Mentors in Martial Arts
For better or worse, I am who I am today because of my mentors. Regardless of my many flaws, I'm proud of the fact that I'm a perpetual learner. I have an insatiable lust for knowledge and I've always been curious. This has lead me down many paths in life I'm glad I've taken. So I'm glad I've had the opportunity to be mentored by people who've instilled that within me throughout the years.
I've always found it fascinating that what kind of person you turn out to be isn't so much dependent on your upbringing as it is your peer group. By having a firm understanding of this as a parent you can hopefully guide and direct your children's peer group as best you can. When someone said "show me your five closest friends and I'll show you your future", no truer words have ever been spoken.
This of course brings me back to jiu jitsu... I'm a firm believer that your children can and will meet some incredible people by practicing martial arts. I've been in martial arts since I was seven years old and most of my mentors came in the form of my coaches. They have literally changed my life for the better, and I couldn't be more grateful.
As a parent, sometimes our kids don't want to listen to our advice, well meaning and sound as it may be. But when it comes to a coach they love, they are all ears. I'm not entirely sure why this is, but if you can take advantage of it by introducing your kids to quality coaching it will pay dividends throughout their lives.
As a dad watching my children flourish under excellent coaching has been a true joy in my life. I've been able to watch them struggle with moves that they at first thought to be unattainable for them, to becoming extremely efficient at them. I've got to first hand watch my kids go from frustration to the point of tears to empowered to the point of excitement and pride.
It's been through this coaching and mentoring that my kids have been flourishing not only in BJJ class, but in school and home as well. I can see their ability to remain calm and problem solve at a much higher level in all aspects of their lives.
Beyond having a coach as a mentor, your child has a good chance of meeting lifelong friends. It's never a bad idea to have friends that are into the same hobby that is typical for highly motivated people to be involved in. People that do martial arts as a whole are typically the kind of people who are into self improvement and helping others. It's hard to go wrong with having your kids friends be those kinds of people. Some of my best friends as well as my kids best friends came from jiu jitsu.
So, my advice to you is find a great gym to get your kids involved in BJJ and with a little luck their coach will become their mentor.