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FAQs for parents

Welcome to Sarnia Jiu Jitsu! As the parent of a new or potential new student to our classes for teenagers you probably have some questions and we aim to answer some of these below. If you have further questions please contact us.

What martial art is my child learning?

Gracie jiu jitsu also known as Brazilian jiu jitsu. This is a martial art that was adapted from Japanese jiu jitsu and judo by the Brazilian Gracie family. It is characterized by its use of leverage and biomechanics to enable a person to defend themselves against a bigger, stronger attacker. The evidence shows it to be the most effective art in real world situations and to do so without inflicting lasting damage on the attacker.

I'm not sure I agree with violence, are you encouraging children to fight?

No. We strongly emphasise that fighting is always risky and that the first prize is to run away or de-escalate the situation. Fighting is a last resort.

I hear you use joint locks and chokes is it wise to teach children these techniques?

If you are attacked by someone bigger and stronger than you, you need to have tools to handle the situation. With enough practice your child will simply be able to hold down the aggressor but to start with their control may be insufficient and so the ability to threaten a joint lock or strangle (a submission) is important to neutralize the threat. We emphasise and demonstrate that these techniques are used to control people and damage is only to be inflicted as a last resort. However, the threat must be real to be effective in enabling your child to defend themselves.

Is it dangerous for my child to practice this?

No. The submissions are effective precisely because they come from positions of control. As such they can be applied very slowly with both your child and their practice partner having plenty of time to tap (the means by which the practice is stopped). The sessions are also co-operative rather than competitive. Far more of our students get injured playing sports such as football and hockey than through jiu jitsu.

Aren’t you worried that you might be teaching bullies to be more effective?

This is a real concern. Four factors mitigate this: 

  1. Bullies often lack the discipline to train for sufficient time to become effective and if they do develop that discipline they often become less likely to be bullies. 

  2. Exposure to jiu jitsu makes one realise how unwise it is to get into physical altercations with people when you don’t know what skills they may possess. As people learn jiu jitsu they generally become less likely to want to engage in any physical confrontations as they better understand the risks.

  3. Students are told that if there is any indication of them using the skills negatively they will no longer be welcome.

  4. We work with teachers to know if any students have any history of bullying other children. If we are in any doubt we show them skills that would help them defend themselves but nothing that would help them be the aggressor until or unless they show themselves to be trustworthy.

Jiu jitsu seems to be very close contact, is my child being put at risk?

This is an understandable concern. We make it clear to the children that they never need make physical contact with the instructor who can always demonstrate with someone else who is comfortable with the situation or solo without any contact at all.


We also emphasise that the children do not need to go with any partner they don’t wish to go with. Taking control of their own personal space in this way is seen as strong and a positive.


We take the safeguarding of children very seriously and you can see our full policy here.

Do classes run during the holidays?

Yes. Classes run all year round. There are very occasionally times when classes have to be cancelled but if this happens we will make every effort to notify the students currently attending. The exception is that, if no students are currently attending a class, we will pause until we know new students are joining.

Can my child do more jiu jitsu?

Yes. The once a week classes are intended as the cheapest possible way to make sure all children have access to jiu jitsu but we have much more to offer. We have a full timetable of other classes which can be seen here and once they are 14 they are welcome to join any of the adult classes.

Can I come and watch?

Yes you are very welcome, we just ask that, however tempting, you don’t try to help or encourage any of the students. Trust that we know what we are doing.


If your child would be too self-conscious with you attending, you’d also be very welcome to come and watch any of the Core classes on the timetable which will give you a very good idea of what your child is learning. Even better, come and try a free class yourself!

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