How Jiu-Jitsu Can Help Kids with ADHD
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, better known as ADHD, is a condition that affects millions of children in the US. Characterized by symptoms such as lack of attention, hyperactivity, fidgeting, disruptiveness and impulsivity, it’s a condition that has steadily been found in more and more children each year.
According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), in 2016 there were 6.4 million children diagnosed with ADHD. That’s a whopping 9% of the 73.6 million children living in the US. This means that 1 in about 11 children have been diagnosed with ADHD each year since 2016.
Although in some cases medication may be required to help children such as these focus in school, jiu jitsu can be a great way to help these kids become happier and healthier because:
1. JIU JITSU IS A TEAM-ORIENTED SPORT
This means that jiu jitsu emphasizes teamwork rather than the dog eat dog competitiveness that is encouraged in schools. No one is better or worse, they’re all simply learning from each other at their own pace. This can quell anxiety in children who already feel pressured to succeed in school.
2. A MANAGEABLE BREAKDOWN OF INFORMATION
In order to not overwhelm students, lessons are broken down into manageable parts. This allows for simple instructions that students can quickly learn to follow. That said, jiu jitsu is no consolation prize, it’s a challenging sport that’ll help kids understand what they’re capable of.
Although complex, when taught in small steps jiu jitsu teaches efficiency, patience, and a keener understanding of the mechanisms of our bodies. Helping kids understand that hard work pays off more than raw talent is an excellent way of showing them that they can overcome any obstacle with patience and diligence.
So many kids with learning disabilities are told that they’re not as “smart” as other kids, and since their brains process information differently from others, there’s always the risk that kids like these will believe these false assumptions because they don’t often “win” at school.
But jiu jitsu can give these kids a different perspective. Although there are elements of memorization that come into play, jiu jitsu has nothing to do with simple rote memorization. Instead, jiu jitsu is a sport that engages kids to be creative by pushing them to use their powers of observation and analysis to defeat an opponent–and there’s nothing average about that!
4. DOJO RULES
Lastly, as a sport that prides itself on etiquette, hierarchy and proper behavior, students who have trouble behaving and become easily frustrated will learn to deal with these outbursts constructively. They’ll learn this by following the example set by their instructors. By doing this, they’ll see that there’s no time to waste, since one hour lessons are jam-packed with information and there’ll be no room to deviate from the lesson.
We all stand to benefit from jiu jitsu, but it’s the people who come onto the mat with other worries, such as being too small or too slow, too this or too that, who reap the rewards of surprising themselves (and everyone else) with what they can achieve.