Wednesday, July 13, 2011

MMA for Kids-A Mom's Perspective

I’m sure you think that I’m going to be completely appalled people would allow their kids to train in mixed martial arts. Well hate to burst your bubble, but I find it no different than any other sport. This includes karate, boxing, football and even cheerleading and dance. Before you get your feathers all ruffled hear me out. Once you get the FACTS, then you make a decision.

Popularity has Everything Nothing to do With It
Realistically those that are stronger and faster tend to be attractive to those around them. Call it survival of the fittest or whatever. The point is that the captain of the football team, members of the wrestling team and even cheerleaders are among the “popular” and often well-respected of their peers. Whether that is well-earned respect or not is irrelevant. They still hold clout in their classes and communities.

Quiet Observations
Over the last few months I have learned that mixed martial arts for children, as well as adults, involves just as much dedication (if not more so) as the next sport. The basis of these ‘arts’ is a balance of self-discipline in mind and body, respect for your opponent, dedication to your art, respect for your classmates and respect for your professor/instructor along with other authority figures.

MMA for kids is about more than being able to beat up the school bully. It focuses on:
  • ·         Fitness- School systems are cutting physical education classes. Kids are spending hours and hours in front of the television or playing video games. I’m not knocking TV or video games. I am promoting the fact that participating in MMA kids training promotes a healthy kid. Classes are offered 3-7 days a week to not only fit your schedule but allow your kids the opportunity to train as often as possible.

Professional MMA fighters are at the gym virtually every waking moment training and conditioning their bodies. Is that not an appropriate role model for kids who see nothing but laziness everywhere they look?

  • ·         Discipline- While my boys are starting out with jiu jitsu, it is imperative to understand that MMA involves the additional training of karate, boxing and muay-tai. Learning all of these disciplines requires focus and dedication. Each of these types of fighting promotes controlling your actions and your reactions. In reality, a great deal of the stances involved in MMA has deep rooted spiritual meaning in eastern religions.

  • ·         Competitiveness- Any sport promotes the feeling of competition. One on one sports compel the person to perform at their highest level at every moment of the organized battle in front of them. It’s not only about the competition but about the ability to accept defeat graciously. Rarely do you see an MMA fight in which the two competitors are going after each other and claiming an unfair fight. They congratulate each other and move on.

  • ·         Courage- Completing classwork at school or competing in front of a couple thousand people against your peers; which promotes more courage? I’m not saying that grades are unimportant or that they don’t take hard work. What I’m saying is for the AVERAGE child, where is the real fear in going to school on a daily basis?

  • ·         Humility- Kids training for MMA are encouraged to work their hardest and apply the knowledge they have to the tournament ahead. They are not taught that they are better than anyone else or that they should assume that they will overcome their opponent. Looking at professional MMA fighters, these role models give back to their fans and their communities rather than stone-walling them like some other sports.

MMA as a Sport
The concept of MMA for kids is not all that far off from most children’s athletics; condition your body and your mind while learning proper techniques. Their thoughts and motions must become one fluid motion so that when the need to protect themselves arises (in the ring or in the real world) they are able to protect themselves properly.

Official kids MMA tournaments do not equal beating the other person to a bloody pulp. They are a test of the children’s MMA skills against their opponent. It’s much like karate tournaments or a football game. There are safety rules and regulations in place as well as age and weight classes to keep things as fair as possible.

MMA for Kids Requires Proper Training
I cannot stress this statement enough. All skills require that your child receive the best instruction so as to avoid injury or a simple waste of time and money. No one wants a coach that teaches crappy football plays or a cheerleading coach who has never cheered, or a dance instructor who took at Lily’s School of Dance in East Bumble.

Find the person who is going to teach integrity along with fight moves and you’ll have the right instructor for your kids’ MMA experience.

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