Sunday, 30 September 2012

Kids and Submissions... a debate.

So there has been a lot of discussion about kids doing subs in tournaments.  Some people are all for it, and won't even bring there young students to tournaments that don't allow it.  Some people are completely against it, and won't bring their young students that allow them, at any age. 

I'm a bit on the fence and like the approach of doing "simulated submissions" that I have seen at some  tournaments. So the kids can set up the subs, but it's stopped when something is locked up but not applied.  They get 4 points and they are stood back up.  So kids get a lot of match experience, and still get to work on getting into position for subs.    

The arguments for allowing subs are:
  1. kids like subs
  2. teaches them to be aware of them so they don't learn bad habits
  3. teaches them to be aware of subs for the future so they will know what's open when they are older
  4. it's part of jiu jitsu
  5. i'm not sure what else
arguments for no subs:
  1. They are dangerous
  2. kids don't have as much control so they can hurt each other
  3.  kids don't know when they are in trouble and might not tap when they should
  4. kids are still growing and getting an elbow hyper extended could have a horrible life long effect
  5. parents don't like seeing kids get hurt
  6. i'm sure there are others

So there are some good reasons on both sides of the coin and I can't say either side is completely wrong.   Coming from a judo background,   as kids only throws and hold downs were allowed until Juvenile, and then chokes and arm locks were allowed.  I think since I was that young, it's changed and now, i think, it's tiered so under 15 some things are allowed and under 19 others are.  I can't be sure, i'm way out of the loop.

I think, ideally,  under 15 or so shouldn't be doing joint locks.  Sure, kids are gumby and flexible and would probably be fine, but it only takes one back lock for a kids elbow or shoulder to be ruined for life.   Chokes could be fine at a younger age, maybe 12 or 13,  worse case scenario, the take a nap,  very little damage is done, especially if the refs are on top of things and stop it quick.    To me, young kids, 10 or so and younger,  probably should be putting submissions on each other,  maybe simulated subs, but not full on subs. 

I've got friends with strong opinions on both sides of this argument, and would love to here their reasons for/against  their opinions.

Do you teach kids subs at your school?  Do you want them doing subs in a competition environment?  what age do you think is good for kids to start doing subs?


  1. We teach our kids submissions as the normal part of Jiu Jitsu but definitely stress defense and positional control with safety being our highest priority. That being said, we don't start the kids until 7 or 8 in our program. Jiu Jitsu without submissions is like playing soccer or hockey without goals (might as well just be a runner or a skater).

  2. We teach our kids subs. I don't see the harm- kids aren't shy of tapping like adults are and they're pretty good at following instructions like not snapping on a technique too fast. Plus they're awfully bendy, so less danger of being hurt.

  3. 13 and below no submissions. Around 12 you should begin to teach kids (especially self defense. I think around that time kids slowly begin to grasp what they are learning. At 5 kids are not focused on tournament strategy and submissions they just want to have fun and tackle each other.