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BJJGround Forum >> starting bjj @ 5 yrs old ,does it make u better ?


12/2/12 12:02 PM
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12
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then guys that start later, i dont think so

12/2/12 12:10 PM
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Royce Nelson
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it depends. If they start that young they usually get burned out when they get older and move on to something else. The ones that stay in it though are usually pretty damn good.
12/2/12 12:35 PM
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Baroquen Record
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I think starting at 5 and starting at 10 would have similar results when looking at an 18 year old. Phone Post
12/2/12 2:03 PM
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Hey Beer Man
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Studies have shown that starting a sport/art/music early in life isn't a huge leg up. Talent and genetics make up for lost time very early on. BJJ concepts are fairly complex. A very young child is monkey see monkey do but won't understand the concepts until his/her teens years, typically. There are plenty of exceptions that price the rule Phone Post
12/2/12 3:13 PM
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ChipW
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This is the great debate in youth wrestling right now.
American wrestlers start competing at an intense pace( weight cut, domineering dad ect) very early. 5 yrs old is typical.

Russians, on the other hand, start early with a focus on body mechanics, technique and gymnastic. Really no intense comp until the teen years. They work very hard but do not compete early.

The Russians consistently do better and have longer careers on the international level than the Americans.

A lot of other factors come into play as well. Money being probably the biggest, Russian wrestlers get paid Americans don't. And in America you have to do well in high school and college to ever get to the international level. So their forced to compete earlier.

Taking the external factors of money and college out of the equation, the winning strategy seems to be start young but keep the pressure off until the teenage years.

Concentrate on building fundamentals and body movement skills early. Work hard but don't put all the emphasis on winning at this point. Learn to train. They can train to compete later and eventually train to win.

Basically I think it boils down to keep it playful early( and when your old and recreational) but during your prime competitive years, 15-25 for wrestlers, bust your ass like there is no tomorrow. Phone Post
12/2/12 3:18 PM
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PayItForward
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no. it doesn't make you better.

you can take a kid and have him wrestle starting at 5 and another start him at 8. it will be a wash in the outliers.

give the kid a chance to get balance, build some strength.

maybe just technique.
12/2/12 4:06 PM
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onyx2002
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I'm at this point right now. I have a 5 year old boy and 8 year old girl. Here is the perspective I'm operating with. My kids have done some BJJ and are currently in wrestling. My daughter is the only girl in a room of 40 kids. We do these activities because they are bonding time with each other and with me. I fully believe that at some point we will flow to soccer (my first love), basketball and other sports. Most all the current world champions didn't get much of a start in BJJ until their early teens. The good wrestling coaches I talk to tell me that there are a lot of good wrestlers that don't even start until junior high. I want them to have confidence, body control and an ability to learn new skills. All of these qualities I believe are more important than hitting an x-guard sweep.

If later they decide to focus on BJJ I will be thrilled. If it fades into the background I'll be ok. I feel like my biggest job is to prepare them for life, I think grappling is one of the best tools to accomplish that. I have a moderate size fear of bullying in school most likely fueled by too many worldstarhiphop videos. If I can help my children have the self esteem to avoid being picked on and the wherewithall to deal with it if it does occur I think I'm on the right track.
12/2/12 4:08 PM
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onyx2002
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On a side note, watching the young kids at the mendes brothers school hit a x-guard counter by using berimbolo concepts does give me pause for thought...
12/2/12 5:49 PM
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Sudo21
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No, it doesn't. Take them to gymnastics and some other activities like swimming where they can build some strength, coordination, body mechanics, flexibility.
12/2/12 6:18 PM
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ChipW
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Gymnastics is probably the single best activity a kid can do.  Body mechanics, strength and coordination.  It will help in anything they do later on. 

12/2/12 6:33 PM
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ChipW
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heres some more discussion on the Russian vs America youth wrestling:

http://www.valhalla-wrestling.cityslide.com/board/board_topic/866921/451185.htm

"Dan Russell tells an outstanding story about the Russians back when he was over there wrestling.

While trying to make weight and working out, Dan would go work out for hours at a time, then go check his weight. When he originally checked it, he noticed some Russians(youth keep in mind) working on some underhook stuff. Anyways, Dan goes and works out for about 2 hrs and comes back to check his weight and notices that these same two wrestlers are still working on the same underhook series. He goes and works out again for about another 2 hrs, comes back and notices the same two still working on the same moves. He does it a third time and the same thing.

The Russians are completely focused on perfecting every aspect of their skills. They work non stop on the same stuff over and over again.

Americans don't quite have that down. We work on a few things for a few hrs and think that's good. Maybe later on in the week we come back to it and touch back on it. All the while not really even mastering the move. Its all about repetition and muscle memory. Can you imagine trying to get your kids to work on the same move for 6 hrs straight? How about even 1 hr straight? Our kids just aren't focused enoough to work on something for that long. Now if you get them at a young age, keep them from video games, candy, watching tv all the time, then maybe, but not highly likely.

The reason why we can walk, talk and shit so well is because we do it everyday. The Russians walk, talk, shit and wrestle so well is because they do it everyday."

 

"He shared with us that the European countries do not have many events, especially for JR and below. They still have sport specific schools that study for 4 hrs a day and train 2 times a day. They will only go to 4 tourneys a yr. All of them are very important."

"I believe it is parents and weight cutting that burn kids out more so then our system. The more tourney's the more kids may cut weight. With only 4 tourneys a year, its kinda hard to get burned out of weight cutting. So in a nutshell they remove the parents out of the equation with sport school and also the weight cutting with so few events. Many times I have had to force myself to back off a bit. In sport school they are taken away from parents and put into an environment where everyone is doing the same thing.

"

12/2/12 6:49 PM
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budwhite
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If the idea of 10,000 hours to mastery is to be believed (I do), then starting early is a big advantage.

Assuming 10 hours of training per week, 50 weeks per year it will take a person 20 years to reach that level.

Starting at 5 puts you at the mastery level in your peak athletic years as opposed to getting closer to over the hill.

I wrestled from 7th grade until my senior year of college at a D-1 school and was constantly at a technical deficit to those who had wrestled since 6-8 years old and wrestled throughout the summer as well.

Trying to push a child into an activity that they don't like in order to get them to the 10,000 hours is a mistake but there is little doubt that those who reach the 10,000 hours earliest have a big advantage.

Those who love what they're doing enough to push hard for the 10,000 hours will succeed.  There are not many stories of non-obsessed world champions.  BJ Penn is probably one of the least experienced people to win Mundials at the black belt level in terms of years in the sport, but by all reports he was probably pretty damn close to that 10,000 hour mark based on the amount of time he spent training.

If a child starts at five and they are doing what many five year olds do in BJJ class i.e. screw around, pick their nose, lose focus then starting at five offers little advantage.  On the other hand, if a child pays attention and has a coach who understands not to overload them with non-fundamental BJJ, I think starting at five is a big deal.

I am not advocating focusing a child on one sport or forcing them to participate in BJJ if they don't really like it but I disagree with those who say there isn't a big advantage to starting early.

12/2/12 9:56 PM
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Hywel Teague
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I've done a little bit of research on this, pretty much every elite BB I've met or interviewed started training at 14-15 years of age, give or take. A few started earlier (around 10-11) but reported never taking it seriously until then. Even among the Gracie family.

I think there's no harm in taking a young kid to train BJJ but it wouldn't suggest that there's a better chance of them becoming a world champ. Phone Post
12/2/12 10:17 PM
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budwhite
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Hywel Teague -  I've done a little bit of research on this, pretty much every elite BB I've met or interviewed started training at 14-15 years of age, give or take. A few started earlier (around 10-11) but reported never taking it seriously until then. Even among the Gracie family.

I think there's no harm in taking a young kid to train BJJ but it wouldn't suggest that there's a better chance of them becoming a world champ. Phone Post

Given that BJJ is currently still a fairly new sport and still a bit of a fringe sport, it shouldn't be suprising that most started training in their teens.

That said, in the next decade or so I would expect that BJJ will be like almost every other sport where the best started it at a very early age.

12/2/12 11:13 PM
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Balance
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My son is almost ten and has been doing BJJ for about a year. My daughter is six and started a couple of weeks ago. I don't have them in BJJ to win the Mundials or even intra-school tournaments. I have them in it because I think it's a fun activity that will help make them better, more confident people. I think it's something that they will be able to take with them into other aspects of their lives both now and into the future.

My son as one of the more senior kids sometimes leads the warmups, so he's getting a chance to be a leader there, and some of the littler students will look at him as an example of what and what not to do, so he's had to understand the responsibility he has here as well. He probably could have experienced the same thing in a TKD class, but I happen to like BJJ better as an art for a lot of reasons that most here probably agree with.

At some point, the might grow sick of it. At some point, their school commitments in academics and other activities might crowd BJJ out of their schedules. We'll cross that bridge when we come to it, but I still believe that what they're doing now will have value for them in their other activities and life in general.

I'll end this to say I read 12's posts with great interest as he has done a great job with his son.
12/3/12 2:27 AM
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Brian McLaughlin
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Look at other sports, when a kid plays baseball starting at age 5 vs a kid who takes it up in 9th grade there is a WORLD of difference.  The only way it would be detrimental would be injury or burnout, but yes it makes a difference and we will begin seeing it with the next generation.

12/3/12 6:47 AM
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Hywel Teague
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budwhite - 
Hywel Teague -  I've done a little bit of research on this, pretty much every elite BB I've met or interviewed started training at 14-15 years of age, give or take. A few started earlier (around 10-11) but reported never taking it seriously until then. Even among the Gracie family.

I think there's no harm in taking a young kid to train BJJ but it wouldn't suggest that there's a better chance of them becoming a world champ. Phone Post

Given that BJJ is currently still a fairly new sport and still a bit of a fringe sport, it shouldn't be suprising that most started training in their teens.

That said, in the next decade or so I would expect that BJJ will be like almost every other sport where the best started it at a very early age.


These are all BBs from Rio de Janeiro, where BJJ is less of a fringe sport. Also, the BBs I've interviewed range from 20-somethings to 70+.

Obviously I don't have data to back it up but from what I've seen and heard 14-15 seems to be the ideal age, it's young enough to give them a good head start on athletic development while not too young. The danger is a lot will give it up when they get to around 17-18, but the ones who stick it out tend to be monsters.
12/3/12 7:33 AM
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BenBJJ
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Maybe it doesn't make them better but I have a whole bunch of 4 and 5 year olds that have a blast! Who cares about being better? They are having fun, which is where the emphasis should be!
12/3/12 9:45 AM
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SlapUsilly
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I can't remember who said it.. maybe Helio, maybe a japanese judo guy..

But essentially what they said boiled down to you focus on technique when they are young, so when they hit their teens, you stop teaching them and you focus on execution of what they know.

I agree.

However, this is no guarantee to having success nor does it mean that you'll always end up with better athletes later on.

For children, I think the focus should be on building core things like breathing and muscular development. Things like swimming and gymnastics I think are very beneficial later in life.
12/3/12 9:45 AM
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SlapUsilly
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I can't remember who said it.. maybe Helio, maybe a japanese judo guy..

But essentially what they said boiled down to you focus on technique when they are young, so when they hit their teens, you stop teaching them and you focus on execution of what they know.

I agree.

However, this is no guarantee to having success nor does it mean that you'll always end up with better athletes later on.

For children, I think the focus should be on building core things like breathing and muscular development. Things like swimming and gymnastics I think are very beneficial later in life.
12/3/12 11:03 AM
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aed333
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budwhite - 

If the idea of 10,000 hours to mastery is to be believed (I do), then starting early is a big advantage.

Assuming 10 hours of training per week, 50 weeks per year it will take a person 20 years to reach that level.

Starting at 5 puts you at the mastery level in your peak athletic years as opposed to getting closer to over the hill.

I wrestled from 7th grade until my senior year of college at a D-1 school and was constantly at a technical deficit to those who had wrestled since 6-8 years old and wrestled throughout the summer as well.

Trying to push a child into an activity that they don't like in order to get them to the 10,000 hours is a mistake but there is little doubt that those who reach the 10,000 hours earliest have a big advantage.

Those who love what they're doing enough to push hard for the 10,000 hours will succeed.  There are not many stories of non-obsessed world champions.  BJ Penn is probably one of the least experienced people to win Mundials at the black belt level in terms of years in the sport, but by all reports he was probably pretty damn close to that 10,000 hour mark based on the amount of time he spent training.

If a child starts at five and they are doing what many five year olds do in BJJ class i.e. screw around, pick their nose, lose focus then starting at five offers little advantage.  On the other hand, if a child pays attention and has a coach who understands not to overload them with non-fundamental BJJ, I think starting at five is a big deal.

I am not advocating focusing a child on one sport or forcing them to participate in BJJ if they don't really like it but I disagree with those who say there isn't a big advantage to starting early.


This.

If you read Outliers, Bounce, The Talent Code, The ARt of Learning, etc. the common theme here is the 10,000 hours of purposeful practice. The way to get someone to practice purposefully is to get them doing something they love. If you can get that starting at 5, you should be able to get the kids a head-start to achieving mastery.
12/3/12 11:34 AM
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bjh13
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Hywel Teague - 
budwhite - 
Hywel Teague -  I've done a little bit of research on this, pretty much every elite BB I've met or interviewed started training at 14-15 years of age, give or take. A few started earlier (around 10-11) but reported never taking it seriously until then. Even among the Gracie family.

I think there's no harm in taking a young kid to train BJJ but it wouldn't suggest that there's a better chance of them becoming a world champ. Phone Post

Given that BJJ is currently still a fairly new sport and still a bit of a fringe sport, it shouldn't be suprising that most started training in their teens.

That said, in the next decade or so I would expect that BJJ will be like almost every other sport where the best started it at a very early age.


These are all BBs from Rio de Janeiro, where BJJ is less of a fringe sport. Also, the BBs I've interviewed range from 20-somethings to 70+.

Obviously I don't have data to back it up but from what I've seen and heard 14-15 seems to be the ideal age, it's young enough to give them a good head start on athletic development while not too young. The danger is a lot will give it up when they get to around 17-18, but the ones who stick it out tend to be monsters.

That's odd. All the Gracies I've trained with and met (Rorion and Ryron for example) were put on the mats at the age of 3 or so. They were just playing jiu-jitsu (Gracie Games) and not really training until later, but it gives you a foundation to work with that you practice over and over without realizing you are doing it.

We have seen starting at a very young age to be a common trait for high level wrestlers, and looking at Judo gold medalist like Kayla Harrison that seems to hold true as well. I don't see any reason starting at 5 years old wouldn't be an advantage in jiu-jitsu, though certainly work ethic and physical conditioning are going to be worth more than what age you start training at.

I wonder how many of those black belts and red belts you spoke to maybe had started judo or some other complementary activity at a younger age.
12/3/12 12:10 PM
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onyx2002
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I think the issue that 12 is addressing is that if you have a child that starts at 5 and a child that starts at 14, by the time they are 25 will the 5 year old be significantly better simply because they started earlier.

The Gracies are certainly good examples. Most all were familiar with BJJ when they were young and has access to incredible teaching. How many are world champs now? A lot of them lose to those world champs that started when they were teens. (this is in no way a knock on the Gracies I love me some Gracies it is just a notable example of children learning BJJ).

I do believe that times are changing. BJJ is not some mystical sport that is immune to progress. Soccer, football, baseball, hockey, basketball are so competitive that if you aren't 'on the radar' by 15-17 there isn't a lot of hope that you will be competitive. Obviously there are exceptions to this but they are rare. This doesn't mean that people who start later wont be good or wont become a black belt or wont win tournaments but I think the days of people starting BJJ later on in life are and becoming world champion are numbered.
12/3/12 12:12 PM
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Hywel Teague
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You said it yourself, they were on the mats but they were playing. Training came later.

There is a big difference to taking kids to what are in effect structured rough-and-tumble play sessions in kimonos, to training them to become athletes.

And of the few who had experience of judo, it wasn't significant. Phone Post
12/3/12 1:36 PM
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tarado4
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interesting thread

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