JuJitsu Instruction for Children

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist growing up.”
- Pablo Picasso.

At the Feather River Kodenkan Dojo we emphasize teaching children responsible means of self-defense. Junior JuJitsu classes are for kids age 12 and younger. Preferably children should be at least eight years old, or otherwise have the maturity to make this enjoyable. Admittedly, most kids are into it for the sake of playing and romping around. Others may pursue some vague images fostered by seeing martial arts movies or reading books. In our experience most younger kids have trouble developing the serious dedication we usually see in teenage and adult students. For that reason, in the beginning we first and foremost encourage enthusiasm for all sorts of unusual physical activity - activity that teaches certain skills useful for their later selfdefense training. We emphasize developing discipline, preferably the kind of self-discipline that comes from their desire to improve themselves.

In the beginning we emphasize learning general fitness, stretches, balance, foot and hand coordination; all elements that increase confidence in their physical abilities. We also spend a lot of time (lots!) on teaching safe rolling and falling techniques, which usually have a great deal of appeal for juniors, and greatly boost their self-confidence. The beginning kids are also taught immediate self-defense applications which very well capture their imagination. These include very practical and easy to learn escaping techniques - techniques that in our experience work - without turning out unnecessarily aggressive kids. These techniques are well proven and are also taught in our assault prevention classes. Our goal is to show kids how to avoid confrontations, if not defuse them, before having to resort to more drastic measures.

Most formal “kata” techniques, including strikes, kicks, escapes, locks and throws (the way they are taught in our regular classes for adults) are taught only to the advanced junior students. These techniques are in our experience too demanding for a beginning junior student’s patience and attention span - and are therefore taught only at the advanced junior level.

Advanced students are involved in helping teach the beginners - after all, teaching and helping one another is an important part of learning. Kids age 12 and older may begin to attend adult classes, where they mature by interfacing with adults. At this stage they may begin to learn how to size up and handle any adult. But have no illusion: all this takes time, and regular attendance at classes is a prerequisite for progress. Most importantly, their parents’ continuous interest, encouragement and insistence on regular class attendance is a necessity.

Children learn what they live

If a child lives with criticism, He learns to condemn.
If a child lives with hostility, He learns to fight.
If a child lives with ridicule, He learns to shy.
If a child lives with shame, He learns to feel guilty.
If a child lives with tolerance, He learns to be patient.
If a child lives with encouragement, He learns confidence.
If a child lives with praise, He learns to appreciate.
If a child lives with fairness, He learns justice.
If a child lives with security, He learns to have faith.
If a child lives with approval, He learns to like himself.
If a child lives with acceptance and friendship, He learns to find love in this world.

(Posted in the Portola Medical Clinic waiting room.)

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If you have any questions about Jujitsu, please contact,
Burkhard Bohm, Sensei (530) 836-2208
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