How Old Should I Start Learning Jiu Jitsu?

Jiu Jitsu is a form of self defense that’s world renowned for being a gentle yet effective form of self defense, you might be wondering, self defense, that seems a bit serious for children to learn right?

But no! In this article we’ll be going over how old you should be when you start learning jiu jitsu, and what some of the benefits are to starting as a kid! Without further ado let’s get started.

How Old Should I Start Learning Jiu Jitsu?

Starting Jiu Jitsu As A child

Jiu Jitsu’s literal translation means ‘gentle art’ and this form of gentleness is continued through the entire martial art.

Instead of other types of martial arts, jiu jitsu is a Japanese form of martial arts that has a primary focus on self defense, and protecting yourself in the event of an emergency.

This might seem like something that’s quite serious for a child to get involved in, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.

There’s a specialness to learning a martial art, and that specialness is only enlarged when you’re younger, it’s a way of life that has a profound impact on anyone that’s involved in the sport.

And training jiu jitsu is an immeasurable talent for students regardless of their age.

One of the main keys to unlocking the physical, social, and emotional benefits of jiu jitsu is starting the training of the martial art off at an early age. So let’s break down why.

Advantages Of Learning Jiu Jitsu At A Young Age

There’s a really long list of reasons why jiu jitsu is great to learn at a younger age, but rather than flooding your head full of hundreds of reasons why, let’s take a look at just a handful of reasons why it’s a great idea to get your child into jiu jitsu early.

  • Physical agility, flexibility, and muscle development
  • Promotes normal development
  • Improves coordination and balance
  • Helps control and manage behaviors
  • Provides a positive outlet for energy 
  • Helps cope with and accept emotions
  • Strengthens memory and brain function, encourages positive mental growth
  • Teaches good sportsmanship, helps children learn to work well with others
  • Boosts self-confidence
  • Improves focus
  • Helps develop leadership skills and problem-solving skills
  • Reduces stress
  • Encourages respect, patience, and commitment
  • Teaches kids about goal setting and following through

Not only this, Jiu Jitsu is an incredibly complex and deep martial art that many people dedicate many years of their lives to mastering. Starting off young isn’t a bad idea to get a head start on how much there is to learn from the sport!

When’s The Perfect Age?

When’s The Perfect Age?

So now that we know some of the advantages, when’s the best time to start? Well really this can be anytime that you’re comfortable with!

Some children start as young as three or four-years-old. The problem with starting your child too young is that they can develop an aversion for the sport if they’re not ready. 

Some professionals suggest starting your child around the age of six or when they are in first grade. That’s because they’ve already developed a basic level of independence.

So they’ll really benefit from independently learning jiu jitsu. As well as this, school should’ve already taught them about the importance of structure and discipline which will really help them with getting started.

Let’s take a quick look at a few questions you should ask before you get your child started in jiu jitsu:

  • Do they have the communication skills necessary to verbalize their needs and desires to an instructor independently? Can they sit through a class for the expected time frame? 
  • Are they bathroom trained? 
  • Can they follow the rules? Are they teachable? Will they listen to instruction and feedback? If not, you may want to wait to enroll. 
  • Am I willing to provide positive encouragement and motivation? 
  • Is there a school nearby? Both you and your child need to commit to their enrollment, and convenience has a lot to do with that success. 
  • Do they have any friends or family members in a local class? While they’ll make lots of new friends along the way, going into a class where they know someone can help motivate them and ease the tension that might come with the transition into the sport.

A child being either shy or outgoing is completely fine, but refusing to participate, or being too easily distracted is going to make learning a martial art incredibly difficult, so in that scenario you might be best leaving them an extra year or two.

Jiu Jitsu professionals often say that ages 5-7 are the perfect time to take your child to a class to learn the absolute basics of jiu jitsu, and get a feel for what the classes will be like, and 8-12 is the best possible time to get them started on their training, as they’ll have all the independence they need to begin training, and deal with any mistakes/losses that they might make when learning.

Something To Be Mindful Of

Jiu Jitsu is an incredibly complex sport, your child won’t pick up the tiny details of the martial art in a year, let alone 2 or 3 years.

But along the way they’ll make friends, gain confidence, and pick up the other part of jiu jitsu whilst learning the flashy moves and spins.

That’s right, as well as learning throws and other various techniques, there’s also a deep respect rooted in jiu jitsu that they’ll learn along the way.

The teacher respects the students just as the students respect the teacher, and this respect is enormously useful in real life too.

Final Thoughts

Jiu jitsu is a great martial art that you can learn from any age, but being younger is always going to be beneficial.

So take a look into your local groups and get started, there’s no pressure to commit if your child doesn’t enjoy it!

Christopher Anderson