Over the past several years I have seen a large number of children compete in Karate and Judo, and I can only remember seeing one of them cry when they lost. I have seen a smaller number of kids compete in Jiu-Jitsu, yet I’ve seen a great percentage of them cry after losing. I have seen several children cry at every Jiu-Jitsu tournament I’ve been to. At one of the competitions, my friend observed “Jiu-Jitsu kids always cry.”
Children usually aren’t allowed to train Jiu-Jitsu at our school, so I don’t have any personal experience with children who compete in it, nor am I making any judgements on whether they should or not. I just wonder why there’s such a disparity in how these children deal with losing. Why do the Karate and Judo students seem to handle it better?
I’m sure the answers to that are as varied as the children themselves, and the schools in which they train. I see a little more of a “win at all costs” attitude in some of the parents, which could be negatively affecting the children. It made me sick to my stomach one time when I heard the parents of two five year-olds who were competing say things like “Hurt him” “Just rip his arm out!” Seriously.
However, at the last State Games, I was standing next to a dad whose son was competing, and when the boy started to put an armbar on his opponent, his dad yelled “Go slow! Be careful, use control!” That was some of the best coaching I’ve ever heard. I wanted to hug that guy.
I don’t believe the answer is to give everyone gold medals so they don’t cry. I just think that children, and adults as well, should learn that losing is acceptable, and it’s nothing to cry about.