MMA Debate: Why I Would Let My Child Train MMA

Jeffrey McKinneyContributor IIIMarch 14, 2012

Photo by Barron Crossing
Photo by Barron Crossing

In 2010, Tapout released a commercial featuring the Ruffo brothers doing some MMA training.

In the commercial the brothers did some striking drills and took direction from UFC Hall of Famer Mark Coleman and late MMA trainer Shawn Tompkins.

When the commercial came out, the two brothers were only eight and nine years old. Despite their young ages, they have been training in martial arts since they were about 18 months old

Some people may see these commercials and think, "How could anyone let their children train in such a violent sport?"

But I actually believe it's a great idea. 

So much so, that if I'm ever blessed enough to have children, I would support them if they ever wanted to do MMA training. 

I do understand there are pros and cons of it. 

MMA can be a violent, dangerous sport. But so can American football and hockey. MMA is no longer the bloodsport or "human cockfighting" that it was once thought to be in the 1990's; there are many rules and regulations for the sport. 

Children also would not actually be participating in actual fights. But more or less sparing with partners like the boys did in the commercial. 

Injuries can occur during training. In fact, many pro fighters get hurt more during training than in a actual fight.

Just last year Georges St-Pierre, Jon Jones and Rashad Evans all had to delay fights thanks to injuries they sustained during training. But letting children train in a slow paced, controlled environment could keep injuries at a minimum. 

There are plenty of benefits that children could gain from training in MMA. 

Like individual martial arts, there is the discipline factor. Children would learn the patience and discipline that it takes to do well in the sport. They would also gain vital self defense skills. 

In a society that's filled with people getting more and more obese, training in MMA could promote a healthy physical outlet for children. MMA also provides an outlet for kids who may not have the skills, physical attributes, or interest in other mainstream sports.

Unlike basketball or football, there is not a body type that you have to have to participate in MMA.

Whether you have a belly like Roy Nelson, have a skinny build like Anderson Silva, or are short like Demetrious Johnson, with good training, anybody can compete in MMA.  

Training in MMA could also give children a sense of independence, an opportunity to meet new people, give them something outside of TV and video games to do, and be something to teach them respect. 

The idea of teaching a child the same techniques we see inside the cage won't sit well for many people. But I believe in a safe, well controlled environment, it would at least be worth a try. 

Would you let your child do some MMA training? Share your thoughts!