KIDS JIU JITSU CLASSES
Kids Jiu Jitsu classes are back at Graciefighter Caribou.
This class is open to kids ages 6-11. Teens 12 and up train in our adult classes.
Our kids Jiu Jitsu classes are an excellent way for your child to learn self defense, get in shape and make new friends in a fun and safe environment.
Currently, we offer kids Jiu Jitsu class on Saturdays at 11AM. The monthly price is $80 and the first class is free.
As our kids class grows, we will be adding at least 2 more days during the week and once we have a 3 day a week schedule with more days added, the price will go up to $120 a month. We do offer family discounts (see our membership and pricing page), as well as scholarships for kids and youth.
If you are interested in signing up your child or simply want to check out/ try out a class, just show up to one of our kids classes. No appointment necessary.
BELOW ARE SOME ANSWERS TO SOME FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS AND SOME DETAILED INFORMATION ON OUR KIDS CLASSES. IF YOU HAVE ANY OTHER QUESTIONS PLEASE FEEL FREE TO REACH OUT.
How is Jiu Jitsu different from the other martial arts offered in the area?
There are several other martial arts offered in this area such as Ninjutsu, Ketsugo and other arts that claim to be effective in self defense. Some even claim their art has “ Jiu Jitsu in it” or that they do Jiu Jitsu.
Let me start by clarifying that there are only 2 legit Brazilian Jiu Jitsu/ Gracie Jiu Jitsu gyms in the county. One is our gym (in Caribou and Presque Isle) and the other one is Fort Kent Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Prior to these 2 gyms opening, there was no Jiu Jitsu offered in the area.
If you are a parent interested in signing your kid up to a martial art and expect them to be able to learn self defense, it can be confusing to know the difference, especially when some of the names sound similar.
I am not sure what exact techniques these other martial arts in the area teach, and it really doesn’t matter what they teach because their training lacks a crucial component which is LIVE TRAINING. Without live training, there is no way to test out whether any technique will be effective in a real self defense situation. Without live training, even Jiu Jitsu would be useless in a self defense situation.
You can make any martial art look cool and pretty without a resisting opponent. You can memorize any move or technique and apply it perfectly on a person who is letting you do the move but we all know that in a real fight or self defense situation our opponent will not just be letting us do whatever we want. A real fight is not choreographed and it is foolish and even dangerous to rely on techniques that haven’t been tested through LIVE TRAINING without a resisting opponent. You will never develop timing, you will never develop muscle memory and if you ever need to use your martial arts training in a high adrenaline situation to save yourself or others, you will not be remembering the steps you memorized because you have not been in that situation before.
In our gym or in any other legit Jiu Jitsu gym, you will not be just taking our word that what we teach is effective and hope it works when you need it.
You will first hand experience the efficacy of Jiu Jitsu when you or your child train with one of our more experienced students.
We test our skills daily by sparring live with other students. We also further test our skills outside of the gym by participating in tournaments. The other martial arts in the area do not compete or have a live sparring component. They do not test or challenge themselves which is the biggest thing that sets us apart from other martial arts.
All martial arts can teach your kid discipline, focus, social skills etc.. However, if your goal is self defense, your training must have a live training component.
Live training is performed with the intent to challenge (yourself and your opponent) and defeat, as opposed to training to demonstrate cool looking techniques. Live training is a required component of producing an effective martial artist.
In our kids classes, we do not break boards or do useless choreographed dances. Our classes look more like wrestling practice with joint locks and chokes.
How do you train live without getting injured?
In our kids Jiu Jitsu classes, the kids will be built up to be able to fully spar with each other. They will learn takedowns, control positions, submissions including chokes and joint locks, escaping bad positions, how to use Jiu Jitsu in self defense situations and most importantly they will learn to TAP OUT and let go when their partner taps out. We partner the kids based on size and skill level and watch them very closely. Our kids classes are not a free-for- all, it is structured and the kids are watched very closely by experienced instructors.
What should I expect in a typical kids class?
We start our class with a warm up with body movements that are commonly used in Jiu Jitsu. After the warmup, we go over a couple of techniques and the kids are partnered with each other to drill the move without resistance. In this portion of class, the focus is learning to do the move on a non-resisting partner. We then work the move with resistance (positional drills) or we play games that help develop certain movements. After the drilling portion of the class we train live with a resisting partner where kids will be partnered up with another kid close to their size. They will be training with full resistance and full force trying to take each other down, get to and maintain a dominant position and ultimately attack chokes or joint locks on each other.
What ages can come to kids class and what are the requirements to attend?
Our kids' classes are for ages 6 to 11. Older kids and teens train in our adult classes.
Kids are expected to be able to listen and follow instruction and have enough control and maturity to tap out as well as let go when their partner taps out.
What is the belt system in Jiu Jitsu?
In Jiu Jitsu, kids have a separate belt system than adults, meaning there are no kid black belts in Jiu Jitsu.
Everyone who walks through the doors is a white belt on their first day.
White – Gray – Yellow – Orange – Green
After the age of 16, kids transition into the adult belt system and move up the adult ranks.
You can expect your kid to spend anywhere from 1-2 years at each belt rank.
In between belts, we reward kids with stripes to mark their progress and keep them motivated. Typically a kid will receive 4 stripes before moving onto the next belt.
Our stripe and belt promotions are not based on time, meaning you don’t automatically get a stripe just because you trained a certain amount of time. The time based promotions are pretty meaningless when you take into consideration the fact that not every person learns at the same rate, not everyone is equally consistent with their training and not everyone starts at the same starting point. In addition, everyone has different challenges to overcome throughout their Jiu Jitsu journey so to assume X amount of training time equals X amount of progress in every individual is wrong.
We also don’t charge for promotions and will never change for promotions. You cannot buy your way through the ranks. Your child will have to earn their promotion whether it is a stripe or a belt.
What are your requirements for belt promotions?
There are a lot of factors to be considered before a promotion but some of the main things we look at in kids are:
Skill on the mats- you must be able to perform at your belt level.
Behavior/ attitude on and off the mats- Your kid could be the most skilled one on the mats but he/she will never get promoted if they have a terrible attitude or are disrespectful.
Ability to handle in class victories with humility as well as deal with losses/ failures and learn from them: For example, not bragging about tapping out a training partner or not throwing a tantrum when tapped out.
Ability to handle constructive criticism and listen to your coaches, team captains or in some cases, more experienced training partners.
Willingness to take on a challenge: A great way to take on a challenge is to compete in Jiu Jitsu tournaments, however, this is not a requirement nor is it the only way for your kid to challenge themselves. Competing is not a requirement to get promoted.
That being said, there are ways to challenge yourself in class. We look at things like willingness to train with more skilled partners. Is your kid just trying to train with the kids he/she can “win” against? Or are they seeking out challenging partners? They must be comfortable both with “winning” and “losing” in class and seek out the challenge in order to improve themselves.
What are the benefits of training Jiu Jitsu for kids?
Aside from self defense, training Jiu Jitsu has many other benefits. Here are a few:
It develops a healthy and fun exercise habit.
Many kids only get exercise through gym class at school, and let’s be honest — running around a track and going straight to class afterward is not exactly a fun way to get exercise. After-school sports can be fun, but many kids don’t want to spend more time physically at the school when they’ve already been there all day.
Jiu Jitsu can solve these issues by offering a change of environment and a fun, interactive outlet. And because BJJ can be continued as an adult at the same gym, your child won’t have to worry about “outgrowing” the sport that they love, they can continue training and competing long beyond their high school years with the same team they’ve been a part of since their younger years.
It teaches kids how to lead and follow.
Your child doesn’t need to be the captain of a team to develop good leadership skills through sports. As kids progress in Jiu Jitsu, they learn to help new students who may need support. If they stick with it as they grow up, they can also eventually become assistant coaches or even start teaching some classes.
Jiu Jitsu also teaches great listening skills and discipline. Jiu Jitsu can be very complex, and they’ll quickly learn how frustrating it is to not understand a technique or fall behind because they aren’t paying attention. If they want to perform well and understand the techniques, they will have to develop listening skills, focus and discipline.
It’s a highly social activity.
Even if your child has trouble making friends at school, they may find that they struggle less with social interactions in Jiu Jitsu.
Jiu Jitsu, by nature, is a physical sport that requires a lot of close contact and trust between teammates. Kids who train Jiu Jitsu interact with other children from a variety of backgrounds and identities, so even if they feel like they have to fit into a certain clique at school, they can truly be themselves on the mats while learning to work with other kids who are very different from themselves. We don’t allow cliques to form in our gym. We are a tight knit team in both our kids and adult classes.
It gives them a challenge to work for and victories to be proud of.
Every Jiu Jitsu class will present your child with a new set of obstacles and accomplishments. It takes years — often over a decade — for BJJ students to receive their black belts, and once you try Jiu JItsu, it’s easy to see why. This martial art is a challenge to learn, but with rewarding results. Natural-born athletes and bookworms alike will experience their fair share of frustrations, but also feel the thrill of finally landing a tough submission on a teammate or tournament opponent. Best of all, Jiu Jitsu is highly adaptable to every body type, so even if your child has a disability, they can still get a lot out of the sport.
Complex techniques will build their sense of strategy and problem solving skills
Jiu-jitsu is incredibly complex. Think of it like human chess or human physics. Every action on the mats has a counter to it. Every action also sets up another more powerful action, if engaged correctly. Through both the technique and rolling aspects of the class, your child will learn to think under pressure, solve problems and find the most efficient path through any situation. These skills transfer amazingly well into everyday life and will have your child outsmarting their problems in short order.
Overcoming adversity will build self-confidence
Jiu Jitsu is a complex activity. There’s no way to get around that reality. It requires focus, patience, and dedication. But then again, these are all wonderful lessons for your child. With each difficult challenge your child overcomes on the mat, they will develop a new sense of self-confidence that will help them overcome an equal or even greater challenge off the mat in everyday life.Every time your child proves that doubtful inner voice wrong, they feed a new inner voice, one that says “It will be hard, but I know I can do it.” No single activity will develop your child’s self-confidence more than getting them involved in kids’ jiu-jitsu.
Will Jiu Jitsu make my kid aggressive or turn my kid into a bully? What if my kid already has anger issues?
This is a common concern among some parents, especially if your kid already has anger issues.
The simple answer is no, Jiu Jitsu will not turn your kid into a bully. That is a misconception and here are some reasons why:
The kids are taught to use Jiu Jitsu outside of class only for self defense or to defend another person, never for offense.
Aside from being told not to use Jiu Jitsu for offense, there are many other reasons that kids don’t typically use Jiu Jitsu to bully another.
Jiu Jitsu is a melting pot of diverse individuals and we foster a team environment. In such a diverse team environment, kids learn to be more accepting and tolerant of others and learn to help or support those in need.
Jiu Jitsu is complex and takes a long time to get good at. Your child isn’t going to come to class for 2 weeks and be able to pull off what they learned offensively in such a short time. It takes months, if not years of consistent training to effectively be able to use Jiu Jitsu in an offensive manner. The kids are supervised closely in our classes and behavioral problems get addressed long before a child is able to use Jiu Jitsu to bully others.
In our classes we have kids with varying levels of Jiu Jitsu experience. Kids of all experience levels are partnered together, meaning the kids don’t only train with other kids who are at the same skill level. When a beginner gets partnered with a more experienced student and experiences defeat on a daily basis, they learn to develop a healthy respect for aggression or violence. When they are not always winning and are put in uncomfortable positions by a more skilled partner, they learn humility, respect and empathy.
Bullying is a complex topic, but oftentimes kids who are bullies or have anger problems have underlying confidence issues. Anger stems from feelings such as frustration, anxiety, failure, worry, rejection, and so on, which most individuals experience regularly. Jiu Jitsu builds confidence over time as well as teaches both kids and adults how to deal with defeat, anxiety, failure and frustration on a daily basis in a safe environment. A confident child who has a healthy outlet to deal with negative emotions and pent up energy is less likely to engage in bullying. On that same note, a confident child is also less likely to get bullied and if they do ever have to deal with a bully, they will have the skills to defend themselves.
Lastly, the word “Jiu Jitsu” literally translates into “the gentle art”.
With Jiu Jitsu, one doesn't have to seriously injure or damage someone to be able to defend oneself. In fact, Jiu Jitsu is the ultimate form of de-escalation. “Position before submission” is a commonly used phrase in Jiu Jitsu. Our emphasis is to completely immobilize our opponent by getting to a dominant position before actually doing damage (ie. punching, attacking submissions such as chokes and joint locks)
Jiu Jitsu gives you the option to effectively control someone without harming them and gives you the option to do as little or as much damage as necessary or as the situation warrants.
On the rare instance that we hear about a kid using what we teach them to bully other kids, we no longer train them. In fact, this has been our policy from day 1. We reach out to other Jiu Jitsu schools in the area to make them aware of the situation so they also don’t train them. The Jiu Jitsu community is a very supportive community and most schools will not train a kid who is a known bully once they’ve been made aware of the situation by another coach. If another school chooses to train a known bully, we cut all ties with that school and also make it known in the community that they are okay with training a known bully.