Martial Arts for Kids!

Our Programs Gives Your Child

The Gifts of Higher Self Confidence, Improved Self Discipline,

Increased Fitness, A Real Sense of Accomplishment,

and Plain Old Good Fun


My name is John Connors. I am the Head Instructor at Connors Mixed Martial Arts Academy. I am also the father of two, youth football coach, and former little league baseball coach.

The Greatest Gift You Can Give Your Child


During my years of coaching and teaching I came to a realization: the greatest gift I could give to a student or player was the access to their own confidence.

You can teach skills. You can get kids in shape. You can help them understand the game or task at hand, but the biggest impact comes when a child really feels that he or she can perform successfully.

I've seen it time and again. A young player who's a decent athlete and who seems to love baseball, but when it's his turn at bat during a game, he seems paralyzed with self-doubt. Teaching him more technical skills (how to hold the bat, how to level his swing, etc.) won't have nearly the impact of simply helping him to find his confidence.

Once that confidence is found, then your child's natural abilities just pour forth.

And that confidence is in there already. Sometimes it just can't be heard over the din of all the critical voices from inside and outside.

I have coached other players, who frankly did not seem like potentially great athletes. But when I gave them the constant encouragement, support and challenge that they wanted and needed, they surprised everyone.

In the right environment, a child will find a way to contribute meaningfully. That's the type of success that I'm talking about.

Real contribution.


Not the we're-not-keeping-score-and-we're-all-winners kind. Kids want to keep score. And they want to contribute and perform well. They don't need to win every game, but they do need to feel that they're moving toward their real potential.

I'll help your child find his confidence and move toward his potential.


My jiu jitsu students fall into three categories.

I have a couple of kids who are "naturals". They seem to do well at all sports and have natural enthusiasm and confidence. They love Brazilian Jiu Jitsu because it allows them to express themselves in a fun, energetic, rambunctious way.

I have a couple of students who are not naturals. They just haven't found their niche yet. They've played some sports but nothing really clicked for them. The reality is they didn't have the right environment and support to help them reach their potential.

But here at Connors Mixed Martial Arts Academy, they flourish.


The third category of student is everywhere between these two extremes. And they all get along and thrive here.

There's only one way to find out if our program is right for you and your child - come in and try it.

Right now, I'm running a web-only offer:
6 Weeks of our Kids Basic Program for $69.
Click the Button Below to Enroll Your Child Now


There's no strings attached. Come in and try out the program for six weeks. At the end of the six weeks decide to continue or not.
This web-only offer is limited to new members, once per child.

So call me now to set up and introductory appointment: 617-285-2401.



John Connors

Black Belt, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Pan Am Blue Belt Champion, 2000

AB Harvard, 1985

Little League Baseball Coach

Youth Flag Football Coach

2003 Coach of the Year


Class Schedule:


Tuesday and Thursday at 4PM;

Saturday & Sunday 10 AM




What are you waiting for?

Schedule a FREE Intro Class Now:

Fill out this form and John will contact you to setup an appointment to answer any questions you may have and discuss your martial arts and fitness goals.

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Why Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a Great Martial Art for Children
BY Jon Grayzel

Watch any group of school age boys during recess and you're likely to see a wrestling

A fundamental principle of teaching is not to set students up to fail.


match. Friends may wrestle playfully, rivals fiercely, but little boys seem as hard-wired to roll around on top of one another as puppies. My twin sons do this so often, I wonder whether a WWF scholarship could pay for college.

Athletic history too reflects the natural inclination of human males to wrestle. Grappling figures prominently in the athletic culture of societies ranging from ancient Greece to Mongolia, from Japan to the pre-Columbian Americas.

Despite boys' natural inclinations and wrestling's rich traditions, American parents seldom enroll their children in grappling-style martial arts classes, preferring instead karate schools. I find this preference puzzling, and hope to encourage parents to reconsider their choices.

I have nothing against quality karate instruction once children have attained enough self-control and maturity that misuse of their skill becomes unlikely. But I believe it is unrealistic and unfair to teach 5, 6, and 7-year old boys to punch and kick, and then expect them to exert sufficient self-control that they do not use their skill inappropriately in the playground or at home.

A fundamental principle of teaching is not to set students up to fail. Why expend so much effort teaching children something they must not do?

Moreover, boys in the "Power Ranger" stage of life sometimes have difficulty clearly differentiating fact from fantasy. According to the National Association for the Education of Young Children: "Up until age 7 or 8, children have great difficulty distinguishing fantasy from reality, and their ability to comprehend nuances of behavior, motivation, or moral complexity is limited." In the midst of fantasy play, boys may not realize that kicks made as part of the action can hurt someone.

Contrast karate with grappling-style martial arts, like Brazilian jiu jitsu (aka bjj). Such arts emphasize wrestling, not striking, and are an outgrowth of what little boys do naturally.

Not only do I not warn my sons that they must not use what they learn in bjj class, I encourage them to do so (under the proper circumstances, of course: they don't walk into school and start jumping on their classmates). The basement mats provide a great place for them to roll around with each other, while having fun and cultivating a range of attributes.

Fitness is first among these attributes. In this era of epidemic childhood obesity, grappling is great exercise. A sport like bjj makes use of muscles throughout the body, and a 45-minute class provides a tremendous workout.

Many pediatricians believe excessive time spent in front of computers and Game Boys contributes to childhood obesity. In this age of virtual everything, the cultivation of a direct, tactile sensibility is perhaps the most important part of grappling. Grapplers remain in close contact throughout a match: pushing and pulling, sweeping and turning, trying to feel how the opponent is moving in order to counter. In stark contrast to the point or semi-contact sparring that characterizes many kid karate classes, the physical closeness of grappling is definite and inescapable. When your opponent pins you, you know it; and you must work to escape. There is no debating who scored first; there is nothing virtual about it.

Learning to cope with violence in a creative manner is another important aspect of bjj. Like it or not, we live in a violent society. Our children are continually exposed to the violent images that pervade our popular culture. Unlike striking-focused martial arts, which essentially meet violence with violence (i.e., block then counter-strike), bjj teaches practitioners to use positioning, leverage, and timing to dominate their opponent. The concept that aggression can be confronted creatively, that hitting back and running away are not the only options, can be invaluable for children, whether they are trying to settle an argument or subdue the schoolyard bully. Children studying bjj gain this knowledge not from lectures but intuitively from their training.

One reason for this creative approach stems from the size of bjj's founder, Helio Gracie. Compared to his stronger brothers, Helio appeared frail and he could not rely on power to defeat opponents. Instead, he cultivated perfect technique that maximized leverage and timing, and ultimately became one of the best fighters of his generation. Getting to his opponent's back and controlling him to devastating effect was one staple of Helio's fighting repertoire.

What a great way to beat the class bully: get to his back and pin him, making him incapable of harming anyone! For like karate, bjj is ultimately a fighting art. It may provide creative ways to confront aggression, but confrontation lies at its core.

Training in bjj can be hard: bangs and bruises are par for the course. Its creators sought to develop the best fighting art for one-on-one, unarmed combat, and members of the Gracie family fought thousands of full-contact matches toward this end. Current bjj students learn a practical martial art formed in the forge of combat. Techniques that proved ineffective were discarded; new techniques continue to be tested in the same manner. A child who has trained in bjj and mastered some of its basic concepts and techniques is well prepared to protect himself from the playground bully.

Once the bully is beaten, a boy can return to what he should be doing in the playground: playing tag, climbing the jungle gym ... and wrestling with his friends.

Jon Grayzel works as a medical writer-editor and emergency medicine physician. He has practiced a number of martial arts over the past 20 years, including Okinawan Karate, Western Boxing, Jeet Kune Do and Philipino Kali. Currently he studies Brazilian jiu jitsu with his 7-year-old twin boys at Mass BJJ in Acton Dedham BJJ in Dedham.



What are you waiting for?

Fill out this form and John will contact you to setup an appointment to answer any questions you may have and discuss your martial arts and fitness goals.

Sign up and Get Started Today

When do you want to come in for Your FREE Intro Class?


Will you be bringing a friend?

If yes, include name and contact info here.