Parents often ponder and ask themselves is it safe to enrol their children in an activity such as Brazilian jiu-jitsu? Being a contact sport, the immediate threat would seem to be the physicality of the game, but there are other factors to consider.
In a recent interview given to Tatame Magazine (in Portuguese), black belt World and Pan American champion Yuri Simões mentioned that even though his father was a big fan of jiu-jitsu, he didn’t enroll him in a class until he was 9 years old, fearing that Yuri would lose interest too quickly in the sport if he was any younger. This is a valid point. When does a child have social maturity to start practicing martial arts, more specifically jiu-jitsu?
My father was a purple belt, he trained at home many times. He had mats indoors and his friends would come around to roll, they would let me take part. I learned basic positions, but nothing serious. I always asked my dad to sign me on a class but he held me off, afraid that I would stop early. – Yuri Simões
To answer “when should a child start practicing Brazilian jiu-jitsu/martial arts” and “when is it OK for a kid to start competing in jiu-jitsu” we contacted Hernani Caroço, an experienced psychologist, graduated from ISPA (Instituto Superior de Psicologia Aplicada) university in 2008, who has been working with underage children between the ages of 3 and 17 for many years. Mr. Caroço had the following statement:
“An activity of this kind can promote the child’s development, not only physically but also socially and emotionally. The control and management of aggressiveness are important assets in children with symptoms of depression and behavioural disturbances, and participating in jiu-jitsu classes in a balanced manner can help him/her cope and accept these more delicate emotions.”
SOURCE: BJJ HEROES – When Should kids start practicing jiu jitsu?