Given the benefits of mixed martial arts classes, such as discipline and self-defense, it’s no wonder millions of kids participate in them annually. But what you see on TV and what happens in real life are a stark disconnect, and we’ll explore why that is.
Competition Doesn’t Come First
Remember that your child won’t be thrown into a cage and begin sparring on the first day. It takes a lot of training to get to a competitive level, and when your child competes, he will wear protective gear, including headgear, shin guards, and other equipment. Also, remember that all sports pose some risk to the body, including popular kid sports such as baseball and football.
Safety Starts at the Right Dojo
Before registering your child for MMA classes at different gyms in your area, do your due diligence. Research and talk with the instructors and ask about their teaching methods. Observe a few classes to get a feel for the environment and the type of instruction your child would be receiving.
You want to find a gym where the instructors are respected, not intimidating. The focus should be on self-improvement, not on teaching aggressive behavior. Find another gym if it looks like the Cobra Kai dojo from The Karate Kid. Remember Mr. Miyagi’s Confucius-like proverb: “There are no bad students. Only bad teachers.”
The Goal Is Still the Same, Though
While all sports can educate participants in some level of discipline and sportsmanship, the main goal of baseball or another sport is to gain victory. With youth MMA, kids aren’t trying to hurt each other in the cage. Children learn various MMA skills at a young age, especially before age 16. They do spar with each other, but at a good school, this is done in a way that minimizes injury.
While winning is still the objective, the goal of youth MMA is to help improve the ability to defend oneself, as well as to build confidence and be more fit and disciplined.
There Are a Multitude of Martial Arts to Choose From
Another option to consider is allowing your child to learn skills that would progress into mixed martial arts. Instead of learning a flurry of martial arts, you could focus on just one skill until they are older. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is an option that offers many skills that transition seamlessly into MMA. It benefits students that most Jiu-Jitsu schools focus on building confidence and skills rather than weaponizing aggression.
Other options to consider are wrestling classes, Judo, Karate, or Taekwondo, rather than Muay Thai or kickboxing, as the latter can be riskier. Kids can learn boxing and Muay Thai skills without working against an opponent, and your child can wait until they are older before using these skills in competition.
If you also want to start them small, go with boxing. It’s less straining physically and mentally since they’re taught to fight with only their fists but still incorporate the same discipline. Then you can transition your kids to other martial arts when they’re ready to use the rest of their bodies.
Enroll at Pride Martial Arts Academy
Get your child started on MMA and other martial arts at Pride Martial Arts Academy today. We start kids on the basics with our bi-level program of Lil’ Champions (4 to 6 years old) and Juniors MMA (7 to 15 years old).