Because even small children are able to start learning it, and because of its fundamental relationship with human movement, jiu-jitsu can be a very useful element to incorporate into one’s family quality time.
One of the coolest things I have seen was a father and daughter who go to competitions together. The daughter has made her condition of competing that her father competes alongside her. The daughter is a far more talented competitor, but the father does it with her because it is a bonding experience. A truly beautiful expression of family using jiu-jitsu to bond.
Here are my top 5 ways that jiu-jitsu helps families bond and blossom.
- Jiu-jitsu can be like a family puzzle. If you have ever trained with a close friend or loved one, you know that the whole goal in training is to use the human body as a puzzle. This can be a lot of fun for people with healthy attitudes toward training. Drilling at home can be a lot of fun too. If your family trains together, you have an opportunity to explore each other’s strengths and weaknesses which is a great bonding experience.
- It teaches children important values. Really any sport can teach kids values like sportsmanship, respect, integrity, the ability to win/lose with grace, and others. Jiu-jitsu gives us an interesting aspect of primal violence but in a safe atmosphere. The fact is being choked and choking people has a certain cathartic quality to it that can be useful in instilling family values. It may sound dumb, but if you think about it it’s way more productive to roll with a person than just blindly fight with them.
- It gives all people more confidence. You are at your best when you are confident, and you treat your family the best you can when you are confident. Having jiu-jitsu in one’s life can have a profound effect on the human psyche, and this can translate to healthier familial relationships. It takes bullying out of the equation on the playground for children and teenagers, it makes it so that parents feel more confident going in public with their families. I’m not saying that jiu-jitsu will prevent all negative interactions but knowing jiu-jitsu is good for the human mind.
- It gives people a social, non-sedentary activity. Very often we hear about how kids these days spend too much time on a couch in front of a screen. Introducing jiu-jitsu to one’s family provides an activity that is equally enjoyable to children as it is to adults and teenagers AND if there are mats in the house doesn’t require nice weather (though mats can be set up outdoors if the weather permits it.)
- It gives people tangible goals which are great for family settings. One of the major challenges of growing up and developing as a person is goal setting. It can be tough to keep kids motivated when it comes to most hobbies but jiu-jitsu’s goals can be incremental which gives its practitioners the ability to set small goals and reach them gradually. This is a great parenting tool and can be used as a way to reinforce positive behavior in the family setting.
Jiu-jitsu also gives us an opportunity to have another network in our lives. While this may not be directly related to family, it’s important. When one looks at most practitioners blue belt and up, their major life milestones are usually accompanied by their favorite training partners and coaches, I know I think of some of my teammates as being like family and there was a whole table at my wedding comprised of these people. This of course can apply to other activities in life, but because of the intimacy of jiu-jitsu some feel that it allows them to better get to know their fellow practitioners.
If you haven’t tried jiu-jitsu yet, try it, and try to get those closest to you to try it with you. It can be a great bonding experience to build family relationships. If you already train, and better yet have a significant other and/or children who train, don’t you feel that jiu-jitsu just enriches those relationships and makes them stronger?
Emil Fischer is a Jiu-jitsu brown belt competitor training under Pablo Angel Castro III at Strong Style MMA in Cleveland Ohio. An avid writer and competitor, Emil has amassed an extensive competition record. Most notably, Emil is a 2 time gold medalist at the IBJJF No Gi Pans, and has a submission victory record of 5-1 at Fight To Win Pro which includes purple belt no-gi light heavyweight championship
Emil’s sponsors are Impact Mouthguards, Cleveland Cryo, The Terphouse, Meerkatsu, Eddys on Coventry and Nottarookie. He is a Ludwig Van and Vanguard Kimono brand ambassador.