In all good standards we want to have a preventable cause for the children yet nothing can be forced either. All children have a quality they will cherish over others. Though self-defense is important it may not be the main thing they practice and yet you can leave the child with great Insight from your experiences.
I’ve struggled with this myself and with my twins, I mean if my dad was willing to teach me how to battle with knees, elbows, take downs and sticks, etc I would have loved it right? Unfortunately they “think” they know so many things, but eventually they will realize this stuff requires work and determination. I do get them to learn some basics as a foundation, but it’s funny how you envision things happening and how they really do. With respect to the video, to me there is a limit to the capability of these little savages to understand it all, at that age I don’t know if I want my kid to be that deadly? Or maybe I do! Pretty harsh in harsh though in my opinion, but hard to deny they are impressive… I don’t know man, difficult to judge here, just keep sending out these awesome emails. Happy belated Fathers Day.
Robert V Aldrich
I don’t have kids of my own (that have fewer than four legs anyway), but I teach kids kung fu and have nephews & nieces. I’ve seen the result of over-eager parenting in the long-term when it comes to combat sports and it is always problematic.
You want to teach your kids assertiveness but not aggression. It’s been my observation that from aggression, more often than not, shows them to become the bully.
The world is an ugly and difficult place. I feel like they’ll discover that hardness on their own and in their own time. And once they do, that unguarded and enthusiastic smile you love seeing will never appear on their face again. At least not the way you’re used to seeing.
Emphasize the spot, the play, the fun. The competitiveness and all that will come on its own.
For what it’s worth, I didn’t discover martial arts until my mid-teens, and athletics until my late teens. And it’s become a love and cornerstone of my life. Don’t feel like if he doesn’t get it now, he won’t get it period or he’ll suffer some sort of handicap. Let him find it on his own. 🙂
My father died when I was four. End of story. A mentor is priceless. These two kids have been given many gifts. Self discipline, skill, self confidence, pride. I don’t know if they have been given humility.
The friends I have who are martial artists tell me there is always at least one classmate who is a jerk and likes to win and hurt. What can you do.
You toss in academics to these kids you have the full package.
I have two boys. Both do not like competing in organized sports. I tried martial arts. At first they seemed excited, then within 6 months they began to dread it. I felt like I was forcing them to go. I fear my children will be bullied. I want them to have thick skin and be able to defend themselves. I also want them to be young. I want them to be kids. I don’t want them to have to grow up too soon. It’s hard being a parent in this day and age. Unfortunately, with so many kids on social media, you can still be bullied regardless of your physical abilities. All we can do if get our kids involved in constructive activities and hope that they keep busy enough to avoid these bad situations.
I started teaching my kids when they were 4 years old jiu-jitsu. At first it was a game then when they were around 11 they lost intrest I brought them to class and they still did it but were not that excited about it. I put my son in a jiu-jitsu tournament and he got beat. Then he had this fire about home now I teach him mma he goes to boxing classes and is all around a fighting machine! He is 6’5″ tall and 230lbs and he is only 15years old and beats just about any man that try’s to spar with him!
Hey Trav, I too am the father of a 4-yr. old son, and although the only punches he’s ever “thrown” were in frustration as response to the incessant harassment of his older sisters, he’s still completely a Mamma’s Boy (as was I at his age). One day his inner warrior will need to materialize as he becomes taller than his sisters and old enough to protect us all. But until then, he still has the basics to learn, like manners, respect and consideration of others. I hope and plan to be around long enough to encourage and nurture his inner warrior, but it must be a gradual process beginning with internal motivation from watching and wanting to be like his old man…. I have to lead by example first. And once he recognizes the fun and benefits of his old man training, playing sports, competing, etc…. he can be fueled by it, rather than forced by it.
So very true!
As children we want to please our parents and be accepted by them. Unfortunately parents often use that need to fulfill their own wants desires and not their children’s. I would venture to guess that the young man wants to please his father, to gain his approval and make him proud. However, I would also say that he may not be a fighter, that this isn’t his passion and he may not have it in him to fight. When we don’t know better we’ll blindly follow our parents instructions. Then as we get older and we discover a sense of identity our wants may diverge from our parents. As the son of Asian immigrants I know this feeling very well. And when your wants are different and your parents don’t communicate, rather they force their will it usually doesn’t end well. I feel for this young man for many reasons. I hope he takes the good from his experience in Muy Thai and the negatives are outweighed.
I think with Trav as their dad your kids are going to be well balanced with a sense of humour growing up, and fighting will emerge as part of that.
I agree with you Trav that this is too much for the kids. It’s great that they have these skills to defend themselves but they need to be kids. The boy looked to the adult to stop the fight but he didn’t. These skills are handy mostly in prison but not when it comes to relating to their peers. At least they won’t be bullied but they might bully others with their skills.
I signed my kids up for American Kenpo at 4 and 7. You can’t push them. If they don’t want to practice they won’t. If they don’t want to go they burn out if you make them. I ended up signing up with them and my oldest and I progressed at the same ranks until Black Belt. Make EVERYTHING they do correctly a huge deal. They LOVE making you happy. It’s manipulative but it works. Especially at 4. I now teach Kenpo and find at that young of an age. Make it a game. Make it a little silly. And go bananas when they throw that good looking kick. They aren’t going to be savage at 4 but they will always gravitate toward praise and making you happy. Then you gamify because they grow competitive as older children and that’s the evolution into a fighter. Then they respond to the challenge of how good do you want to get. I’m sure you’re engaged but the dojo has almost become a second home to me and my boys. That’s what worked for me and even now if they don’t want to go I don’t force him but I tell them they aren’t going to get any better by magic.
This is the second video I have seen with these two prodigies. The other one was just boxing, no kicks but equally impressive. It makes me cringe to see that dresser chest just waiting for one of their heads to bash into if they get knocked out…take em in the backyard on grass for chrissakes! As an incredibly successful father, which I can say because all 3 of mine have reached or exceeded age 18 and they are in great shape, no broken bones, healthy, no hangups. BUT, none of them are prodigies. Two of them did BJJ in their younger years but didnt stick with it (lots of military moving doesnt help). None of them like to fight but none of them ever got bullied. Can’t tell if it is because they were beyond bullying or if this generation is way nicer than mine was ( I think it is the latter). In any event, I am fascinated by the performance in this video, I think it is typical of Asian culture driving kids hard and it seems to work out for them but it can also create burnout. Ultimately it is the art of coaching/parenting. Tiger Woods for example…but also half Asian.
Buy them a gun
My son has been doing Jiu Jitsu since the age of 7 and he is 12 now. For the first time when I gave him a day to take off and relax, he turned around and asked if he could still go. He has a passion for the sport now more than ever. That is a great feeling, when the passion lies within!
I say wait until they ask to learn. At some point every kid gets bullied, and from that point he will understand the need to be savage. Its been my experience that forcing kids to do activities they dont want to do just causes resentment. Good luck!
Both our kids train in a kid version of Krav Maga. Our son (11) is just OK with it. Our daughter (7) loves it! I help out as an assistant instructor when they go. I think it hits a really nice blend of fitness, functional self defense, discipline and fun. Sometimes they complain about going but I’ve told them that they have to do some kind of training in self-defense/martial arts, etc. and that isn’t up for debate. So far they are OK with that. My dad forced me to play golf as a kid and for a long time I hated it so it is definitely a delicate situation.
Mister Miyagi answers the karate kid (Daniel San )
Daniel: Hey – you ever get into fights when you were a kid?
Miyagi: Huh – plenty.
Daniel: Yeah, but it wasn’t like the problem I have, right?
Miyagi: Why? Fighting fighting. Same same.
Daniel: Yeah, but you knew karate.
Miyagi: Someone always know more.
Daniel: You mean there were times when you were scared to fight?
Miyagi: Always scare. Miyagi hate fighting.
Daniel: Yeah, but you like karate.
Daniel: So, karate’s fighting. You train to fight.
Miyagi: That what you think?
Daniel: [pondering] No.
Miyagi: Then why train?
Daniel: [thinks] So I won’t have to fight.
Miyagi: [laughs] Miyagi have hope for you.
I am a dad and I started teaching my son when he was 4. I took him to numerous gyms to watch different martial arts. He enjoyed watching all of them but the only one he actually agreed to participate is BJJ. My son was no natural fighter. First day in class he was bullied and choked by his partner, a girl. He cried uncontrollably. My wife was ready to quit: why would I pay to get my son mistreated like this? Eventually I convinced her it’s good for him in the long run. And I promised I would teach him how to defend the submissions so he won’t get hurt like that again. And I roll with him every day. 3 years later he is competing in tournaments and enjoys fighting other kids.
My lessons: Get involved in training your son yourself. He’ll enjoy fighting you and get comfortable with the act of fighting. And you’ll develop and strong bond with your son.
I was a D1 wrestler, and my son wanted to start wrestling at age 7. So he did. I ended up being the coach, but after a few years, it was apparent he wasn’t into it. He was really upset one day and told me he didn’t want to do it any more, but was afraid I would “love him less.” Broke my heart.
I told him something along the lines of: “Look, I had my own experience with wrestling. You have your own experience with it. They won’t be the same. That’s cool.”
I then explained that as a dad, I will support any constructive activity – a sport, an instrument, volunteering somewhere, ANY constructive activity. He hasn’t wrestled since fifth grade, but he’s got plenty of confidence from kicking ass in swimming and track and field (currently a sophomore in high school).
During my time as a youth league coach, I saw many fathers (and a few mothers) doing their damnedest to fuck up their kids as much as possible. You know the type – the highlight of their career was when they placed 4 in the JV tournament 20 years ago, but goddammit, their son is going to be a 2026 Olympian or I will disown him!
I have 4 kids that trained with me. The youngest was 3 when we started. I choose to start a martial art that i didnt know with them( karate, so it was a very bounding experience that we shared together) its only much later, when they had really enjoyed martial arts that i started teaching them myself things that i know a bit. To avoid the repetition that is a bit boring for kids, i did let them try many diferents martial arts, but each time with their own engagement. I would forbid them to start unless they promised me to do at least 6 month or 1 year. Now the elder is 16 and the youngest is 13. In judo that i teach them one is number9 and the second is number 29 on the world ranking list. They also win in karate , taekwondo, and bjj quite some medals. And they enjoys your head movements program. Thank you
My son is 7, he’s in BJJ and he too is not very aggressive at all. I think that it is EXACTLY that type of child who should go to JJ. He also has a 10 year age difference between his sibling. I feel that siblings closer together are more aggressive since they are used to fighting for resources.
I took advice from one of Jocko’s podcasts where he said he messed up by forcing jj every day. He said it should be fun for them so if that means once a week, then that’s it.
So I was taking him 3 times a week, but I started getting the push back… so we went to two week days… I also signed up and he thinks that is cool father – son time…
Best of luck balancing.
I just got my sons to join me for a class 3 nights a week. They are both teenagers and have shown enough maturity to be able to learn something without thinking it is always the solution. It has made all of the difference in the world for my youngest. It is a vehicle for teaching self-reliance and self-discipline that cannot be equaled anywhere else. We are not in a “safe” glorified dance class, there is pain and they experience fear, but that just makes the triumphs more sweet and real. By the way, we have been watching your videos for years and bought a couple of online instructions. Its how they both learned to kick properly. Tag! your nuggets…Great stuff
Love the work you do and I really enjoy your witty (yet very informative) commentary and videos.
My advice to you would be to make it as fun and positive as you possibly can. Easier said than done, right? Every kid is different, and it’s up to you to find their fun button. Whether it be froyo or smoothies after jiu jitsu, going to his favorite playground, or just spending time with you exploring the park. All this coming from a dad that failed miserably at trying to get my son to be the next Tiger Woods. He has a good swing, but after 20 minutes he’d just be throwing the golf balls downrange.
All the best and God Bless you and yours.
My kids and I have been involved with Krav Maga for the past three years. I like the idea that they can walk through life feeling more secure and safe from all those little bullies out there. I think if the next level of threat should ever cross their paths; one that would require a savage response… My hope would simply be that their training could somehow coming into play with a natural survival instinct.
I recently saw an ad for a Kevlar lined backpack for kids to wear to school. The sales pitch was that in the “event” an active shooter ever enter their school they could use their backpacks as a bulletproof shield. Almost made me puke. Look… We live in a world of conflict and there are various levels of resolution that we have to tap into sometimes. My hope and prayer is that my kids never encounter a situation where savagery would be required for mere survival. If God forbid they ever find themselves in a situation like this, then my hope would be that their martial arts training would serve as a further support for them in that situation. However, I think it’s madness to train kids to travel through this world as little savages just in case they encounter another…little savage. Just my two cents.
i started my boy at 5 in jiujitsu coming off no martial arts background and now i the assistant coach in the kids class. My boy is almost 9 now. he would love to not have to go anymore so he coudl sit around on his ipad for even more time, but he damn sure got tougher and has defended himself at school repeatedly and doled out justice a couple times too. having watched lots of 5 year olds start now as im teaching the class, every one of them that kept coming is fine with it now and better off.
hell my parents made me go to church like 4-5 times a week. Jiujitsu is the thing i make my boy do and its damn sure less miserable than that.
I started both my daughter and son in Filipino Martial Arts at 5 years old. This was mandatory in our household for personal / self awareness / self defence reasons and was balanced out by them being able to participate in any other activities of their own choosing. These included wrestling through high school, judo, gymnastics,dance, lacrosse, base ball, swimming and cheer leading. As adults they have both chosen their own path with my daughter still dancing into her mid twenties and my son continuing on his combat path as a 23 year old. I do not for a minute regret exposing and even to an extent forcing them to study combat early in their life. I believe it has made them better in all aspects of their lives.
As a parent and grandparent, I can tell you that I tried to interest kids and grandkids in a number of pursuits. Some they took to and some they didn’t. (My son got into off-road riding with me, one grandson got into being a musician and the other is in the Olympic Development soccer program). My opinion is that parents have an obligation to introduce their kids to different things. Sometimes they dive in,sometimes they don’t and sometimes they do later, after they discover what got you interested in the first place. My son had no interest in TKD or Krav Maga when he was a kid, despite my strong encouragement, but earned his Hapkido black belt at age 45 after 8 years of rigorous training and testing. My grandsons, OTOH, both earned their 2nd degree TKD black belts before age 15 and the youngest will earn his 3rd degree this year. Some of my KM students (ages 17 – 77) really get into it and want more intense training and advanced techniques; others don’t get past the first 3 or 4 sessions on combatives. I guess the conclusion is: they’ll do what they like or think they need and a dad’s role is to give them opportunities. Good luck.
My son and daughter and I went through black belt testing together in Tae Kwon Do a number of years ago. I joined in to keep them interested and dragged them through the last two years. They dropped all of it once they got their black belts. It wasn’t in them. Not surprisingly, my son is a scrapper, though he prefers boxing styles. My daughter returned to a more gentle, feminine mindset, after years of fighting with her brother (who is now bigger than her of course). Things change and all you can do is introduce the skills early where you can, and perhaps more importantly, the mindset of defending yourself. We have found that it’s sometimes detrimental to focus too much on all of that however, as my son will often take to physical confrontation as his way of problem solving. It’s a tough balance.
Hello, I am the father of a 5-year-old who has experienced feelings of inferiority from events in the kindergarten. So I train him in Tai Chi, Wing Chun, mma and after I learn your method properly I will try to adapt it to his age so that it will be part of the development of his self-image and his ability to protect himself now and in life in general.
What a coincidence.. 5 minutes ago me and my 13 year old daughter came back from visiting a Jiu Jitsu place that opened down the street from our house. I’ve been on and off grappling from the age of 9. Knowing the benefits I wanted the same for my daughter as early as possible. So I put her in jiu jitsu around age 6-7. Same story as with your son, and the same doubts for me as a father. I got tired of coaxing her to go to class and she stopped going. Fast forward 6 years.. For a couple of weeks now she’s been asking, of her own volition, about trying jiu jitsu again. And this new place is too convenient.. She will take the introductory class tomorrow. My suggestion to you is let it go for now.
I say, make him go. Just keep him there long enough to get a handful of moves, then work with him one on one. He’ll realize what you were trying to do someday, and love you for it.
Phil has great advice. Your son will learn the most from you. (Your page taught me the head movement that my boxing coach never did or could. I owe you.) Once you teach him MMA/boxing/wrestling takedowns only/BJJ, that will be the most cherished parts of his childhood memories…until he gets interested in the girls in 10 years. My son is now 17 and he has the fire now, but did not years ago. Don’t force him to be a warrior…yet. Keep it fun, and show him the moves to develop muscle memory. I had him wrestle in 6th and 7th grade, and he then got really into basketball. Now he wants to learn all about fighting and still can’t believe that his old dad is a fighter. My son thinks it’s funny that some dads bond with their sons by going fishing or playing golf; we wrestle and spar. Priceless memories. May I also suggest that he take 3-4 years of gymnastics.
I think it’s great to recognize that you don’t want to turn your children off of an activity because it was forced upon them. But I also understand the regret of not having started training earlier in life. My god, in my teens and 20’s, I absolutely NEEDED the discipline and focus that fight training would’ve provided. I’d do anything to go back in time and make it happen. Instead, I pursued theatre and acting. And while I would’ve LOVED to start training earlier, I also wouldn’t trade the amazing experiences I had in theatre. The point is, I think it happens when it’s supposed to. As a parent, all you can do is introduce fight training to your children and encourage them. Maybe the first style that you introduce isn’t the right style for their age. Maybe they’d be more excited to do some cool aerial kicks and swing some nunchucks in a TKD class. There’s nothing wrong with that. Look, I’m at an MMA gym now and I love it because of the practical skills and combos that it teaches. But it’s a DAMN good thing that I took TKD for 4 years and developed REALLY great kicking technique. It’s also a damn good thing that I trained at a boxing gym for 6 months, 4 days a weeks, 3 hours a night and gained a great boxing foundation. You’ve said it yourself, Trav- It’s better to train in different martial arts and MIX them than it is to train at an Mixed Martial Arts gym (at least to start, anyhow). So my advice is to maybe try a different style and see if it creates more enthusiasm. They can always revisit BJJ later. I am a father of twin 14 year olds, and I would LOVE for them to train. But they see it as “dad’s thing”. But I still take them to the gym to watch class. I still watch martial arts movies with them. And maybe, just maybe, I’m sowing enough seeds for them to take that leap, one day. I hope they start earlier than I did. But the day that they start because they WANT to, will be the perfect day to start.
Trav, my son is 12 years old. I started him at six with TKD and he holds a 1st Dan in that, with many tournament wins under said black belt. I trained him in the fundamentals of Judo and JiuJitsu, as well as basic wrestling. He is a beast……. that said, there came a time when martial arts would have interfered with sports… and he made his decision without a second thought. Nothing on earth is as important to him as baseball…it’s ALWAYS been his first love, even while training martial arts. Now, as a lifelong martial artist, this kinda crushed me at first. He wont even take any more Krav Maga classes, and I’m an instructor!
Anyway, I fully support whatever he wants out of life. The kid is a gifted athlete, and desires to play MLB. I dunno about that,(so very few make it) but he could definitely parlay his talent into playing for a college.
He and I still roll quite a bit, and spar on occasion. A victim he is not‼️ I’m so very thankful for starting him early and giving him a well rounded self defense toolbox. If I had waited, thats a choice he wouldn’t have made now.(baseball).
I’d do it again in a heartbeat. Even if your son is getting crushed in bjj class, he’s LEARNING! Keep him in as long as possible! Make it worth his while. Bribe him. Whatever it takes until he has a solid grasp of jujitsu. It will serve him well his whole life.
I’m old. I share your wish. I want my son to be a bad ass: and I wish I’d started bjj instead of shotokan. Back then it just wasn’t a thing. At least not in the south down here in God’s country.
Thanks for what you do.
That is straight up child abuse. I don’t think children should be training in fighting before they can read. They are far from bully-proof also. Bullying isn’t necessarily physical. A significant percentage of people who report being bullied speak of being mocked, insulted, subject of rumors, being purposefully ignored and of course cyberbullying is all the rage these days.
IDK, I’m not a father, so my opinion wasn’t invited.
On the one hand we don’t want our children hurting others. However, I fully believe that my daughter absolutely needs to learn how to drop any opponent as quickly as possible when she gets older and becomes a woman. I once watched a navy seal do a TED talk where he basically said that if you cannot defend yourself effectively, then you are participating in your own murder should such a violent thing ever occur in your own life. He is absolutely right. This video is not savage. It’s absolutely instructional. Notice how much respect was shown when the boy backed up and raised his hand indicating that he wanted no more. Something along these lines happened to my sister and she was hospitalized by her drunken ex. Had she known what to do against this guy who was easily a foot taller and much stronger than her she wouldn’t be suffering from constantly recurring headaches today. This should be taught in school and then there would be no need for so called “safe spaces”, political correctness nor sensitivity training. You just need a rep as person who can really handle themselves. Respect will follow and so will ones self esteem. Just sayin’ no one wants to mess with a bad ass, and that’s been true throughout all human history
That was no living room. That was a motel. They don’t look like brother and sister. They look like two kids recruited to fight for the pleasure of perverted guys on the internet (not that you are a perverted guy on the internet). Before a boy learns how to fight, he needs to learn why to fight. I got my first broken nose when I was nine years old defending a boy who was being bullied. I didn’t lose the fight and I didn’t tell the bully he broke my nose, but I was proud of myself because I did fight to protect that boy. I’m 72 now and my grandsons want me to teach them how to fight. I tell them I will never teach them until I know why they want to fight. It’s a bad world out there. I do armed security at my church and at the kids private school. I’m willing to fight and die for them but I won’t teach them how to fight until I know they won’t yield to the temptation to be bullies. The real ad guy in that room was the man who made the video. He’s the one who needs the ass whooping. Not those kids.
Wow, that’s pretty incredible, but you were right in the email about the parenting costs. There are many ways to get kids interested in certain activities; we try to give ours a little experience in several areas and push what they have a natural inclination towards, and teach the importance of following through. Right now, my older daughter (8) – gym classes and singing. My younger (4) ballet and age appropriate grappling for fun. Of course as a dad, I would love for them to be great BJJ.
Teaching children sound fighting techniques is like teaching them to swim, youre teaching them survival skills! Not only to defend themselves but others. They will be more confident and self assured. Fighting taught properly teaches humility and empathy. All great qualities.
If your kid(s) seem disinterested at times while training have them make friends with some of the more intense kids there or bring one of their current friends to train with. Kids do what their friends do! If their friends are into Jui Jitsu, they will be!
And, dont be offended when your kids seem to blow YOU off when youre trying to coach/teach them but then listen intently to their grappling or boxing coach. Kids do that, mine did. Drove me crazy. Its what they do.
Trav- we all wish our boys were warriors. we also wish they were great at many other things we spend our free time and lots of money trying to get them to be: geniuses, scuba divers, sailors, climbers, firearms experts, baseball players, martial artists, musicians, cyclists, motocross, etc. All things I’ve spent countless hours and dollars trying to find that “one thing” that they’re great at. The truth is that no matter what we want our kids to be, they will be themselves. I’ve come to terms with that fact. Now, as my youngest turns thirteen my only hope is that he doesn’t hate me for it. I’m told girls are worse…so, there’s that. Good luck and keep up the good work. I have to believe that someday they will acknowledge the fact that we really tried.
Four year olds need the freedom to try new things. If they want to continue, great. If not then leave it alone. Jones, most bullying at young ages do NOT need kids fighting. And if they need to learn fight skills and they trust their parents they will ask. Some parents need to chill down a bit.
[email protected] that was bad ass top notch fighting , that kid is gonna be a killer , champion/prize fighter
I think as dads, we all struggle with this. We want our kids to enjoy and excel in the things that we cherish, and sometimes we make them hate those very things. I took my kids hunting too young and too often, they want nothing to do with it. My wife put our kids on horses too young and too often, and they dont care to ride. The list goes on. I think that we can only expose them to stuff and at some age, they may or may not decide that they want that for themselves. I dont golf, cuz i have a job, dont like plad pants, want to fight half of the dicks at the “greens”, but mostly because it was pushed on me too much as a kid when all I wanted was to ride my BMX bike in the sand trap. In the end, Trav, our kids will probably show us what we would really like to do, but we will be too old for it.
Think about it…. have you ever wanted for something that was in front of you all the time, or did you want for the things that were just out of reach?
Here’s the bottom line: they gotta do something. Besides move a mouse.
My 13yo son has tried dance, basketball, baseball, soccer, swimming, wrestling, and I’ve probably forgot some. He has no choice. Doing nothing is not an option. I’ll support him in whatever he chooses to do. He has flat feet and does not do well at any ball sport.
His natural talent is grappling. He had me in headlocks at 2 yrs and I think he was about 5 when I told him I couldn’t take him wracking on my neck any more. I had him in mat clubs a couple of times, and he enjoyed it, but we lacked maternal support (we share custody). He’s been taking bjj for about a year now. A couple of tournaments cinched his interest. He’s in a championship tournament this weekend and is pretty excited.
I think boys have to go through a mommy stage before they hit a daddy stage. He’s just now starting to hit the daddy stage. He has questions about himself that his mom can’t help with. And questions about girls. And baby fat and six-pack abs and how to shoot a rifle and, well, you get the idea.
I feel the daddy stage just getting going. We’re setting up a summer workout routine. I’m edging his (awesome) bjj coach into a mentoring position. I can see my son leaving the electronics behind. He understands that he doesn’t need to eat less, he just needs to eat healthier. He is, at long last, understanding that his future is not going to be handed to him, he has to work for it.
If I want my son to follow my lead, I need to be the man I want my son to be. I need to be an inspiration to him. I need to show him the work, the sweat, pain, injuries, joy, setbacks, improvements, and everything else that comes with the struggle of life. When the time is right your kid will naturally adopt the attitude and ethic you have modeled.
All that b.s. said, we’ve all seen the 8yo sons of wrestling coaches who speak the language of grappling better than we speak english. And we’re jealous. Yeah, good luck with that. Suck it up. Give your kid some space. He’ll come around. Be there, waiting.
The boy is going to either run away from home or murder his father in his sleep one night.
I have been training my boys since they were 4 years old in mma. It has paid off in spades. They never get bullied and are sought out by their peers if an altercation arises. They have learned what discipline and hard work truly mean. They know what it means to win and more importantly what it means to lose. They both have the confidence to try anything new and are not afraid of failing. They both do well in school and what ever else peaks their interest. They both go through their now teenage lives with confidence and inner peace. Incidentally they are both the smallest students in their school and no one fucks with them. They both despise bullies.
Salute! Chinese parenting done right. Chinese parents would “force” children to learn something interesting, and when children progress and feel the sweetness of accomplishment, children will enjoy doing these things in later life. Western people will never get it due to living in different cultural background.
I suspect we’ve all seen the 8yo son of a wrestling coach who is more fluent in grappling than we are in English. And we’re jealous. Well, suck it up. Give your kid some space.
My 13yo son has tried dance, soccer, swimming, BB (all of them), and more. I would have supported him in any of them. The bottom line is that he can’t do nothing. Nothing being gaming and electronics. So by default (ok, it’s my fault) he’s been doing bjj. It was ok. He kinda tried. If he could have done nothing he wouldn’t have been in juitz.
His first tournament ended the “whatever” phase. He gets more serious every tournament. And it’s not like he met with success at the tournaments. He’s had to roll up in weight or experience in all his bouts and he’s only won one. Still, he’s motivated.
It’s been a long road getting here. Until lately, it’s been what I call the mommy phase (we have joint custody). Play dates, cake and ice cream, binge tv, electronics. That’s changing. I’d blame testosterone. There are questions that his mother can’t answer. About himself. Girls. Six-pack abs. Shooting a rifle. Finding a place for himself in the world. Kicking ass.
Welcome to the daddy phase. We have a championship tournament this weekend. He’s pretty pumped. We’re working on a work-out routine for the summer. I’m edging his bjj coach into the mentor roll (he’ll be awesome!!).
Be the man you want your son to aspire to. Be generous, give the kid mommy time. Recognize that by the time he gets to you he’ll be needing a second opinion. Try to make that a responsible adult vs. one of the gang.
My son is now challenging me as much as I am challenging him. We’re growing together. It feels good.
I have four kids, and have done jiu jitsu for about twenty-two years, and always wanted my kids to learn early, as did most of us posting here. I dropped hints, showed them a few moves, but they never jumped on it like I hoped they would
The kids could have cared less. Not one of them took up any martial art despite my prodding. I suspect the fact that there was little bullying or brawling at their school and none of them had any great emotional holes to fill had something to do with it.
A friend of mine’s dad pushed him hard to do judo, from about 10 to 18, when he finally got his black belt. He got the black belt, moved out, and never did it again. It was not something he grew to love, and in fact probably disliked because it was his dad’s goal, not his.
I think the healthy approach is to offer it, don’t force it, and drop it if they are not interested.
My kids went on to do athletic things that they drifted towards, cross country running, swim team, water polo.
As long as they are healthy and happy, right?
I think that parent that is forcing his kids to fight it out like that, hard-core full-out fighting, ought to be locked up. Its my guess that those kids will end up emotionally screwed up from having someone who is supposed to love and care for them admonishing them for not kicking their sibling hard enough in the head, or the thigh.
You think those kids really want to be doing that?
Sick mo’fo’ IMHO.
My opinion is that self defense should be as mandatory as going to school. Of course if you can candy coat it when kids are very young, that may make it more appealing to them. Make it more like a play activity of course with sprinkles of basic techniques and concepts.
I think the Gracie’s did a really good job with there bully proof program for young kids. It was more about playing games with your kids so they started to get the idea of rolling. Now I have had the same problem with my boy wrestling but eventually he has come to love it. Guess it’s trying to find the right balance
I’m a Dad of four kids, two of each to two different women. They’re all pretty capable physically, strong people of body and mind. They’re also very respectful and have no desire to hurt people. So far, they haven’t attracted people wanting to bully them I think because they’re respectful without being push overs. I wouldn’t worry about turning your kids into some fighting machine. I reckon your son will learn through osmosis how to look after himself just by your presence and observation. You’ve got a massive body of work that he can watch that’ll give him loads of confidence when he needs it. I’m not a trained fighter, but I have a beast inside that I trust to show up when I need it. It has in the past, but apart from that I like being harmless. Teach your kids compassion for the struggle that everyone goes through, and your great sense of humour. They’ll no doubt we a weapon like your good self. Thanks for all the great videos Trav.
Yeah, no. That’s terrible parenting (in the video).
I’m not any kind of martial artist, or athlete, and never have been. I want my daughter to be able to set boundaries and enforce them if she has to, though. She struggles with anxiety (as do I) so we visited a local Gracie gym to watch an adult class not long after she turned 7. She was curious about what they were doing, and thought it might be fun. She started their Bullyproof program a few months ago and loves it so far. She wants to take extra classes, and always wants to wrestle at home. She’s often the only girl in the class, and she’s fine with that now (this would have been unthinkable a year ago).
But it all had to start with her interest in what was going on. If that wasn’t there, even if I make her go she will never be very good at it because people tend to get good at what they either need or enjoy (or both).
My dad hack for having a daughter: I hate when dads are like “When my daughter brings home her first boyfriend I’ll be there cleaning my gun” or whatever, with the implicit threat nonsense. Honestly, that’s stupid and a bit creepy. I want my daughter to be a formidable person on her own, so I’ve decided that she can start dating when she earns her green belt (if under 16) or blue belt (if 16). If she’s well on her way and training regularly, I might flex on that line a bit. Point being, it’s up to her.
I think to go full on like this really increase the risk of injury beyond what I would be comfortable to put my children through. I mean, those are quite little ones, and when you’re little, you have much more time in front of you. Much more time also means much more probability of shit happening to you. I think the training required to get them to the level of video must put their health at risk to be honest. Injuries that could have dramatic impact on the rest of their lives. I personally spar with my children (5 y.o. and 2 y.o.) everyday in a tatami room. We are just having fun hitting each others and I make sure to adapt the rules to keep it safe. I don’t see the necessity of formal martial class. I want them to have fun primarily. We live in a safe place, doesn’t make sense to get hurt from training when learning to protect yourself from getting hurt ?
Life is full of things you don’t wanna do. But I guarantee they will appreciate it later in life when they can defend themselves against anyone.
I have a 12 yr old girl and an 10 yr old boy. Started taking them to BJJ when they were 5 & 7, fantasising about how cool it w’d be to have them both black belts when they left home & went off travelling or whatever. They went along, I always suspected, because they know I loved it (and trad ju jitsu also). I’d always told them I’d love it if they loved it (you always want your kids to share your interests – what else are you going to talk about come pay-back time when they wipe your arse in the old folks home?), but they cd stop @ any time.
I was staggered that the other kids would roll around and mess about. How c’d they possibly be anything other than spell bound and utterly grateful to be given this opportunity to “tool up” at this tender age?
The boy stopped nearly 2 years ago. My girl continues, which I love. I’ve massive respect for the boy to stop. He did so in the face of knowing I was obsessed with it, but still @ the age of 8 or so asked if he cd stop. I was (inwardly) very disappointed, but he’s very active (main thing) – does tennis & rugby and just wont sit still. More importantly, he’s happy and wonderfully sociable and (fortunately) personable and people just like him. That’s a damn good defence against bullying (not getting jumped, I grant), and also a crucial attribute to getting on in life.
My view is you can’t force these things – just offer them. I w’d love it if he returns to jui jitsu, but forcing these things is counter productive. The aim is to make them happy, not indestructible (there’s clearly a nexus between the 2, but the aim is happiness, as opposed to miserable, anti-social indestructibility).
I have 4 monsters. 2 girls followed by 2 boys. Between them, they have 8 US championships in JUDO. They are all at least Blue Belts in BJJ. All have taken Boxing and Muay Thai. The only one who has not fought MMA is the youngest who has 3 US JUDO championships. I made my sons swear they would do no striking sports till after they finish ALL schooling. (I figured by then they’d be wise enough to use their brains instead.) The only reason he didn’t is that he was hired right out of college as an Electrical Engineer. His brother spent a year looking for a job as a Mech Engineer before he was hired and he used that time to fight (boxing and MMA=undefeated.)
HE then got hired to an aerospace firm and has stopped. My 2nd girl married an F16 pilot and trains a bit in Japan. Only my oldest still fight MMA. Bother she and her sister were knocked out of any Olympic dreams by severed ACL’s. Ah well.
NOTE: The #1 biggest mistake parents make is underestimating their children’s ability to understand, learn and obey, with a good attitude. Attitude is a choice, if YOU PARENT allow them to have a bad one it is YOUR fault. If you allow it long enough that will be the only attitude you ever see.
The question is how to inspire your kids: It is really pretty simple; reduce their choices. We homeschooled and we severely restricted their TV & computer time. They got no cell phones until college. They were never allowed access to any screen without us present. No going into friends housed unwatched not looking at their phones. They studied and they read. Their TV and computer were awarded 1 hour for each hour of extracurricular reading they did.
Not only did they remain extremely obedient and respectful they also jumped grades past their peers. They all started college between 15 and 17 and graduated with honors. That son who did MMA had his master in Mech Eng at 21 (He won the least in his JUDO yrs.)
The point is that it is on parents to make kids all they can be. If you allow the public schools and media to fill them with lies and the idea that they can behave as they wish, then they will do just that. But if we really love them we will protect them from their foolish immature impulses and desires and redirect their energies into things that will pay off the rest of their lives. My kids (ages 30 to 22) have all said (with no questioning or prompting) that they intend to raise their kids the very same way. As they got older it became more and more clear to them all we had saved them from. As they saw their friends drift off into destructive behaviors.
My wife and I (both from lousy homes) determined that we would try and make our kids better than us.
The amazing thing was how happy home always was because we didn’t allow lies or fits, or “in a minute” or sighs or rolling of eyes (that we saw anyway).
And now they all lead wherever they go. They are asked, promoted, and bosses fight to get them.
Many here recognize that a child needs to be able to defend itself. That is absolutely correct! But they also need you to defend them from the insidious sickness all around them.
Note the Bill Gates won’t allow his kids to have electronics.
Make your kids do chores. They don’t need an allowance.
One last story. We were at a major JUDO even in CHI. My youngest was very small for his age – his growth paused as mine did. There was no other kid in his weight bracket nor the one next. The guy running the event (who had graciously taken our $150 for Marshall’s entry fee) came to us and gave us options. I wanted to see how this 7 yr old would choose so I asked the guy to ask Marshall. He said you can either, get a full refund, fight up two weight classes, or we’ll just award you the Gold Medal. “Marshall looked confused. But who do I fight to get the Gold?” The man said “No one, we’ll just give you the Gold.”
Marshall looked at that man as if he wanted to spit on him. He said “I won’t take a medal for doing nothing! I will fight up”. He did and lost LOL
Make them earn REAL self-esteem. Don’t allow any of them to get a trophy for being there.
If you want them to invest themselves then reduce their choices (DON’T BRIBE THEM!)
Encourage and praise them and don’t let them follow the huge heard of losers that is most of their peers.
In case anyone thinks I made this stuff up Here are my 4:
Books for parents:
Emotional Intelligence – by Goleman,
How To Train Up A Child – by Pearl
This is gold. Thank you.
Forgiveness is important. If you can teach your child to forgive then that’s a powerful tactic right there. I learned to forgive in my twenties and it was like being set free. I was such an angry young man and then suddenly I had been taught the right tactic to deal with my angry feelings. It’s such a powerful thing and you can walk away and get on with your day.
To forgive; Recognize the ungodly thoughts as they come in, say I will not follow these thoughts and turn around from them, then give these thoughts to the Lord and leave them at the Cross, and do this with all your strength and pray, ” Please Lord take these feelings away, I choose to forgive by your power not mine. Amen”.
I think it is something like that and KHouse.org has more information. It was founded by Chuck Missler and Nancy Missler.
I believe that maybe what your son needs is encouragement. Tell him he is doing well and I am proud of you and you should be proud of yourself, you know things like that. Maybe use psychology where you give him a treat after JuJitsu. So that he associates JuJitsu with something good.
I believe you are doing the right thing. I believe that not many people know JuJitsu so even a basic belt will do wonders for him in a fight although he’ll want to use minimum force.
I heard as well that a Martial Art teaches Discipline so it’s worth doing for that. In Psychology it’s called Delayed Gratification and there’s an experiment cited with a marshmellow. In short, those with Discipline succeed.
I am proud of you Trav. I enjoy reading your emails, thanks for the self defense videos.
Most of what I think has already been said, so I won’t belabor any points. I will just add that there are different styles of martial arts, different types of personalities, and different motivators that work for kids. I am the father of two young girls and my goal is to have them competent in martial arts so they can defend themselves and all the above mentioned benefits. My now 9 year old started BJJ when she was 5 and liked it since day one. She is not an aggressive, rough and tough kinda girl, very reserved in her practicing of her sport, but still get’s that great grin on her face when she gets her friend to tap out on the mat. She is on her 3rd BJJ school since my job has us moving all over the world every few years. Each school was different in their approach. She seems to be goal motivated and obtaining her belts and stripes seems to be a big driver for her.This might change as she progresses. Her previous school was very strict on stripe/belt promotion and she stagnated and lost some motivation as a result. But she is back into it now. All this to say, kids are different. Their interest will ebb and flow; just recognize this and don’t give up on all martial arts just because one school isn’t the right fit for your child or because your child looses interest for a few months. My 5 yr old girl is super aggressive and physical at home. She takes down her older sister all the time; even though she has never done any competitive sports. But you put her in a BJJ school setting and she hates watching her sister roll and is stubborn that she doesn’t want to do BJJ. She loves punching though, so I am now looking for a boxing, kids muay thai, or karate place for her. To see if that will be a better fit for her. Bottom lime, I feel that martial arts should be mandatory for kids. They teach and give children so much. My older girl was barely 6 when I first saw her defending a random kid on the playground from an apparent bully. I guarantee you she wouldn’t have done that without her background in BJJ.
One of the biggest traps we can fall into as fathers is to push our kids into a direction early on that we wish we had to take advantage of time we feel we missed.
Its a trap, because that feeling of missed time is based on our own interests, not our kids.
By force feeding our interests to our kids, we are merely sucking up the time that they will in turn feel was wasted youthful years, because they weren’t spending it on their own path.
Then they grow up, and do the same to their kids.
Its natural tonwant your kid to be the next step up from you in something.
So instead of dragging him to BJJ classes, maybe informally teach him vigilance. Make it a game. “I Spy” is cool to little kids, and if he wants to grow up and emulate the old man, He will.
Don’t push it. Just introduce small bits of whatever knowledge you are trying to pass on. And hopefully they take to it. Lead them gently to wear you want them to go….yes unfortunately it is like manipulating someone.
99.9% of one’s ability to defend oneself comes from one’s attitude, mindset, and mental preparation. Human’s have been successfully defending themselves for 10’s of thousands of years. When I teach self defense, particularly to young women, most of the training is conceptual and verbal. Individuals who have been properly mentally prepared don’t require extensive training to be devastatingly effective. Teach calm, love and awareness when they are young. Then teach verbal self-advocacy (No, I don’t like that). This continues to the age of when you can teach them the true meaning of ferocity and then when, and how, to direct it.
I have 2 girls. We homeschool and I always encouraged them to delve into whatever they felt passionate about, but to also try their hand at everything to try to find out what those things are. Self defense has been a subject that they are required to learn about, but I would never push or force them into pursuing it beyond the rudimentary skills needed for day-to-day life.
One of them has some natural talent for it, particularly in mindset, but that’s not where her interests lie — and that’s perfectly OK. She’s following a path in the sciences, and excelling beyond anything I could have hoped to expect. What greatness would I have stifled and happiness denied her if I forced her to spend more time in martial arts vs studying? Her time is better spent elsewhere. She will not be a warrior, but she will be happy and successful.
Most boys want to be like dad, so has your boy ever watched your training? Also getting mom in on it, make it a part of the whole family, might help.
I gotta say, I wish my parents had pushed me into the Arts as a child. I have a 3 y/o and though he is the youngest in his class, I continually bring him week in and week out. He continues to have fun (and this is what it’s about at 3). I dont push him to have his blocking or striking perfected. What the classes have done is instilled better coordination and more social aptitude in him. Life is a long road (God willing) and I feel pushing him too hard too far will make him resent both me and the Arts. We work on things at home but in a loose and unstructured manner. I basically repeat what lessons class had taught in a playful way. When hes old enough to understand the deep values he learns are for life and not just for sport, then we can start to push competition. Until then, hes young and having fun.
Got my kids in at 5 and 7 yo. (Born on same day two years apart). Five yo daughter took to jiujitsu (danzan-ryu) and became a beast over a five-year period. Had to put her in boys division to compete because she was annihilating all the girls.
She stayed at it until *boys* became more interesting at 14 yo…however….went thru boyfriends like Kleenex in a tuberculosis ward. She actually choked out a 6’6″ BFF in a Starbucks on a goof. (Megs is 5’5″ 120).
Fought off two rapists in separate incidents at 16 yo. She cheated…she had a knife (we do family-style FMA from Hawaii).
I never worry about her.
Nate dropped out of jiujitsu at 10yo because he find his love in Muay Thai and Chinese 5-Animal style. Give him a bo staff and he looks like a helicopter out of control. He actually used to practice bo while riding his skateboard.
He placed second in forms in his first international wu-shu competition at 20yo in Seattle. He beat, however, the chicken soup out of the first place forms champ in an impromptu ring bout. (Took the dude’s lunch money and banged the guy’s girlfriend later that night.)
Nate cheated during the bout…he switched from classical Chinese to Muay Thai and his opponent had ZERO clue what to do against the Science of Eight Limbs.
Final answer…let your daughter find her own way. I did jiujitsu with the adults in the same class as the kids. (Sensei Scate’s wife taught the kids while he taught the adults.)
Take class with your daughter no matter what she picks. I already had Dan ranking in aikido and judo so I didn’t need to necessarily take jiujitsu but kids follow what the parent does although this is the opposite…you do what *she* is doing.
It means more to them that way.
On an aside, I’ve mixed your bob-n-weave techniques with my own study of Keysi. Fun times. Totally fucks people up.
Thanks for all you do, Trav.
Hello! I have had 4 kids now aged 11-16 that train kickboxing and BJJ (my oldest son aged out of the kids program at 14 and chose not to join the adults in exchange for army cadet training) for about 4 years now and still enjoy it a lot. Of course there are days when they are not exactly happy to go train but they go and they always are feeling great after. You mention bully proofing for kids. My youngest son now 11 is whom I have seen benefit the most in that when he is bullied, which happens from time to time for anyone he isn’t mentally traumatized by the event. Usually it’s just a “that guy is a jerk” and off he goes to enjoy whatever he is doing at the time. There has been a few times that he has had to throw down with other kids bullying smaller children and he has been wise enough to show the bully that he isn’t the “toughest kid” in the school yard and stop there. No one has ever been injured and no one has ever had a second go round with him. When he was 8 I watched him take down and tap out a 17 year old 4 times in a row before he decided to stop the fun in the back yard. His choices tell me he isn’t afraid of the altercation that might happen if he doesn’t submit to the bully’s demands etc. which my kids do not. They have also been given conflict training by their amazing Mom who is a Family and Civil Law Mediator so they are also armed with mental skills and strategies to deal with conflict too. We value both kinds of training in our home as both provide bully proof skills that help us all. I would recommend both to your family as well and if and when your son is ready he will blossom into a well mannered, polite, respectful savage he is taught to be. :).
Both my sons saw me walking around with my gym bag from the day they were born, they were always putting on my gloves, shin guards and even my judo gi when they could hardly walk. So they needed no convincing when I suggested judo to them. By the time they were 8 and 10, they were competing in sub-national matches, they obtained their brown belt the day their age permitted it.
They started muay thai when they were 10 and 12 and competed within the year. Obtained a blue belt in BJJ within a year (judo gives you quite an advantage there).
What I am saying is, lead by example. They are both warriors and no, they were never bullied.
Discipline is a must, hopefully selfcontrol the same. Clearly these children have mad skill set, and that shadow/bagwork has prob got old & children as most who train to fight, are ready to spar. Id rather ref my kids, then have them shown off to their friends. I was 1 of 4, we al wrestled & boxed each other.. But we gave each other 4giveness & leniency that we did NOT give bullies.. Heaven help the guy who messes with that lil girl..
I am the father of two girls, 18 and 17 now. When they were about 4 and 5 years old, I began teaching them Judo. We made it fun, and they enjoyed it. Then my youngest, while in kindergarten beat up a boy who was picking on her. I pulled them out of school and began homeschooling. We continued on with training all through school until they graduated… but I diversified it, adding in boxing, karate, wrestling, and keeping the Judo foundation. Always making it as fun and enjoyable as possible, without pushing them to excel or be some kind of future MMA beast, and always keeping our priorities straight.
For us it was to be followers of Jesus (we’re a Christian family) first. Second, to be kind, decent, courteous, people with integrity, character, and trustworthiness. Third, to excel at education. And fourthly, to maintain a level of fitness, and ability to defend ourselves and others if need be.
I”m super proud of both my girls, and thankful that I was able to be a part of their continuing love for the martial arts.
Too many variable knife to say these kids will mature as champion fighters.
The best you can hope for is they will walk away with self disciple respect for life work ethic and compassion. Everything else is a crap shoot..
As far as self defence goes I have to tell you…. one rusty kitchen knife in the hands of a mentally ill violent asshole with no training is at least equal or better than a super fit super skilled lifelong multiple champion Emma fighter.
Time is much better spent training with a gun than 30 years martial arts training for life and death fights.
Maybe the emphasis is completing something they started. If it happens to be a martial art that protects them then so be it. I have two daughters and wish I had “pushed” them to finish their jujitsu training but also realize I didn’t do my part as “dad”
Being a part of it the positive reinforcement.
I do believe we as fathers are responsible for determining what will serve our child in the future. If they don’t want to go to school we don’t give in and say it’s ok you don’t have to because we know they need it. So it could be said for self defense. The question is the teacher showing them value humility compassion.
Trav – if kids want to do something they will, and if they don’t want to they won’t (or if you push them to do it, they won’t enjoy it or learn as much from it as you want them to). My teenage kids are not (and have never been) interested in martial arts or fighting, so I try to let them know about street smarts, so that the chances of a nasty encounter are less likely – e.g. be sensible about where you go, who you go with, trust your instincts when a situation feels uncomfortable, etc.
Even if kids do enjoy a bit of rough and tumble (trained or otherwise), it doesn’t mean when they’re on the receiving end of something nasty they’ll be ok (although they have a better chance of being ok) – I suspect many of us know that playing/training/competing feels emotionally very different to being bullied or attacked. Having some skills means you’re certainly no worse off, but it doesn’t mean you will necessarily be ready or able to use them when fear, confusion and adrenalin hit you without warning. The kids in the video may be bully-proof – they may just be ok scrapping each other or someone they know, and only a little better than your average Joe if actually picked on by someone else.
Lastly, all parents worry about kids. My Dad is 83 and tells me he still worries about me (I’m 47)! Wanting the best for your kids, and sharing some wisdom to help them along the way is a positive sign, it shows you love and care for them. Forcing them (or pushing them too hard) to do something YOU want is sometimes hard to resist, all parents have been there to some degree (I know I have). My experience with my kids is to help them find their way as best you can, without trying to do it for them. I still don’t know how to do that right, but that’s what I’m aiming for.
Kids are fickle and as soon as the novelty wears off, hard work can be a big turn off. But kids learn best through play.
The trick is to find a club who teaches kids in a playful way, with lots of social interaction and competetive games as part of the lesson. The rapport between teacher and student is vital, especially with kids.
My boys have been studying ITF Taekwon-do (the one where you actually punch, and to the face for that matter, the sparring is practically kickboxing) for 4 years, 2 classes per week, sparring in at least one session per week, often 2. They complain and resist every time I tell them we’re going to class, which I ignore (unless I’m mocking them) . This is hard but essential. Once they get to class they see their buddies and they love it. They never remember this between lessons! Same grind every time.
They have resisted competing for a while, scared of getting punched and kicked in the face, or getting hurt, or maybe just getting off their lazy asses. They have had good and bad sparring experiences but we have amazing instructors who just get them back in as soon as possible. Now they are old enough I can remind them that a martial arts class is probably the safest place to get ready for a dangerous situation.
And one day, when your kid tells you that some guy at school has been picking on him and trying to tackle him/take him down, and you say “what did you do?”
And he says “I caught him as he came in with my side kick”
And has he picked on you since then?
And you get to remind him that he trained that response, technique and strength at his martial arts lesson. And he nods and says “yeah”
At some point when their striking is really good and we have time to fit it in I hope to get them into jiu-jitsu. If only we had more hours in the day.
One thing I do know is that my kids don’t want to learn from dad, and I’m guessing at some point you might have a similar experience. That might be the most frustrating thing, especially for someone with your experience and skill set.
And lastly, as I have observed in all things parenting-related, it’s the parents who worry about their kids who usually don’t have to worry so much. They care, their kids know it, and they turn out fine. We don’t find this out though until way down the road.
Thanks for all the great free stuff, paid stuff and newsletters! I’ve learned a lot from you over the years and it’s slowly trickling into the minds of my young. Your work has formed a core part of my own approach to martial arts, and taught me stuff I’d never have had the time or money to learn through lessons.
Best of wishes from my family to yours,
Stay Savage brother.
If their dad is OK with them training this hard at their age, they are ALREADY bullied. They are not beyond bullying, they are growing up with it at home.
Glen R. Lyman
I have raised three daughters and one son. I have taught at Martial arts during all of their lives in our resident-based studio on our property. Each int turn, attended classes, learned skills, and when their time came, they also taught classes of their own to younger age groups. It was a house rule that in order for my daughters to date they needed to be both 16, and hold the rank of black belt. One was a great student who applied herself and gained some skills but Mostly just participated because she was a daddy’s girl.. My next daughter is feisty by nature and took what she could and became a decent fighter. The last one lamed her way through and did the bare minimum, since her heart wasn’t really in it. As for my son, I gave him knives and nunchucks and boxing gloves but all he really wanted to do was play with the various athletic balls. So he is now 18 years old I off to play college basketball and stuck at the rank of brown belt. He is strong and athletic and fast and could probably do OK in a fight, but he has a kindness and compassion for others that his dad just doesn’t have.
So I guess what I’m trying to say is that every kid has their own niche, and regardless of beliefs, they show up in our lives already having some sort of personality inside those little bodies. And the bottom line is this, eventually they end up doing what they want and not what dad wants. We can impart all that we can along the way but it’s up to them to do something with it.
After teaching martial arts for over 30 years, I could give you a low percentage number of the amount of kids in modern America who really appreciate what we are trying to give them and an even lower number of people who have some sort of natural “killer instinct”…I’m not convinced that we can teach that part.
I’ve taught thousands of people by this point, but have less than 50 black belts under me. Of those, about 40 did well, they put their time in, fulfilled the requirements to pass the test, and are solid. This is not about my teaching ability, it is about the badasses, the other 10 or so, who had deep drive, determination and they got their rank because I was afraid not to award it to them, because they were simply that good. It is just some people’s “thing”, and we’ll never force those who do not fit into the mold, into the mold.
Have you see Gracie kids? Probably you just need to try that, I learn something from them and that is that your kids just wanna play and they love to play with you, so when I’m playing rough with my baby girl as soon as she start to laugh I yell jiujitsu various time and don’t make this too long to become boring to she. I don’t know if this sounds right for you it does for me
They shouldnt be going all out. Maybe 50 percent so they can learn and not get hurt.
My sister in law (From Korea) Would get tired of my two nephews carrying on so she’d say in her broken English; “Two boys, fight! First cry, big loser!” and they would fight! Today, they are in their 40’s and have suffered no ill effects. They are both quite successful in life.
The research I did on this indicated that kids who are entered in martial arts before they are 7 almost always quit before they turn 13 unless they have a martial arts instructor for a parent. Science says people learn the most from playing so create games that drill skills as a side effect. Any kid who grow up playing soccer is going to build cardio, balance and kicking technique. The game industry literally banks on the idea that people need to win about 70% of the time so wrestle with your kids using all technique and no power and let them win a lot but gradually increase the difficulty as the get better. Watch no-gi bjj matches with your kid on your lap on a regular basis then roll around on the floor like monkey and the kid is probably going to jump on you. Unless you live in war-torn Dagestan it is probably unethical to punch your kid for not wanting to train to be a pro fighter like Khabib’s dad. If your goal is to have your kid not be bullied teach him posture and eye contact and to have a sense of humor.
This is great! If you want to teach anything to your kids you have to start at the youngest possible age as this is when they learn the most – music, mathematics, reading, speaking, sports etc The only way that people become absolute champions, virtuosos, geniuses and masters at what they do is to teach them when they are young! Don’t worry these kids know what they are doing, you can see the boy is careful not to overdo it when he kicks his sister to the midriff, they are very precise and know not to overstep the mark and hurt each other.
Anyway I think they are Thais – its just a bit of fun sport for them kids. They probably had ice cream with each other 2 minutes later.
I think there is a such a thing as having a natural talent or affinity for something that you have even at a very young age. Not everyone will have it at such a young age. Some might discover it later in life or grow into it because of some life experience or exposure. I think the kids in the video have natural talent and enthusiasm that was developed. If they were forced to do it I don’t think they’d be that good at it. But I still think it’s too much. They don’t need to mess up their knees or get concussions that early in life.
Anyways it’s a balancing act exposing a kids to something and encouraging and making them work hard at it without going overboard. Sometime pushing through those days when they don’t feel like going will pay off because maybe it is just a phase. I wonder about this with my kids. We do martial arts together. My daughter loves it and is always excited about going to class while my son always has some reason why he is too tired or too something. Sometimes I talk him into going, sometimes I back off, but it’s been this way for several years now. I especially feel bad about making him do sparring since there are physical consequences sometimes.
I think the thing that keeps him going is earning the belts. He sees that it is possible to earn a black belt relatively soon and he likes the idea of accomplishing that. He is pretty good and athletic but will not get to the level of the kids in that video unless his heart is actually in it. And I don’t think there is anything I can do to make that happen. I think it would have to be something else – either internal or external that ignites it, but most likely at some point he will stop. In the meantime while he doesn’t mind it that much and we get to go to class together and he gets some good feelings from his teachers giving him praise, I am still doing the balancing act and trying not to put too much pressure on him and making sure he gets to do the stuff that he is excited about also.
Ronald 'Bubba" Blanton
Well, I had my kids, all 3, and now my granddaughter, throwing punches before they could even sit up on their own. My kids can fight, shoot, put an edge on a blade and drive like Police. I made it something fun and made sure they felt a sense of accomplishment as they progressed. I also taught them that their skills are for defense and to turn the tables on an aggressor. They all had fun learning and are three badasses. As far as the two in the video, I agree with teaching them but not with having all-out combat in the living room. The older brother should be taught NOT to hit little sis and you can tell he was reserved in doing so. They lack the control of mature older artist. While I agree with teaching them, I don’t agree with their lessons being used on each other.
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