Should kids be participating in the MMA? Are people as accepting? Should they be?
It’s one thing to have grown adults make an informed decision to get inside the cage and battle it out for a living, but having children knocking each other out or snapping limbs in a cage paints a bit of a different picture for most people. Children are still growing, their minds are in critical stages of development and they aren’t of age.
Are kids really punching each other in the cage, though?
Kids do practice mixed martial arts, just as other kids practice wrestling, judo, Taekwondo, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and so on.
Just because it’s MMA doesn’t mean the right safety precautions can’t be taken. If the correct rules and safety equipment are adopted, MMA is just as safe as any of the other martial arts that are practiced by millions of children and teenagers around the world.
In almost all cases where children are practicing MMA, they are often required to wear head gear, shin pads and other protective gear for hits to the head, and other potentially dangerous maneuvers are disallowed in competition.
The problem is in what people see and not in what is actually happening. People watch a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu competition and they see kids in a disciplined environment that is teaching them life skills.
When you throw in a cage and board shorts people have a tendency to put on their blinders, when the reality is these kids are learning the same life skills they would be learning in any other discipline of martial arts.
Of course, there is potential for injury, which is true of any contact sport children choose to partake in. That being said, football and hockey programs are still full steam ahead for kids as young as four year old despite the risks of concussion and other injuries.
With the right rules and regulations in place, MMA is just as safe for kids to practice as any other martial art. People simply need to realize that what they see in the UFC isn’t what happens at the youth level.
People may get hung up on the fact that some youth competitions take place in a cage, but the cage is nothing more then a barrier to safely contain the action. MMA teaches the kids discipline and focus, they may not grow up to be major fighters, but why not allow them the enjoyment of being a part of a team and interacting in a sport they love.