Should kids compete?
One of the most common questions I always get asked with my martial arts school and talking to the parents of the children that train in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is should my child compete? And that is a very complicated question without a simple answer.
As a parent we need to ask ourselves, what do we want our child to get out of their martial arts experience? Some people train martial arts for social activities. Some people train it for self-defense. Some people train it for confidence, self-esteem, increased focus, better grades. So the first thing I would encourage parents to consider is why do you have your child in the martial arts?
I would be the first person to say competition is not for everybody. However, I do think there are great and amazing lessons to be learned from competition to everybody. We live in a day and age of political correctness, a day and age where children are often given a participation award or a medal or some other meaningless trinket if they just participate.
However, when we look at some of life’s more serious endeavors, such as our post-secondary education, for example, there is no participation award when we are vying for a spot to attend those post-secondary facilities. One example is my older son has often discussed the possibility of attending the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. And I’ve had to have some very frank discussions with my son explaining to him how competitive that that entrance procedure is.
And I think most adults fully understand we can’t always win in everything in life. There will be successes, there will be failures. There’ll be frustration. There’ll be tears and I think this is all part of growing up. But as individual parents, it’s up to us to decide when we are going to have our kids experience those things. Because I do believe that winning and losing is a part of life. And one of the most important things that we do at my academy is we encourage winning and losing with grace and good sportsmanship.
So again, not having a simple answer to that age-old question, should my son or should my daughter compete? And I would just ask them, what lessons do you want your children to get out of that competition? I know many children just compete for the fun of it. Some people just want to experience. And all of those things are okay.
As a martial arts instructor who has six children myself, I would never force anybody to compete unless they wanted to. It’s also very important as parents that we do our due diligence. Talk to your instructor and make sure that our children are going to enter a reputable event, an event that has a great reputation and that puts safety first.
If any of you ever have any more questions on tournaments or competition for your children, please feel free to reach out to me and ask any questions. And always remember here at Orlando Academy and Martial Arts, home of team Renzo Gracie, we are here for you to accomplish your goals. Thanks for reading and have a great day.