Jiu-Jitsu Letter

Teach Kids

My teacher told me, “If you can teach the kids classes, you can teach any class.”

It’s true. I’ve been open for about six months now. On the days I have kids classes, I used to wake up anxious, stressed about how it’s going to go. It’s been getting better, I’m always relieved when it’s over, feeling that it was nothing compared to what was in my head.

On the days I know there are no kids classes, those days are so easy. I still have to prepare, but I know the adults want to be there, and there is no audience.

I heard a BJJ podcast episode where the instructor said he didn’t allow the kids’ parents to watch inside. They can watch from outside, through the window. I’d like that as an instructor, but as a parent, I understand wanting to observe at a closer distance. When parents are watching, the teachers can feel additional pressure and they have to play to two crowds.1 The other problem is the kids feel it too. I hear parents coaching from the sidelines, and so far I haven’t had to say anything, but some are getting close to the line.

There’s an inside joke among BJJ people about having a random blue belt run the kids classes so the head instructor can take off. It’s BS. As a school owner, it’s not something I would ever consider. As a parent, I’d be questioning the owner’s judgment. Of course, if I was a non-BJJ parent, maybe I wouldn’t know what’s going on during class, but I’d still want to know that whomever is running my kids’ class is someone legitimate and has at least passed a background check.

Who are your kids’ teachers?

I follow a bunch of schools’ Instragam pages, especially Gracie CTCs. While I don’t (currently?) post any photos of my child students, a lot of others do. Often, the instructor is there too.

I’ve been to ICP2 once or twice a year, and while I don’t know every certified instructor in the system, I recognize a lot of faces. Lately, I’ve been seeing some schools post photos of instructors that I’ve never seen. These instructors(?) are with kids.

If your kid’s school has “assistant” instructors running classes without the head instructor there, look into these assistants. Who are they? Should they be left alone with your kid? What teaching training do they have? Do you drop off your kid and run errands during their class?

My kids classes have been growing, and I’ve actually come to look forward to teaching the kids classes. This morning, I had my training and private at HQ, and this evening, I taught two kids classes. Other than running out of loaner gis, it was the easiest class I’ve had since opening. And while part of it is my own improvement in teaching kids, the biggest thing has been wanting to teach kids.

Recently, I was talking to someone about running the school, and how I didn’t want to teach kids at first, but it was half my revenue, so I needed to. He said that’s the wrong approach, and that if I shifted my mind to wanting to teach them, it’d be easier. He was right. I had to remember that if my goal was to make an impact, teaching kids is an obvious way. It’s easy teaching adults, but sometimes, things just gotta play hard.

  1. I’m aware the parents are watching, but I do my best to ignore them. ↩︎

  2. Gracie University’s instructor seminar weekend. ↩︎

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