From Aikido and Karate to Muay Thai and Taekwondo, there are so many forms of martial arts that help our kids learn to put their best foot forward. Recently, little Elliott tried Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for kids and his Mummy shares how the trial classes went.
I’d always planned to have Elliott learn some form of martial arts when he was ready. Having trained in fencing myself, I can see the benefits that combative sports bring. It helps build confidence, teaches self-discipline while instilling a sense of respect, sharpens the mind and increases focus. At the same time, it promotes physical activity, teaches perseverance, encourages conflict resolution and boosts social skills.
Elliott’s just turned four. Recently, he learnt some martial arts moves at school and he loves it. He’s been doing air punches all day at home! He’s also become better at following instructions, so I decided he was ready. There are so many different types of martial arts; I tried to pick one that would be suitable for him. He loves tumbling around, so after some research I felt Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) would be the one to try.
Evolve MMA Singapore
Coincidentally I heard that Evolve MMA was giving out free trials, so we signed up. They have four outlets − we went to the one at KINEX (formally OneKM Shopping Mall) for our first trial.
As its name indicates, Evolve MMA offers Mixed Martial Arts. They have BJJ, as well as Muay Thai classes for kids aged four to 13 years. According to their website, the Little Samurai Children’s Program takes a 360-degree approach to your child’s overall wellness. Marketed as the only children’s programme in Singapore that’s designed by a Harvard University graduate, it aims to impart life skills while ‘bully-proofing’ your child.
At first Elliott refused to enter and was a crying mess. The staff were so patient and knew how to handle him. Turns out he just wanted to be dressed like the other kids. They loaned him a set of Gi (traditional uniform) to put on, and he perked right up. The coaching style was super upbeat. It was a big class of about 15 kids but there were two other assistant coaches helping out. He enjoyed the class so much that he went for the Muay Thai trial class too. However, he didn’t find it as interesting as he did BJJ.
Evolve MMA works like a gym membership. For about $350+ per month, you get excess to all kid’s classes − there are eight classes a week. It’s actually really worth it if you can attend that many classes. However, as we’re only ready to commit to once a week right now, it’s not for us.
So our search for schools offering BJJ continued. We shortlisted two other schools to try out.
Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Singapore
While Googling, I came across Gracie Jiu-Jitsu at 326C King George’s Avenue. Just a three-minute walk from Lavender MRT station means it’s the most convenient location for us.
I was really happy to see that they offer Tots Jiu-Jitsu for three- to five-year-olds. The program is designed to introduce little ones to the principles and techniques of Jiu-Jitsu via fun and interactive games. It also prepares them for the Junior Bully/Street Safe Programme for older kids aged six to 11 years, where they’ll advance their physical skill sets and strategies to stay safe on the streets and at the playground. The aim is to help children to find their voice and equip them with skills to handle various forms of bullying and problems in life through Gracie Jiu-Jitsu’s anti-bullying methodology.
I was sold. We signed up for a trial. There were eight tots in the class, with one main coach and two assistant coaches. The pace was just nice for the kids. I really like Coach Cam’s style of teaching. He was gentle but firm with the kids and Elliott enjoyed the class thoroughly. I was already quite set on this school. But as Elliott can be quite fickle, I requested a second trial session just to be sure.
It was clear that Gracie Jiu-Jitsu was the perfect choice for us in terms of programme, pace, location and cost. The fees are $180 per month for the weekly Tots Jiu-Jitsu programme. This takes place at 9.00-9.45am on Saturdays. The school sells a new set of GI at $120.
Elliott has been in this programme for almost a month and he’s loving it. He looks forward to Saturday mornings so much and practises his moves on me all the time!
Gracie Barra Singapore
Concurrently I had also picked out Gracie Barra at 42B Hong Kong Street for trial. The location near Clarke Quay MRT station isn’t ideal for us, but we signed up to try out their kid’s class anyway.
We went on a Wednesday evening. This class was the most upbeat and energetic of the three. I felt it was maybe a tad too vigorous for the three- and four-year-olds. I felt exhausted just watching them! But I was really impressed at how well Elliott handled it. He successfully learnt the single leg take-down during the one class. It was also obvious that Elliott burnt the most energy in this class. He actually asked for a long list of food for dinner afterwards, and cleaned out his meal completely, something that never happens!
The hour-long kid’s classes at Gracie Barra are on Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings. I thought having the choice would be good. It includes children from four to 12 years of age, with a small class size. We attended the trial on a Wednesday evening and there were fewer than 10 kids, with one main coach (Coach Braga) and two assistant coaches. Most of the kids were much older than Elliott, but he really connected with two of the kids there. Which made this his favourite class of the three.
Gracie Barra was also the most affordable of the three, given that other than membership-style payments, you can choose to purchase packages of 10 or 20 passes. This works out to as little as $30 per class. The main deterring factor for me was the distance. I also preferred that Elliott be in a class dedicated to kids of his own age group.
More Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for Kids in Singapore
Simply put, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a grappling-based martial art that does not involve punching or kicking. Instead, it uses techniques that put opponents in positions too difficult to escape from, and forces them to surrender. If this is something your child may benefit from, why not sign them up?
Apart from the three mentioned above, here are other academies in Singapore offering Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for kids:
- Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Singapore
- Equilibrium MMA
- FaMA Fitness and Martial Arts
- Fortitude Martial Arts & Fitness
- Gracie Academy Singapore
- Juggernaut Fight Club
- Maverick Martial Arts
- Move to Live
- The Gentle Art Academy
- Trifecta Martial Arts
As I’ve discovered, all martial arts academies have their pros and cons. It’s a good idea to go for a few trials to discover what works best for you and your child. All the best!