Every month thousands of children miss school for fear of bullies. In the Gracie Kids program, our goal is to give your child an unfailing confidence to overcome bullies without violence. Because of the non-violent nature of these techniques, it is now recommended by many experts in the field as one of the few effective anti-bullying measures for children between the ages of 6 and 12.
We teach your child to use verbal assertiveness to deter bullies and to use various non-violent self-defense techniques to stay safe when physically attacked. It is important that we do not teach how to punch or kick, as this often does more harm than good. Instead, we use leverage-based control grips to neutralize threats non-violently. Many schools have recognized the defensive nature of Gracie Kids techniques as a sensible, non-violent response to bullying, and some even offer Gracie Kids introductory courses! The bottom line is that we prepare your child to defend themselves against bullies without making them into bullies.
If you are interested in giving your child an unwavering sense of self-confidence while strengthening positive values and character, the Gracie Kids program is for you! Even if your child has tried Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) before and had a negative experience, we can assure you that he or she will absolutely love the Gracie Kids Program.
We are confident that the curriculum, camaraderie, and quality of instruction will exceed all your expectations. Simply contact us and we will schedule your first Gracie Kids lesson today!
Studies suggest that bullying may be the main cause of low self-esteem among children, and some surveys indicate that less than 20% of children report bullying. A child's inability to stand up to a bully is rooted in deep fear for his or her personal safety. Ironically, victims know that they must confront the tyrant and would like nothing more than to stand up to him. But they simply cannot go through with it for fear of the physical harm that supports every action of the tyrant. And therein lies the challenge - how can you give a victim of bullying the confidence to look the tormentor in the face, look him in the eye and give him back his support? The answer is simple - teach victims to defend themselves against physical attacks, and the rest will follow.
Fighting fire with water
Most martial arts programs are based on hitting the attacker with fierce punches, kicks, knees, and elbows, but in the Gracie Kids program, we take a different approach. All techniques are purely defensive and do not use punches. In addition, we teach the children how to defuse confrontations with words and never use physical aggression. If they are attacked, we offer techniques to neutralize the threat without violence and to gain control until help arrives. In the Gracie Kids program, we teach children how to fight fire with water, so you never have to worry about your child becoming a bully under our guidance.
The Gracie Kids program uses a three-pronged approach to prepare your child for this:
Increased awareness: Harassment comes in many forms. Sometimes a victim does not take a stand because they cannot distinguish between "joking" and "bullying. We teach your child to distinguish between harmless play and harmful harassment so that he or she knows exactly when and how to behave in each situation.
Unwavering trust: A confident child is a Gracie Kids student. Bullies seek "easy targets" - those who tolerate their abuse. We equip your child with the tools he or she needs to overcome physical, verbal, and psychological harassment to be so confident that no bully will try to bully.
Total responsibility: We prepare your child to deal with bullies without making him or her into one. We emphasize discipline, responsibility and respect throughout the course and teach five "rules of engagement" to ensure that they never abuse their power.
The rules of engagement are...
Teaching a child Jiu-Jitsu without teaching him when to use it properly is like giving someone a gun without teaching him how to use it. Gracie Kids is the only jiu-jitsu program for children that teaches children exactly when they can and cannot use the techniques they are learning. The five "rules of engagement" are rehearsed regularly in class to ensure that children never abuse their power and, just as importantly, that they do not hesitate to take a stand if they are abused by bullies:
Rule 1: Avoid fighting at all costs.
Rule 2: If you are physically attacked, defend yourself.
Rule 3: If you are verbally attacked, follow the three steps (talk, tell, defend).
Rule 4: Never hit or kick the tyrant; gain control and negotiate.
Rule 5: Use minimal force when applying techniques and negotiate.
Although we discuss the rules of engagement in Gracie Kids classes, we strongly recommend that you discuss the rules at home to assure your child that he or she has your support if he or she needs to take a stand against bullying.
Verbal Jiu-Jitsu training
One of the most pervasive and harmful forms of bullying is verbal harassment. Gracie Kids is the only jiu-jitsu program for children that makes Verbal Assertiveness Training, or "Verbal Jiu-Jitsu" - as it is often called - part of its regular curriculum. We have developed a series of role-playing exercises to teach children how to recognize and deal with the most common threats associated with verbal harassment and bullying in relationships. Gracie Kids students learn how to distinguish between "bullying" and "teasing," and children are taught not only how to speak assertively when needed, but also how to use direct eye contact and a confident attitude to keep bullies from targeting them.
Perfect program for all ages
In almost all Jiu-Jitsu schools, all youth students are in one class, and a few schools have separate classes by age group. The Gracie Kids program is one of the few jiu-jitsu youth programs that separates children by age AND experience level so that each child gets the perfect balance of fun and challenge in their weekly classes. All children begin in super-playful entry programs for their age group, and once a child reaches a certain level of maturity, they are promoted to the next training program.
Small kids (6-8 years old)
The program "small champs" is for children aged 6-8 years. Using our proven "Gracie Games", we teach the little champs basic self-defense techniques while teaching the basic principles of leverage and control. The secret to the success of this program is that we make the lessons so entertaining that the kids beg for more! Once a child masters all ten Gracie games, they advance to the Jr. Grapplers program.
Children (9-12 years old)
In Jr. Grappler's program, we focus on 33 nonviolent self-defense techniques that teach children to "neutralize and negotiate" with bullies. Verbal assertion strategies are an important part of this curriculum. A child needs absolutely no experience to get started, and we guarantee a noticeable increase in your child's self-confidence within a few weeks!
Black Belt Club (by invitation only)
We invite children who excel in the Jr. Grapplers program to the Black Belt Club. This is our most advanced youth jiu-jitsu program and joining the Black Belt Club is the highest honor for any young Gracie Jiu-Jitsu practitioner. The children in this program possess all the qualities necessary for success on the black belt path: discipline, respect, courage, leadership, loyalty, and compassion.
"PUSH" TEACHING VS. "PULL"-TEACHING
The teaching methods used in the Gracie Kids program are unlike anything else in BJJ. Not only are all the entry level techniques presented in the form of "jiu-jitsu games" so that the kids are excited to learn them, but we also use "push" rather than "pull" teaching methods. When a child makes a mistake, we do not focus on the mistake, but instead emphasize the correctly executed aspects of the move. Through this carefully layered positive reinforcement, we help children reach their full potential without compromising their love of art.
GRACIE CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM
We have found that our instructors develop strong bonds with each student on the mat, but especially with our younger members. We use this connection to help you develop your child's character for success in all aspects of life. Our character development program consists of six chapters: Responsibility, Health, Respect, Citizenship, Manners and Caring. We spend two months with each chapter. In each class we discuss the character traits presented for about 5-10 minutes, highlighting the simple things your child can do to make them a part of his or her life.
The secret to success is our unique point-based reward system, which we link to participation in "Gracie Game Day," a small special party where you can play tons of games with all the coaches and kids. Children who earn enough points qualify to participate in Gracie Game Day, making it a powerful incentive for children and a useful tool for parents to encourage positive behavior at home and at school. Gracie Game Day is so much fun that parents often put on a Gi (tracksuit) just so they can join the party.