Student Highlight: The Construction of Gentle Savages
By Nick Mavrick
Purple belt Nick Mavrick trains in Denver, and will now be a regular contributor to the Easton blog. Check out more of his articles here.
kids brazilian jiu jitsu
A Parent’s Challenges
The world is a gross place, my friends. It is the only place, though, and as such I will not have it beat my babies down. Their mama was a professional model for almost 2 decades…so they aren’t stunning because of this guy, but they are quite beautiful, and this presents a certain set of problems.
Life often goes a little easier on the beautiful (or so we, the uglier folk like to think), but it can also turn pretty little girls into targets. With nearly 8 billion people out there, even if 99% of them were incredible people–beneficent saints interested only in the collective good of humanity, and only 1% of them were disgusting degenerates who might do something impulsive and unexplainable, like steal a child and never give that child back–we would still have 80 million hostiles upon which to constantly keep our eyes. I like the odds, but the absolute numbers terrify me.
For the sake of clarity, I am absolutely not making light of the dangers that children and the parents of those children face in a world where a kid could conceivably be abducted walking home from school in Cincinnati on Thursday afternoon and be scooped up by a stranger and find themselves in some lawless former Soviet backwater like Moldova by Saturday morning, never to receive another Christmas gift, another hug, another bedtime story from you: that baby’s mom or dad.
I have nightmares about this.
Dealing with Boys
Then comes middle school. Along with middle school come adolescent male humans. I was one. I know that they aren’t bad, necessarily…but they do make monumentally bad decisions. They snap bras. They grab butts. They try on new language and terminology for size, much of it disgusting, misogynistic, and occasionally threatening. They have the power to strike fear into little girls and to ruin entire school years.
It progresses that way through high school and college and even beyond. Some men peak right around the time that bra-snapping seems like a reasonable way to express interest in a young lady. Some men reach adulthood without anyone ever noticing that their wiring isn’t quite right. Some men continue victimizing women forever.
But not my babies.
Benefit of Kids Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
I can’t be with them all of the time. But jiu jitsu can. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is my proxy as they find their ways through this life and around this world. It will give them the fearlessness to walk with their chests thrust confidently before them and their heads up, meeting the gazes of strangers with bold and confident eyes. It will give pause to those who are adept at scanning for victims. It will imbue upon them humility (truly the most attractive quality in a physically beautiful human) for the beatings that they will take on the mat. It will give them strength in their growing bodies and in their developing characters. They will become protectors of those who are less capable of protecting themselves.
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has a really pronounced anti-bully culture and that goes double for the kids’ programs at academies across the country and internationally. I was bullied as a kid. I was a scared little guy. I made a decision that this would not do for my girls. My kids are already vocal leaders at their elementary school: inclusive to all, and without patience for intimidation and maltreatment of classmates toward one another. They use what they learn in a school for fighting to make them kinder, gentler, and more open-minded, thereby bringing positivity to whatever environment in which they find themselves.
Support and Encouragement
Are they always into it? No. Are there tears sometimes? Yep. I will collect those tears of frustration and fear or injury that they shed occasionally on the mat. I will hold them for the right time and they will become ammunition in the future, every tear shed marking the obvious, though difficult task that faced them each time. I will hold them tight when they break down emotionally (and they will). But I insist, and will continue to insist that they dry their cheeks and get back out there. They may be defeated by opponents and teammates, but they will not be defeated by fear.
This, I believe, gives my sweet, articulate, angelic little daughters a better chance to take control of the life that is ahead of them, and do with it whatever it is that makes them happy.