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The Unexpected Joys of Assisting a Kids Martial Arts Class: FaMA Assistant Instructors Speak Up

Updated: Aug 21, 2019

fama singapore kids martial arts assistant instructors

If you have witnessed a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) Kids class in action at FaMA - Fitness and Martial Arts, you will notice a few not-so-tiny humans on the mats with our Black Belt Professors and kids. No, they are not adults who are in dire need of a remedial basic BJJ class. These Blue, Purple and Brown Belts are Assistants to the Professors, and they have been entrusted the roles of classroom management, safety, and ensuring all our young ones are properly warmed up for the technique of the day!

“Wow, this probably means they are great at BJJ,” you might think. While our Assistant Instructors would love to agree, they’ve also come to realise that coaching kids is a different ball game altogether. Being a part of our kids classes is not always about imparting BJJ skills; it is about honing one’s interpersonal and leadership skills, too.

We asked four of our Assistant Instructors to share their experiences with the kids, and how it has further shaped their lives for the better.

Initial expectations of Kids Martial Arts classes…

fama singapore kids martial arts bjj assistant coach azri
Azri - BJJ Kids Assistant Coach

Azri: That they would be a breeze. I also saw myself as taking the role of a loud voice military style sergeant major - keeping every little one of them in check!

fama singapore kids martial arts bjj assistant coach nevash
Nevash - BJJ Kids Assistant Coach

Nevash: Honestly, I didn’t have much expectation because I've seen FaMA kids train and compete for the past two years. From what I've seen, they are great kids that are willing to listen and be coached.

fama singapore kids martial arts bjj assistant coach sue-ann
Sue-Ann - BJJ Kids Assistant Coach

Sue-Ann: I have taught kids before, led classes on my own even. I had no idea what to expect at FaMA, except I remember being glad and relieved that all kids classes would be headed by a Black Belt, which I think should be the case especially if I may not be able to see concepts and moves in a refined way like a Black Belt can.

fama singapore kids martial arts bjj assistant coach ronny
Ronny - BJJ Kids Assistant Coach

Ronny: I have always thought from the beginning that kids classes should be fun.

Expectations vs Reality:

fama singapore kids martial arts bjj assistant coach nevash

Azri: The reality? Completely the opposite for me! (Editor’s note: turns out, Coach Azri is a softie when it comes to kids) I also realised a new set of challenges coming from having to juggle questions and problems faced by the kids, and taking care of their safety.

Ronny: The kids do have fun in class, and I’m impressed to see them fully focused on a Saturday morning, wanting to learn. It’s also amusing to see some of the kids still half-asleep when they step on the mats. But they wake up after the warm ups.

Sue-Ann: Expectations exceeded for sure! I love how our Black Belts break things down into simple, fun, yet concise points for the kids. And they focus on repetition, especially for the younger ones. Now I see why the foundation of our kids and adults are so strong.

Nevash: I was actually surprised with how fast some kids picked up techniques and their attitude towards training. They want to be on the mats and they want to learn. As a coach, that's all you can ask for.

Something I’ve learned about myself as an Assistant Instructor:

fama singapore kids martial arts bjj assistant coach ronnie

Ronny: I got to learn a lot in kids classes from the Professors, as well as from the other coaches. Skills such as discipline, and pushing/encouraging kids to do better.

Azri: I am a softie but good with kids, being a servant leader.

Nevash: I am more patient than I thought I would be. I do not want my students to experience some of the coaching methods that I had to endure as a high school athlete.  In the back of my mind, I am always reminding myself how it felt like when I could not do something. Therefore, my threshold is much higher than I thought it would be.

Sue-Ann: I never knew how much I want to have my own kids until I began coaching. And when I do, they’re definitely going to a FaMA Kids Martial Arts class.

A memorable (funny, embarrassing or heart-warming) moment on the mat…

fama singapore kids martial arts bjj assistant coach

Azri: A regular notable moment for me: When the Medium Monstros (7-9 year olds) cut across the mat for water break while Junior Champions class (for 10-12 year olds) is still ongoing, even though we tell them to move along the side of the walls. Push-ups as penalties ensue after!

Ronny: The funniest moment would be forgetting a kid’s name! Or calling someone by the wrong name over and over until his partner had to tell me that was not his name.

Sue-Ann: Best moment would be when one of our older kids successfully executed a granby roll after we helped refine a small detail. The lights came on in his eyes when he got it. It was the best feeling to see that. There was also another time I was trying to convince a little toddler (relatively new in class) to participate in a movement. He simply looked at me and farted.

Nevash: My most memorable moments, and something that I would always cherish, are the hugs that I get after every class followed by a "Thank You Coach Nevash."

Best thing about assisting kids class:

fama singapore kids martial arts bjj assistant coach girls pink gis

Nevash: I am learning as I teach. I am learning how to break down Jiu-Jitsu and simplify it so that a 4 year old can understand how to execute a move. I find myself using the same method when I am helping an adult who is doing BJJ for the first time. An adult who has never done BJJ appreciates the simplicity of a technique and that will encourage them to keep on training. 

Ronny: When I can see the students progressing and improving with the technique that I helped to share.

Sue-Ann: Seeing kids from our Little Warriors (4-6 year olds) class move up to Medium Monstros, and go from being lost blur puppies to nailing all their positions during sparring sessions. I always need a tissue when I witness this. Can’t help tearing up!

Azri: Making simple and progressive difference in their lives, through actions, words or deeds. And that I get to pay it forward.

FaMA kids in three words:

fama singapore kids martial arts bjj assistant coach

Sue-Ann: Talented, hilarious, lovable.


Nevash: Fun-loving champions.

Ronny: Fun, intense, and loud!


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FaMA - Fitness and Martial Arts Established in 2016, FaMA is a world-class martial arts training facility located in the heart of the Central Business District in Singapore. Walking distance from the Clarke Quay MRT station, FaMA’s main goal is to help people improve their lives through martial arts regardless of age or athletic capability. Each program is led by experts in their respective fields. Whether it is weight loss, a fun workout, camaraderie, competition training, or just to break a sweat, FaMA has something for everyone.

Kids Martial Arts

Our Kids Martial Arts classes offer a choice of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) and/or Muay Thai programmes which have been specially designed for Children of all skills levels. Several studies have suggested that Children who participate in a sport experience positive development in their self-esteem and confidence, which supports our belief that the skills Children learn through our Martial Arts programmes here in Singapore will benefit them beyond their time in the academy.

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