Mixed martial arts fighting for children warrants a significant dialog. I am not a supporter of kids in MMA, however I do not want the topic to be evaluated by people who do not approve the sport in the first place. There are many obvious elements to MMA for kids that create unsettling images, but my disapproval comes from a clinical, medical and psychological perspective. Although many schools that are offering MMA for kids believe it is a way to build confidence and teach self defense, they are forgetting how mature the content of the sport really is. The sport ideally requires a combination of skills in the following martial arts: kickboxing, muay thai, boxing, jiu jitsu, judo and wrestling. There is a tone to MMA that is more innately aggressive than many of these other mentioned arts.
Children can learn all the best that a mixture of martial arts has to offer by simply teaching them the original forms of martial arts that they are extracting their lessons from in the first place. So, if you want to expose kids to the amazing athleticism that boxing has to offer, then put them in a boxing class and teach them the excellence of this Olympic sport. If you want to teach them the respect and traditions that originate from traditional martial arts, then put them in a jiu jitsu class or judo class. If you want kids to have great kicking skills and wonderful flexibility, put them in a kicking driven art that offers point fighting, like Olympic tae kwon do or karate.
I have written several time on this topic, but after watching this story I felt I would re-introduce the arguments and my position. As a parent of 3, a PE teacher at The Chicago Montessori Academy, 4 time Black Belt, MMA school owner and writer who covered the UFC for 5 years for Ultimate Grappling Magazine, I still consider this a fairly controversial topic. I have not reached a place where I can support MMA as a sport for children.
Here is the story that inspired me to re-visit this topic. It was featured on NBC- called: MIxed Martial Arts CLasses For Preschoolers.