In Abu Dhabi children in grade school are learning Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu from black belts. From www.emiratesjiujitsu.com, Abu Dhabi is expanding their program:
“Children aged nine to 11 will be taught jiu jitsu in their physical education classes in 42 government schools this year. Eighty-one coaches have been brought in from Brazil to serve as instructors.
They have several purposes in doing this.
“The competitive element is important, but is balanced by sportsmanship and fair play,” said spokesman Carlos Santos, the head coach of the Emirates Jiu Jitsu Team and the man behind the school program. “One of the main things that students learn is to respect their opponents and to win and lose graciously. These virtues will make students better and productive citizens of the future.
“In the long term, we want to identify talented students who will be groomed to become national and international champions. We are already planning to set up venues in each education zone and to run classes out of school hours for talented students.”
“In five years time I hope to have jiu jitsu in every school in Abu Dhabi,” Mr Santos said. “We want to create a world champion UAE national team and the best way is to start teaching children when they are young.”
“The main plan for the future is for Abu Dhabi to become the capital of jiu jitsu for the world,” Mr Santos said. “We want all the players of the world to come to Abu Dhabi to play jiu jitsu and improve jiu jitsu. If you don’t have competition from players from across the world, you won’t have a successful national team. You need both.
“Eventually we plan to have world headquarters in Abu Dhabi and create a university of jiu jitsu.”
What would your life be like if you had started BJJ as a grade schooler?