Singapore, it’s something of a tradition for parents to sign their children up for taekwondo or karate classes (at the community center), to help them learn self-defence as well as character traits such as self-discipline and respect for others.
But increasingly, more and more kids are taking up the grappling sport of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu
(BJJ) as opposed to Asian forms of striking martial arts.
It is widely acknowledged that the beauty of BJJ is its ability to prove how a smaller individual can defeat a larger opponent with the right technique.
“BJJ is less violent, and teaches more about discipline and self-control,” said Professor Guilherme Mendes, one half of the famous Mendes brothers and a four-time BJJ
black belt world champion.
“Kids are hyperactive and literally unstoppable, thus we need to slow them down and educate and teach them about discipline, respect and how to be good student and a good person,” he added.
Mendes was in Singapore last month to conduct seminars at newly-opened martial arts school The Gentle Art, which hosts the only official Mendes Brothers BJJ affiliate programme in Asia.
The Mendes brothers are reputed for having the best children’s BJJ programme in the world, with some of their little students clinching consecutive titles at the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation Pan Kids Jiu Jitsu Championships over the last two years.
B.T. Kang, one of the owners of The Gentle Art, commented: “As there is no striking involved in BJJ, kids can safely spar at full pace and apply the techniques taught, under complete supervision of instructors at all times. Our children’s programme is also developed in collaboration with a certified early childhood practitioner.”