.

How early can you start BJJ?

You can start Brazilian jiu jitsu as early as 5 years old. To us, we believe that is too early and the best age to start is probably around the age of 10 to 12.

Is 17 too old to start BJJ?

No, 1 is a great age to start training Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Think about it, if you stay consistent for 5 years by the time you are 22 you will be pushing purple belt and have a serious edge in the competitive scene.

Is 27 too late to start BJJ?

The average age at which people start training BJJ is 28. Most people that start their journey in the sport are this age so this is a perfect stage of life. to get into it.

  • Cameron Allen

    Cameron is the Founder of Grapplers Graveyard. He is an athlete, a life-long learner, and a combat sports enthusiast. His goal is to build websites that help people become smarter, healthier, and happier.

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