BONNERS FERRY — It has been said that a child’s brain is a sponge for knowledge. Putting children in early learning for sports has given some the chance to get a head start in the sport later on if they continue to pursue it.
The Sylvio Behring-United States Jiu Jitsu schools are located in Bonners Ferry, Sandpoint, and in Missoula and Hamilton, Mont. The schools provide classes for attendees of all ages, most recently adding a class for kids aged four to seven years old.
“Teaching Jiu-Jitsu to a bunch of four and five year olds was completely new to me and I had to adapt my teaching style and class format completely,” said Sam Brown, owner/instructor of Bonners Ferry Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. “It’s still a work in progress and I’m constantly adjusting things and striving to make the environment as fun and exciting as possible for the kids.”
“I have boys and they need to let out energy and use that energy in a productive way,” said mom Rachel St. Peter. “Since they wrestle a lot I wanted them to learn in a safe way so they are not hurting each other and being respectful towards each other. They have a good coach, he is pretty awesome.”
Luckily for Brown, his new class yielded a handful of students. The smaller group helped with the adjustments needed in teaching those with shorter attention spans.
“Their attention spans at this age are very short so I have to try and keep them all engaged, which can be difficult,” said Brown. “With self-defense being the primary goal of my academy, the secondary goal is competitive Jiu-Jitsu.”
This past fall, they had their first four year old compete against six year olds and he came home with two bronze medals. There have been kids in older aged classes who have stepped up to help the younger learners.
“Our team has grown strong over the last few years and we travel regularly for tournaments, often placing in the top three as a team,” said Brown. “Each year we see more and more kids at the tournaments so I’m thrilled to have such a large group of young kids that are enthusiastic about Jiu-Jitsu. This is a sport that they can literally train and compete in for the rest of their lives.”
Not only is Jiu-Jitsu a competitive sport, but it also teaches self defense and self discipline.
“I bring my kid to class because I wanted him to learn how to protect himself, and control and be respectful, and he loves to go to this class very much,” said mom Breanna Dunham.
The classes also provide an energy outlet for the children.
“I bring my son because he loves it,” said mom Bridget Zills. “It’s a great way for him to learn respect, self discipline, and patience with himself and others. It is a great group of kids and they learn a lot. It’s a great workout and they love it! Sam is so good with the kids.”
Brown is always ready and willing to teach his art to anyone that wishes to learn.
“Every night that I step on the mats to teach this class, I can’t help but get excited as these kids are literally the future of our competition team and they are all just loaded with potential, the future is bright,” said Brown.
Julie Hollabaugh and her family decided to give the Bonners Ferry Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu a try a couple of years ago.
“Our boys have loved it since day one,” said Hollabaugh. “They are active, having fun and making new friends. These kids are learning how to move their bodies the right way to not hurt themselves and other skills that can help them in many areas of life. Sam Brown does a great job with the kids. He is patient and works hard to teach them discipline, which is tough with kids 4-7. Sam’s whole family is involved and they are so friendly and welcoming. It has been a great experience for our boys.”
The future of the Bonners Ferry Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is in the competitors and learners, who may one day reach worldwide recognition in the sport.
Several local businesses like the General Feed & Grain, 3 Mile Store, and Woody’s Gun and Pawn, all sponsored some of our athletes last year which helped a ton and now there are four tournaments a year in Spokane and one in Missoula.
“The sport is growing very fast and we are super excited to now have so many opportunities to compete closer to home and hopefully bring more and more competitors each time,” said Brown.
Under the tutelage of Master Sylvio Behring from Rio De Janeiro Brazil, the Sylvio Behring-United States banner, Bonners Ferry Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is located at 3 Mile. Their website is bonnersferrybjj.com, call 208-290-6518, or visit their Facebook page.