5 Things You Learn as a White Belt Helping Teach the Kids Class

As a salty white belt, I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt that most of the improvements in my Jiu Jitsu and myself as a person can be traced back to a few months ago when I was asked by my Professor to help with the kids class. At first I was apprehensive, I didn’t know if I was ready for this or if I was good enough. I was NOT, but it turned out okay because soon I realized it was more about learning than teaching. Here are five things I’ve picked up spending time with the kids classes:

1. The Details

       Remember the sweep that coach just showed you but you can’t nail it down, or you complete it but it is so rough that it is unrecognizable compared to the beautifully executed and flawless sweep that was just preformed? That’s normal, and with any technique you will have to drill it for countless hours to nail it down perfectly. Want a shortcut? Teach the move to a couple of kids. You will be forced to look at the technique under a microscope, think about it in a different and more easily explainable way. This, after teaching the same technique countless times and correcting kids as they are drilling will make you remember every little detail, thus improving your understanding of the technique.

2. You Discover How Much Patience You Truly Have

            I can distinctly remember being five years old, tears flying out of my face and screaming like a banshee in karate class and just in general being a “brat”…I am paying for that now. Something you must never lose while working with children (this is applicable outside of BJJ) is your patience. You are forced to be the calm one, and try to handle the kids even at their worst. Just remember that the kids class will end, so be calm and think of a way through it, just like when that guy in class that outweighs you by a metric ton and decides that he is content tapping you with his famous side control. Maintaining your composer will help the kids in the long run, they will trust you and you will have a much easier time with them and in your rolls.

3. There are no Mistakes, Only Lessons

            It can be very easy to criticize yourself, flooding your head with defeat and doubt. This too will change if you begin teaching kids. When children are drilling or rolling you will naturally see some “mistakes” being made (just as with us white belts), you can use that as an opportunity to fix their technique and make it even better. Likewise, when you are rolling and you tap every 10 seconds, you learn not to beat yourself up (Your classmates are doing a good enough job at that) but rather to try and learn from where you fudged up and apply that lesson later on.

4. How to be a Counselor and Better Teammate

       Everyone has had one of those days. Your boss was a real big “Richard” or your significant other has decided not to play nice and you are just considering skipping training all together, but you grab that GI out of your closet, get the gym bag ready, shuffle out of your house and make your way to the Academy. Kids have those days too, whether it be a bully at school or a possible myriad of issues in home life. Over time the children will grow to trust you a respect you (If you have stuck to number 2 on this list) and they may come to you with these issues. It is important to maintain an atmosphere that kids will feel comfortable talking about their issues, just in the same way you can roll and maybe vent to a teammate that is willing to listen; then leave the academy feeling like a load was lifted from your chest.

5. What BJJ is Really About

            For most, BJJ started out as just a fun way to get in shape or meet new people. However if you stick with it you will notice something more. I know for me personally, after my first month helping with the kids class I felt to understand what this Jiu-Jitsu was about. We teach our kids that you do not need super powers, or loads of money to be a hero or help people, but rather you simply need to try your best. Just like Jiu-Jitsu requires you to give your best effort in order to improve, so too does life.

In conclusion: I can’t say you will experience the same benefits from helping in the kids class that I have…. But I’ll go out on a limb and predict that will be an experience from which you will grow both as a martial artist and as a person. If your instructor gives you the opportunity….GO.

By Randall Goodson

Epi 168 Keys To A Strong Kids Program With Korbett Miller

This week we are proud to bring you Korbett Miller. Today you will learn a lot about developing the next generation of BJJ practitioners. Miller is a first degree BJJ black belt under Saulo and Xande RIbeiro. This episode is a must listen for anyone involved with teaching BJJ to adults or kids.korbett-miller

We talk about:

  • Overcoming difficulties as a kid with martial arts
  • The current coaching environment for kids programs
  • How to teach kids differently than adults
  • Teaching on command
  • Drills that are played as games
  • Getting deliberate practice
  • The “Dead Bug” drill to help learn the hip bump sweep
  • Character development for kids in BJJ over other martial arts
  • Fixed mindset vs growth mindset
  • Why you should avoid “Person Praise” to students
  • The importance of a great introductory lesson for kids
  • Some of the details of the introductory lesson
  • Why he does not give kids a belt without earning it first
  • The importance of focus and respect
  • Having kids be a first time listener and doing things the right way right away
  • Not just letting the new kids just blend in with the rest of the class
  • Why almost no one regrets long term martial arts training
  • Developing a talent hot bed in your school
  • Why he encourages kids to compete
  • What to say to a kid after a loss
  • Lessons learned while competing
  • How to let kids start rolling
  • How to teach kids submissions
  • How he has attracted 250 kids to his BJJ school
  • Developing a kids program
  • Marketing a kids martial arts program


Quote of the week: “Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man.” Benjamin Franklin

We have the results of The BjjBrick Coach of the Year Contest. We are

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Gary’s audio book is called “How to sneak into the kids division and get gold or a cold”

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Epi 119 BJJ Taboo Topics With Tim Sledd Part 2

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Tim Sledd

Tim Sledd

Here we go again my friends! Part two with Tim Sledd about the taboo topics of BJJ. I can’t think of anyone else that I would like to hear from about these controversial topics than Tim. Tim spent countless hours as a hard work successful lawyer, he left this career path to pursue BJJ. Tim’s opinions of these taboo topics are well thought out and he defends them well.

We talk about

  • Parents and kids
  • Parents helping coach the kids during class
  • Dealing with kids that act up in class
  • Kids doing MMA
  • What a kid should do if they want to do MMA
  • Parents that want to push their kids into MMA
  • Fake BJJ black belts
  • Red flags of a fake black belt
  • How to deal with a fake black belt
  • When to start doing leg locks
  • Heelhooks for gi and no-gi
  • A break down for the different types of leg locks
  • Dealing with mat bullies
  • Asking someone to leave your BJJ school
  • Why he communicates with kids teachers at school
  • People who commit crimes against society
  • Drugs and BJJ
  • Foul language on the mat


Quote of the week: “You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself. That is something you have charge of.” Jim Rohn

Article of the week: More People Die From The Spoon Than The Knife


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Epi 116 Fighting For A Dream With Abraham Marte

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This week we bring you a interview with Abraham Marte. Abraham is a black belt in the ultra heavyweight division from the Dominican Republic that has managed to medal at worlds at every belt level.  He is now on a mission to help the kids in his community and become the best in the world.

Abraham Marte (picture from Preston Smith)

Abraham Marte (picture from Preston Smith)

We talk about:

  • His competition history
  • Competing only a few times a year
  • His strength training
  • Training with smaller and less skilled partners
  • Changing your environment to make your training better
  • BJJ4Change
  • Fighting for a Dream
  • Helping kids with BJJ
  • How BJJ has changed over the years
  • Jiu-Jitsu tour


Quote of the week: “There is a difference between a fighter and a martial artist. A fighter is training for a purpose: He has a fight. I’m a martial artist. I don’t train for a fight. I train for myself. I’m training all the time. My goal is perfection. But I will never reach perfection.” Georges St-Pierre

Article of the week: Tips for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Beginners from Startjiujitsu.com

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