One more kids’ class down

Kids’ Class

The twins were back tonight (I had some success at telling them apart tonight — one is taller, though I just have to remember which one is, and also have to have them standing near each other); their sister did class, too. Theresa and another boy came as well. Perry left me to handle the warmup, and the repeating kids were already asking if we could do some of the warmups exercises from last week, which were on the schedule anyway. I need to use more drills/exercises like that, that “hide” the jiu-jitsu drills inside something that seems fun.

Then we spent 5-10 minutes reviewing shrimping as a group, with me calling out which leg was up and when to go. Several of them were complaining because they claimed they already knew how to do it and wanted to do it on their own to make it go faster — and then I’d have to point out that they had just tried to shrimp to the wrong side, so obviously they did need some slow practice. We did that many, many times until they were doing it right on command about 90% of the time, and then I gave them a few runs on their own.

Drilling was scissor sweep from guard. We did this just the other night in the regular class, and I was glad to have it available to bring up for the kids so I could review it. We’re working from guard in here for the next month, and Justin’s taking us through some guard work in the regular class when he teaches, so I’m getting to see it first and then repeat it with the kids. (Makes me pay attention to how he’s teaching something, too.)

The three siblings made drilling harder because they don’t do so well together right now, but there’s no real way to separate them. Theresa and the other boy are a lot bigger, so I had them work together while I rode herd on the troublesome trio. Kids definitely have a shorter attention span. After drilling only a couple times each, the three were already becoming fussy and fidgety. I need to interject a drill-related (if possible) game here, and then maybe come back to drilling a few more times.

King of the Hill sparring to end. The smaller kids started complaining again after a little while that they didn’t like this game because they kept losing (even though they were actually winning some rounds — both Theresa and the other boy were letting them). So I’m trying to think of a way to get some positional-type sparring in with a time limit and rotation — I’ve got some ideas, but most seem to hinge on having more people. So, something to ponder. I do want them to have some live sparring, but not full-out rounds just yet.

Last week we didn’t seem to have enough time; this week, we had way too much even with dragging out shrimping. So I had them go back on the wall for more shrimping, on their own this time. I told them I didn’t care how fast they went; I just wanted them to do it right. One kid took me very seriously on that and went super duper slow. Well, I guess I deserved that. Then we had a request to do alligators. (Seriously? Are you kids messed up in the head? I don’t like alligators.) So, I had them do a couple trips of those. The slow shrimper finished up his second trip of shrimping as the rest were finishing up their alligators. However, he did do them right 95% of the time, and when he did them wrong, he immediately caught it and went back and did it right.

I think I need to add another set of exercise/drills in the middle of drilling and another here at the end. We can skip the last one if we’re running out of time, but I think switching movements and positions may help entertain the littler ones better.

All during class, I found myself repeating things that Tim or Justin has said during our classes. Like the “do it right” speech during shrimping at the end of class or “shrimping is the most important thing in jiu-jitsu” at the beginning. Lol, I guess some of that really has penetrated my brain.


Made it over to my nogi class right as Justin started on the technique — knee-up guard break and pass. I learned this move from rolling with him, actually, and used to harass Purple Belt Buddy with it (when he was a blue belt) until he asked Justin to teach it just so he’d know what it was and could start countering it, lol. (I was giving him fits on Saturday with another move that I learned that way, until he called Justin over to de-mystify it.)

Drilled with Theresa, then rolled with her. Then we had an odd number of guys, so I was going to sit out the round; I don’t know if someone left or what, but Justin came over to roll with me shortly after. He kept me moving fast. We had to bounce around a lot to find open space because everyone was rolling into us. He gave me lots of positions to attack. I need to keep my back straighter when sitting up in butterfly guard. If I try something and miss it, he generally repeats the same thing right back on me to show me how it’s done. (So sometimes I do things just so he’ll do it correctly.)

After class, I asked Will if I could drill just the passing part of the technique on him (I wasn’t sure if the rest of it would be too much on his knee, plus that’s the part where I have the most trouble — I can break the guard, but then I can’t go anywhere. Mostly a problem of pulling the trigger, I think.). He obliged, and then gave me some advice on using my head more and keeping pressure and no space throughout the entire pass.

Oh, also, Blue Belt Buddy said I felt like a 200-lb man last night. Squee!

5 thoughts on “One more kids’ class down

  1. This is a video posted by the Gracie Academy about teaching children. I think it has some good tips. If you have a free moment check it out, it might help.

  2. It’s going to be interesting to see if you notice a significant improvement in your own game after teaching for a while: I’ve heard from a number of people that teaching is a great way to improve, but it’s especially convincing when Romulo Barral says it. 😉

    In terms of non-king-of-the hill sparring, there are a couple of variations I’ve seen in the past, which may or may not help. At Gracie Barra Birmingham, it isn’t winner stays on. Instead, everybody lines up and is counted off in threes. First, number ones go to the mat. They then stay there whether or not they manage to accomplish the goal of the spar, working whatever specific thing we’ve been doing that class (e.g., passing the guard, De La Riva sweeps, side control escapes etc). After a few minutes, it the turn of number twos, then number threes.

    Another option is to do things like “passing the guard, but the person on the bottom is only allowed to sweep,” which I find means you can really open up when passing, because you’re not so worried about leaving arms out etc.

    Flow rolling is another great one, but I’m not sure if kids would have the control to do that. You could work up to it, with things like “no grips” and/or “no holding any one position for more than 10 seconds” etc.

    Those all probably work better with adults, but meh: worth a go if you’re looking for stuff to do.

  3. @slidey: I think it’s already helping, even though I’ve only taught 2 classes. I’ve found myself paying attention better in class since I not only have to duplicate this later, but I also have to teach someone else how to. I’ve also already found myself repeating the steps out loud or just under my breath as I do them in drilling.

    Maybe I’ll add that as my conclusion for the article series you’ll get out of this. 😛

    That KoH variation sounds about like one I have planned, using 30s or 1min rounds, though in mine the bottom player comes out and the top switches to the bottom. But, so far I haven’t had enough kids to do it — 5 both nights, and I need at least 6 for that one. Hmm, I guess I could just have one pair flip while rotating the odd one in on the other side, then move the one coming in to the other side. (Hey, that might really work!)

    It’s funny — I’m usually such a perfectionist and freak out when things go awry, but with this kids’ class I really haven’t stressed out much over things. (Freaked out and panicked, yes, but not stressed over details or when things don’t go so well.) So maybe it will help with that, too. 😀

  4. Again, this won’t work as well if you don’t have enough people, but we do 3 person groups and rotate through the group so one person is always resting. No one “wins” you just get time to work your game, the switch and work against a new person.

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