In jiu-jitsu we’re often quite amazed by the level of skill we can observe in young competitors. Videos such as this one are regularly must see fodder:
However Firas Zahabi, who is one of the most respected MMA coaches of today, reinforces the idea that submissions should not be taught to children. He regularly teaches his kids but he says no submissions and especially no chokes.
He recently hosted his two sons grappling at Pure Victory Championships on his channel and narrated the inspiring roll between sons who are 6 and 8 years old:
This is an opinion that mirrors John Danaher :
My own approach is teach only positional moves to very young children. I am not in favor of teaching submissions to children below the age of twelve in group children’s classes. This may seem a very conservative approach, but I believe it is in the best interests of the sport.
Some of the worst incidents I have witnessed in my time in jiu jitsu involve children or very young teens being put in situations where the danger posed by submissions used against them was greater than their knowledge of how to defend themselves, and the environment competitive enough that they felt compelled not to submit. Sometimes this compulsion came from overzealous parents (some of whom ought to be ashamed of themselves ?) or just a situation where a young student clearly did not have the requisite knowledge to defend themselves in a high pressure situation – I remember an EBI where a young teenage girl was caught in a heel hook that she had no idea how to defend but felt the pressure not to submit in a televised event in front of a big audience and was horribly injured – thankfully they have since banned heel hooks for juveniles in EBI.