Jiu Jitsu, Focus, and our Children’s Success

If you observe a kid’s class at Matakas BJJ, you will hear the word “focus” repeated often. It is a skill we demand of our students because life demands it of them. We use our experiences on the mats to help train the abilities that our young students will need in school and at home. The most important of these, perhaps, is the ability to purposefully direct one’s attention toward a worthwhile aim.

Kids naturally have trouble focusing. Their youthful bodies are bursting with energy, as everything they observe is new and exciting, and the last thing a child wants to do is sit quietly in a room for eight hours.

It’s not hard for us to remember what that was like, the stultifying feeling of organized education and authority, when all we want is to go see the world and explore. With their creative powers bursting at the seams, it’s no wonder these kids have trouble focusing in school and at home.

The Need for Jiu Jitsu

But somewhere, somehow, they must learn to focus. These kids will someday, and that day is not too far off, become adults. And we as adults realize the importance of focus, ourselves being an example of its power or a warning of its absence.

The modern world greatly strains our focus as we are pulled in every direction toward things which do not serve us. Flashing screens abound, the instant gratification of swiping through social media and bing-watching television is training our brains to crave immediate stimulus. We are actually wiring our brains to prevent our ability to focus for extended periods of time.

But that is the exact skill that our success requires.

The only way to succeed, in any discipline, is to hyper-focus on one object with ceaseless repetition.

Nothing great was ever achieved with divided attention. All of our heroes, no matter their discipline, developed great competency in a skill by spending countless hours focused solely on that skill. What kind of writer would Hemingway have been had he felt compelled to check his Instagram every ten minutes while working? Michael Jordan would not have become “Jordan” had he spent those late nights binge-watching Netflix rather than shooting baskets in the driveway.

How would we have performed in school, or as parents, had we not given our education or our children our complete attention?

Jiu Jitsu helps kids focus

To truly focus is difficult. That is why we are so sincere about cultivating this skill in our students. This is why we sit seiza and make eye contact while the instructor teaches, and why we are quick to praise those students who, having finished their animal walks first, sit patiently and attentively as they wait for their teammates.

Best of all, the complexity of Jiu Jitsu forces our students to sincerely attend to its understanding. In learning Jiu Jitsu, they are actually learning how to learn.

Whatever our young students are going to be when they grow up, their success will be limited by their ability to focus on the task at hand. We believe Jiu Jitsu is a great vehicle with which to train the skill of focus. Once our students can focus on the mats, they will be much more inclined to do so in school and at home.

We love Jiu Jitsu. But we love your kids more. We will do our best to use Jiu Jitsu as a teaching tool which aids in your child’s development.

This is the real purpose of Jiu Jitsu: not to fight others, but to combat our own human weakness as we reach toward greater heights.

Thank you for the opportunity to play a small role in your child’s development. This is an honor we receive sincerely and gratefully.

Want to read more about Jiu Jitsu? Check out Chris’s new book, On Jiu Jitsu. Want to try Jiu Jitsu for yourself in the Florence/Burlington, NJ area, sign up for our Introductory Special now!
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