Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for Kids: 7 Mental Skills

When we teach Brazilian jiu jitsu for kids, we aren’t just teaching them physical martial arts skills. We’re also teaching them a variety of mental skills that are part of the martial arts tradition. These mental skills have helped people become successful, healthy adults for thousands of years. All of our Kids BJJ classes include work on these mental skills.

1.Kids in BJJ class learn they feel better when they’re more active.

It’s no secret that we have a big obesity problem in America, and it’s just as true for adults as it is for kids. Gym class and after school sports are great, and we certainly don’t want to guide anyone away from them. But kids don’t get nearly as much gym class as they used to. After school sports are great but they all have their season, and often kids don’t really play them out of season. What we see with martial arts is that, since they are always available, they become a part of the child’s life. Children learn to see themselves as martial artists. Mentally, they begin to make lifestyle choices that benefit themselves as martial artists, like eating better and being on time. Overall, they learn to prefer  a more active lifestyle, instead of video games and television.

2.Kids in BJJ class learn to focus, be still, and be quiet.

The world we live in is absolutely packed with flashing lights and sounds. Everyone – kids included – is plugged in all the time. It’s hard for anyone to focus. For kids, whose attention spans are naturally shorter, it’s even tougher. We Take time in every class to teach kids how to focus themselves. We spend some time in quiet, focused stillness. This is probably the only time during the day that kids have time for stillness – but it’s a valuable skill to have. The ability to quiet down and focus is critical to success in work and life as an adult.

3. Our Kids BJJ students learn to roll with the punches.

There is a double meaning here that is definitely intentional. On the one hand, we teach kids practical self-defense techniques like the ability to block a punch and keep themselves safe. But in the bigger picture, we teach kids how to deal with struggles, frustrations, and disappointment – the far more common punches life hands out. When life hands out punches like these, we teach kids how to handle these punches with grace, and to get back up. Because that’s the most important thing – to get back up and keep trying. Kids need to learn how to fail just as much as they need to learn how to succeed.

4.We teach kids self-confidence and respect

We teach kids self-confidence and respect by setting goals and working towards them. when they reach goals, we celebrate it. One way of doing this is the belt system we use in our Kids BJJ classes. This is a tangible, visible way of reaching goals and being recognized for hard work. By earning belts and stripes in class, our BJJ students learn to see themselves as capable people, and this gives them confidence. At the same time, we teach them the need to respect others and treat them well. BJJ is not a martial arts that you can learn by yourself – you need your instructors and your teammates. By learning BJJ alongside other kids, our students learn the value of having good relationships. In order to have good relationships, you have to treat people with respect. We constantly reinforce that.

5. Our Kids BJJ Students learn to connect mind to body.

It’s one thing to work your body out. It’s another thing to learn to listen to your body, and to see the connections between what you are thinking in your mind and what your body is feeling. In martial arts, this often happens with feelings of fear or frustration. Kids in our classes learn to see that fear makes your body feel and respond one way, and frustration does something else. We teach our kids how to work through those feelings, how to keep them under control, and how to calm down.  Managing emotions is a key to living as a successful adult.

6. We’ll teach them conflict resolution

It’s a common misconception that if you sign your child up for martial arts classes, they’ll start solving all their disagreements by fighting. Nothing could be further from the truth. We teach our kids conflict resolution tools and we make it clear that physical techniques are only used as a last resort, and only used to protect yourself or your loved ones. We teach kids that words are never a reason for a fight, and that it is always better to exit a bad situation, if you can, than it is to escalate it.  In our experience, when people learn martial arts and the discipline and self-confidence that come with them, they are far more willing to walk away and much more able to de-escalate a conflict. Martial arts classes, at a good school,  always lead to less violence for both adults and children.

7. Kids in our BJJ classes learn to breathe.

Breathing is the key to both mental and physical performance. When your breathing gets out of control, you can’t think straight, and your muscles and body tend to tense up. we teach our kids how to control breathing and how to use breathing to stay calm, focused, and under control. Our Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for Kids class is probably the only place that anyone teaches your child how to control their breathing and how to keep breathing under control in a stressful situation.


The list of benefits for kids enrolled in martial arts classes is long, and we’ve only covered the mental skills here today. We’d love to talk with you more about what your kids need and how our programs can benefit them.

  • For more information on Martial Arts for children and adults, including Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Judo in Denver, visit or give us a call 303-900-8111

  • We serve the central Denver area, including the Baker, Highlands, Wash Park, Congress Park, Capitol Hill, Downtown, Uptown, Governor’s Park, and City Park neighborhoods. We’re located near 8th Avenue and Santa Fe Drive, close to everywhere.

  • Find driving directions here. 

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