Grappling Buddy
Gameness
I have taught the art of Brazilian jiu-jitsu to children for more than a decade. I always look for ways to improve retention and develop skill. Teaching BJJ is a little different from teaching other martial arts because there are many small details that are the glue to a correctly executed grappling technique.

On top of that, children in BJJ often have to work with other children. Many times, children are not perfect training partners. They may not be able to balance on one another, and they may not be able to hold up each other while doing a technique they have never seen. That leads to a lot of falling — and a lot of giggling that can take the entire lesson plan sideways.

This is where the benefits of the Gameness Grappling Buddy come in. It has saved so many classes for me. Using the Grappling Buddy, I can have my youngest students replicate the same positions I’m demonstrating on it. Furthermore, the Buddy is the perfect partner. It’s light. It holds firm so students can balance on it and move without the imminent collapse we get with student-on-student drills.

I find that I can hold the students’ attention while I move from position to position and use verbal cues to direct even the youngest kids through the movements of jiu-jitsu. If you were to watch one of my classes, you might think they’re all mini-black belts. That’s because the learning is fun and easy. The students follow along with me and perform more smoothly with each game we play. Having these games translate into actual grappling techniques later is easy because they are the same cues.

I “secretly” teach my students jiu-jitsu by using these positional games on the Grappling Buddy. It’s not just about teaching dominant positions and movements; it’s also about teaching a timid 3-year-old how to run a double-leg takedown!

I used the exclamation mark because anyone who has taught wrestling to young students knows how timid they are when it comes to making contact with other students. They aren’t so timid when they have to take down the Grappling Buddy. They actually penetrate the space of the Buddy, which is held by an instructor, and then drive through with their takedown.

Once they can perform a perfect double on a Buddy, it’s easy for them to translate that to a live grappling roll. It’s not unlike when they learn dominant positions — the kids use the same cues and are able to perform a complex move on another student, no problem.

With the Grappling Buddy, I can easily teach a large class with a small staff. What is even better is that I have systemized my curriculum so it isn’t complicated, and that has enabled me to train my lower-ranked instructors to run it on their own. This gives me freedom to rotate from student to student and give everyone the personal attention that parents love to see their children receive.

The Gameness Grappling Buddy has erased the struggle of “herding cats” in a BJJ class for kids. Now each training session is an improvement on the last one.

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