kids in a Combat jiu jitsu competition
Combat Jiu Jitsu competition

Why would you let your kid go to a fighting school or teach them how to fight? Surely there are only bad persons over there who will influence my kid in to bad and aggressive behavior, right? Or could it be that not all schools are like that and there are positive things about it?

What are your biggest fears when you leave your child behind with a teacher, a coach, or at the playground with 60 kids and minimal oversight? Bullies, child molesters, kidnapping? Yeah, right, that’s what I thought too when I left him that first time. A short article from the European Commission on child abuse:

A worrying phenomenon

Boy sitting in a empty room

Studies suggest that a significant minority of children in Europe, between 10 % and 20 %, are sexually assaulted during their childhood. This phenomenon is not decreasing and certain forms of sexual violence (like child pornography) are becoming a matter of growing concern. Fighting these crimes is very difficult. Children are vulnerable, and often ashamed and afraid to report any incidents. The Internet makes it easier to “groom” children (solicit children online for sexual purposes) or to produce and distribute child pornography. Children portrayed in pornography are getting younger and the images are becoming more graphic and more violent. Organised crime can make a considerable profit from it with little risk.

Between 10% and 20%, that sounds bad enough for me. Yes I hear you, they say a ‘minority’, but still.. Of course you try to educate your kid to speak openly when something strange happens to him or her. But I do feel a lot better knowing that he can defend himself somewhat in one of these cases.

I guess by now you know how I feel about it:
Hell yes, teach them how to fight and defend themselves!

How to start? Which kind of self-defense or martial art should you pick? This can be difficult indeed, if you don’t have some kind of background yourself in martial arts or self-defense.

Note: Start with situational awareness always, yes, teach your kid to recognize a bad situation, a strange suggestion by an adult, or a bully heading for you. Because avoiding a confrontation is always the best outcome of course. But that being said;

Every person in the world, young or old, has the right to protect himself

Don’t tell your kid he or she can not hit, push or shove back. What are you actually saying? That it is OK for a bully to do so, but for your kid not? What would you do, when you get hit in the face? Turn the other cheek? No, you hit back.

My personal thoughts about picking a school or type of martial arts is this: ‘is it close to real fighting, or is it some kind of high flying wannabe ninja stuff’ It’s very nice that your daughter can do katas, but will she be able to fight somebody of her? No, I think not(remember this is my personal opinion). So what remains then? I can not put her in the octagon, right? OK, that might be a bit quick, let’s have a look at the options we do have.

1.Brazilian Jiu Jitsu(BJJ), a great sport which will teach your kid to defend attacks, apply chokes and escape from positions when an attacker is on top. To read more about this sport click here

Children in a brazilian jiu jitsu class laughing
BJJ class for kids of all ages

BJJ will teach your kid how to apply certain techniques, but also to respect each other, and never to use violence when it is not necessary.





2.Kickboxing, also a great sport which teaches your kid boxing and kicking techniques, but it will not train ground fighting like Jiu Jitsu. More information about kickboxing. If you find a school with a good reputation, they will also teach your kid respect and the correct rules of engagement .

3.Combat Jiu Jitsu, is a combination of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Kick Boxing. In the kids division it is not allowed to hit the head and they wear protection. The sport is intended to be a bridge towards MMA and UFC style fighting. This is a very young sport, so finding a school might be difficult. We where lucky to find one. It did take me some convincing before my son wanted to give it a try, but after one lesson he was hooked.

Protection in combat jiu jitsu include helmet, gloves and shin pads
Protection include helmet, gloves and shin pads


Way of the Warrior Kid, book by Jocko Willink
Way of the Warrior Kid by Jocko Willink

Before introducing the idea of going to Jiu Jitsu, I listened to this audio book(pic) together with my son. My son was having some problems with a boy at school and we where looking to give him some more self-confidence. This book is written by Jocko Willink a former Navy Seal. If you haven’t heard about him yet, check out his work at Echelon Front, really interesting stuff.






4.No school in the area? There is one more option, do it yourself, how? Well with an online program like this from the world-famous Gracie Family. They are widely seen as one of the very best teachers in BJJ and self-defense. On the web site you will find tons of information on all kind of subjects like situational awareness, bullying and so on.

So, what is your conclusion? Should your kid learn how to fight and protect himself and others, or better not? Stated below are my ‘Pros’ on why I think you should.

  • Creating awareness
  • Boosting self-confidence
  • Having respect for each other
  • Learning how to defend
  • Learning how to fight
  • Helping others in need
  • Getting in shape
  • Having fun

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