FanDuel - WFBC

March 28, 2008

Ultimate Fighting Robs The Cradle: Want to watch 6-year-olds in the Octagon? Welcome to Missouri, apparently the only state in the union that allows "youth fighting." Says one parent, "We're not training them for dog fighting...I'd rather have my kids here than out on the streets."

posted by The_Black_Hand to culture at 05:46 AM - 73 comments

I, for one, am tired of the bullshit excuse, "I'd rather have my kids doing [insert activity here] than out on the streets." In the case of Tommy Bloomer, the parent quoted in the article, his kids are 8 and 11 years old. If he doesn't want them "out on the streets," then lock the door and don't let 'em leave the freakin' house! Just a stupid excuse for questionable parenting. I'd rather my kids destroy their still-growing bodies than be out on the streets!

posted by The_Black_Hand at 05:54 AM on March 28

I don't see what the big deal is about. What I'm tired of is having people that have nothing to do with these families, go all up & arms about the safety of these children. Oh please! Let the parent do the parenting and mind your own business, people. Kids have so many different contact, physical sports growing up and this so happens to be one of them now. I can remember being 6 years old and my mom signing me up for Tae Kwon Do classes, boxing, wrestling, football, baseball and basketball, not all at once though but you catch my drift. In the ever growing sport of MMA, teaching kids the basic moves is very similar to teaching kids about boxing and wrestling since they have on the protective gear. If the parents don't see anything wrong with this, why should anyone else for that matter?

posted by BornIcon at 06:39 AM on March 28

They just did a piece on this on The Today Show. If the parents don't see anything wrong with this, why should anyone else for that matter? Funny. This woman on the South Shore here was arrested recently for abusing her son. Well, actually her boyfriend was whipping the kid, pissing on him and snuffing out cigarettes on the boy's scrotum. The mother didn't see anything wrong with it apparently. And while that's an overblown example, the point is, we'd like to think that every parent is Ward and June Clever, making solid, safe and wonderful decisions about the welfare of their child, but the truth is, some people are just fucking morons.

posted by jerseygirl at 07:13 AM on March 28

I have to agree with Icon. These kids are being taught many disciplines of martial arts, hence the term "mixed martial arts". They are obviously wearing safety equipment and following sport rules. I don't think the parent in the article was actually referring to his children being on the street right now. The idea in parenting is to begin teaching behavior, such as discipline, hard work, wisdom, respect, at a young age. You might be surprised to hear what my 6 year old remembers about what I taught him when he was 4. The reason I started teaching him so young is so he won't be a hoodlum in the future. I doubt there is any more contact in mma than in football. Football players in recent times have sustained career ending and even life threatening injuries. However, there is still a long line of parents signing kids up for pee-wee football. MMA is the new sport in town and will probably be accepted in the future just like football is now. What I am surprised about is the fact that no one becomes outraged when they see the 6 year old kid who is 4 ft tall and already weighs 100 lbs. His parents don't want him to get hurt so they buy him all the video games he wants. He sits in his room, plays games, and eats junk food all summer long. He is now obese even before his teens years. Now that's abuse...but also a different topic.

posted by FilaDog at 07:39 AM on March 28

And while that's an overblown example, the point is, we'd like to think that every parent is Ward and June Clever, making solid, safe and wonderful decisions about the welfare of their child, but the truth is, some people are just fucking morons. While I agree that these people that you used as an example are in fact "fucking morons", what does that have to do with the parents that have their children involved in MMA? The safety of these kids is the #1 priority and anyone that abuses a child should be put in the octogon with the likes of "The Iceman" Chuck Lidell, "Rampage" Jackson or Brock Lesnar.

posted by BornIcon at 07:56 AM on March 28

Welcome to Missouri, apparently the only state in the union that allows "youth fighting." From the article: Missouri appears to be the only state in the nation that explicitly allows the youth fights. In many states, it is a misdemeanor for children to participate. A few states have no regulations. I'm not gonna defend the practice of youth MMA, but let's not be misleading.

posted by BoKnows at 08:22 AM on March 28

I took Judo in grade 5. It was a full contact sport (no punching, though) and was a lot of fun. I don't remember turning into a hyper-aggressive manimal. Of course, I had good instructors and my parents were pretty good parents.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 08:47 AM on March 28

Have suburban parents reached the point where they will risk anything so that their kid can be called an athlete?

posted by Landis at 08:51 AM on March 28

How is this different from youths participating in boxing, wrestling, or martial arts? I took Karate as a youngster and competed in full contact tournaments. We wore pads on our feet and hands and suffered only minor bruises or abrasions at worst. The kids in the article appear to be very well protected. As long as they are being taught proper decorum as it pertains to clean fighting and sticking to weight classes, I see no difference than other contact sports.

posted by curlyelk at 09:02 AM on March 28

Have suburban parents reached the point where they will risk anything so that their kid can be called an athlete? And what exactly are they risking that football, basketball, boxing, wrestling or any other sport that has physical contact in it hasn't already caused?

posted by BornIcon at 09:03 AM on March 28

I wasn't going to comment here until I thought about it a bit. Honestly, I think this is the best possible answer, given where we are now. Ultimate Fighting may be a new concept, but it's just applied martial arts with some wrestling moves thrown in. It wouldn't exist if boxing hadn't abdicated its role as the primary fightsport in the world, but now that it has, here we are. Now that it's on free TV, better they learn how to do these moves right from licensed trainers than accidentally ripping some kid's arm off in the playground because of something they saw somebody do once. It's like teen sex: telling them not to do it isn't going to stop them from doing it. Better you educate them about how to do it right than let them try and learn it themselves. Bring it inside the schools where it can be monitored.

posted by chicobangs at 09:26 AM on March 28

"I'd rather have my kids doing [insert activity here] than out on the streets." I would think you would have to travel a couple days on a 737 to find "The Streets" if you lived in Carthage, Missouri.

posted by smithnyiu at 09:27 AM on March 28

While I agree that these people that you used as an example are in fact "fucking morons", what does that have to do with the parents that have their children involved in MMA? because your original post said "let the parent do the parenting and mind your own business". She was saying that that isn't always the RIGHT decision. We can disagree whether it is/isn't in this one instance, but your post certainly came across as "it's my kid, I can do what I want to them" which absolutely isn't the case. There are plenty of examples where we should not let parents do what they want to the kids while we mind our own business. Whether this is one such an example, is up for debate I guess...as for me, my initial thought was "this is horrible", but after the comments about protective padding, just learning the moves, etc...it doesn't sound any more horrible then learning Jui-Jitsu, which I did at a young age.

posted by bdaddy at 09:31 AM on March 28

I would think you would have to travel a couple days on a 737 to find "The Streets" if you lived in Carthage, Missouri. Yea, cause kids don't get in any trouble in rural America (says the guy who was at the wrong end of a drive-by shooting in po-dunk, Texas when he was in highschool).

posted by bdaddy at 09:32 AM on March 28

because your original post said "let the parent do the parenting and mind your own business". She was saying that that isn't always the RIGHT decision. But abusing a child and showing them the basic defensive/offensive manuevers of MMA are two different things and when I made that comment, it was to address the actions that the parents do in order for their children to excel in any given sport, not to abuse them.

posted by BornIcon at 10:16 AM on March 28

I said it was an overblown example of parent not making -- You know what? Nevermind. You're right. In fact, you're always right. You win. You've made it difficult to even try to discuss things with you anymore. I'm done.

posted by jerseygirl at 10:45 AM on March 28

Oh, stop being so dramatic. We all know that you'll be back. Why is it so difficult for you to understand that I was agreeing with you? I just don't get why you wanted to use a child being abused to parents signing up their children to MMA as an example.

posted by BornIcon at 10:56 AM on March 28

The sport, which is also known as mixed martial arts or cage fighting, has already spread far beyond cable television. Damn, the UFC has done a fine job of marketing.

posted by tron7 at 11:06 AM on March 28

Oh, stop being so dramatic. We all know that you'll be back. Why is it so difficult for you to understand that I was agreeing with you? I just don't get why you wanted to use a child being abused to parents signing up their children to MMA as an example. Don't give yourself so much credit; I wasn't leaving the site and certainly not because of you. I am done... talking to you.

posted by jerseygirl at 11:07 AM on March 28

Well to be honest, I couldn't get past the beginning of the article after this statement: "Two members of the group called the "Garage Boys Fight Crew" touched their thin martial-arts gloves in a flash of sportsmanship before beginning a relentless exchange of sucker punches, body blows and swift kicks." A relentless exchange of sucker punches? Maybe it's me, but that sure smells strongly of bias against the participants. Do I think it's a bad idea for kids to get involved in MMA? Yes. Did the obvious slant that the author have against the subject matter really turn me off and make me not give two shits about anything else they had to say? Yes again. Maybe I'll read this again when a journalist decides to cover it.

posted by THX-1138 at 11:09 AM on March 28

I think the rules(no elbows, no ground and pound), pads, and short rounds should do a good job of limiting injuries. It's still going to be dangerous but I don't see it being more dangerous than youth football.

posted by tron7 at 11:49 AM on March 28

THX - don't forget the part about "bare knuckle fighting" next to the picture of the kid with gloves. Or the part about "human cockfighting." They also forgot to mention that Joe Miller of the Oklahoma Professional Boxing Association probably doesn't like MMA for youths because he wants youths to grow up boxing instead.

posted by curlyelk at 12:07 PM on March 28

Thanks for pointing that out, curlyelk. Excellent point about Joe Miller, too. I would also like to point out that I enjoy MMA. I don't necessarily think it's for kids, but that doesn't matter. What matters to me is that the reader isn't allowed to make up their own mind about the subject, and as I and curlyelk have pointed out, the article contains statements that are obviously not true. At best, they are misleading.

posted by THX-1138 at 12:22 PM on March 28

The age range makes it a bit confusing -- ages 6 to 14. Age 6 seems awfully young for anything full contact - whether it be football, karate, or MMA.

posted by bperk at 12:39 PM on March 28

Age 6 seems awfully young for anything full contact - whether it be football, karate, or MMA. I'll second that. Here in Massillon, Ohio and the surrounding areas age 6 will only qualify a child for a flag football team. I am not sure about the martial arts. I am sure that there are classes for them. Just never saw a tournament for that age group yet. I do know they have started a wrestling program at some of the local school districts for the younger kids though.

posted by jojomfd1 at 01:30 PM on March 28

You can't have "checking" or full body contact in hockey until PeeWee (ages 12-14), here in Saint Louis.

posted by BoKnows at 01:48 PM on March 28

I have to agree with some of you who point out the obvious bias and attempt to inflame of the article. When I first read it, I got sucked in to the tone of ther article and found the action horrifying. But given more careful consideration, it seems a bit less outrageous. Personally, I would not encourage my child (he's 10) to pursue this, but that doesn't make it wrong for anyone else to do so. As long as MMA clubs are a choice for children, not something they are forced to do (just like any other sport) they can be a positive thing. In conjunction with responsible parenting that addresses the nature of violence and the necessity that it remain in the ring, the confidence and discipline could really work in a child's favor. There will always be parents who go overboard, failing to see the dangers, both physical and mental, of a contact sport. We see it every day in hockey, football, and others. I'm sure some of the parents of children practicing MMA fall into this category, but, sadly, that is the nature of youth athletics. I sure can't condemn all of them on that basis.

posted by tahoemoj at 02:03 PM on March 28

As someone who has been working in kids soccer as a coach, referee and administrator for the past 9 years I will say this. Many kids are in competitive team sports for the wrong reasons. When they are put in individual sports and/or contact sports my experience is that over half kids shouldn't be doing it. What parents do their very young kids is not helpful to their families or their childs developments.

posted by Landis at 02:12 PM on March 28

What parents do their very young kids is not helpful to their families or their childs developments. Couldn't agree more. What parent would allow their child to potentially receive blows to the head? Any idiot knows that a jarring blow to the head, with or without padding, is a potentially serious injury. It's the movement of the brain in its protective fluid. The difference here is that no other child's contact sport targets the head. This one does.

posted by smithnyiu at 02:45 PM on March 28

but the truth is, some people are just fucking morons. JG, you've just stated my philosophy of life. On Thread: I don't think UFC for kids is a good idea. Full Disclosure, my four year old does take Tae Kwon Do. But there is NO contact. It is strictly forbidden for him to hit other kids. The teacher stresses discipline and how Tae Kwon Do is never to be used on another child, parent or anyone else. It is ONLY to be used as self defense. Contrast that with the UFC where six and eight year olds seem to be pounding each other. I can't help but think that this type of activity will lead these kids to do more of the same on the playground. And I do think that it can adversely affect a child's physical development. Though the same risks exist in other sports, I'm a big believer in what team sports can teach kids. Learning how to work as a team, to sacrifice for the team, to experience the joy of winning as a team, to be a team player, are life lessons that will be invaluable throughout life. And there are also ways to minimize the effect of football (such as Flag football), baseball or soccer on a child's physical development. It would seem impossible to do this with UFC for kids.

posted by cjets at 03:04 PM on March 28

The lawyers are smiling and getting ready to pounce. Some kid is going to hurt another kid really bad, it almost seems inevitable. Some kid is going to put his opponent in an arm bar and break it. Who is going to be held accountable? The minor child or the legally consenting parent who allowed their child to participate in the so called sport. Also, do you think insurance companies are going to pay medical claims for injuries that result from this activity?

posted by danjel at 03:35 PM on March 28

I aways get a kick out of the self defense angle. "A kid needs to learn how to protect himself" From what? Nowadays the dangerous kids have guns and knives. They shoot up a school. They drive by and shoot from a car on the "streets" MMA is of little help in self defense from dangerous people. It's adults that need to protect kids from the dangers of the street. When you allow kids to protect themselves in this day and age you get what we have now, a lot of kids with weapons. As for full contact combat as a sport for kids, they should be able to study martial arts but not in a full contact combative situation. Now if they excel and reach the age of consent (18 years old) then they should be able to fight in sactioned adult competitions like UFC or whatever. My whole issue is as others have pointed out, the reason an adult cannot make some decisions for their kids is that kids are unable to consent from a legal standpoint. It is the whole premise of why there is no such thing as consentual sex with a minor, why minors cannot sign contracts. Kids have not reached an age where their ability to consent is recognized by law. Should a kid be allowed to attempt a jump over the fountains at Ceasars palace on a motorcycle just because he wants to or his daredevil dad says its OK? Isn't this child endagerment? There is also a difference between sports where injury is an accidental occurance, and sports like MMA or Boxing where the whole objective is beat your opponent unconscience, force him to surrender by way of a potential bone breaking submission, or choke him unconscience. Personally I question the motives and judgement of any parent that would allow a 6 to 12 year old to participate in this kind of activity, but as a they say you can legislate against stupid.

posted by Atheist at 04:10 PM on March 28

Sorry for the spelling errors above. Please save the comments I am aware it should be unconscious. Just clicked to fast and got distracted before the edit ability expired.

posted by Atheist at 05:43 PM on March 28

Atheist, A very intelligent post indeed. One very important point you overlooked however: Brain damage from strikes to the head (medical id - pugilistica dementia) will be an inevitable consequence of these activities. Exponentially compounding the seriousness of this type of injury is that it is irreversible. In this day and age, one can no longer attribute this deliberate morphing of young human beings to permanent vegatative dolts to ignorance ... only to outrageous parental stupidity! Brutal Truth

posted by brutaltruth at 11:06 PM on March 28

I SO want to see some six year old make Ortiz tap:) On a serious note, Chris Nowinski's studies on concussion and head injuries should be required reading for anyone who thinks this asinine bullshit is a good idea.

posted by Drood at 12:59 AM on March 29

Martial arts for self defense = bullshit This is way better than actual parenting for keeping kids off "the streets" = bullshit Better they beat the hell out of each other in a controlled environment like a cage than in the school yard = bullshit Cage fighting is just like Tae Kwon Do = bullshit Parents always make the best decisions regarding the raising of their children = bullshit Anything else = ...bullshit ;-) I do hate biased articles though ...the Today Show piece they just did was a bit better. Did anyone notice the kid whose headgear had been knocked off and was gushing blood from his nose in one of the background shots....

posted by Sprdave32 at 09:24 AM on March 29

I get that there are some risks with MMA, but I don't see how its any different than football, youth boxing, or wrestling. Wrestling has the potential for broken bones and boxers receive numerous blows to the head. Why are these sports considered appropriate for youth yet MMA is "human cockfighting?"

posted by curlyelk at 10:41 AM on March 29

Curly, I am not so sure that anyone here is saying that boxing is appropriate for children at all. Wrestling is a completely different thing, they don't teach the kids in wrestling to strike their opponents in the head, or anywhere else for that matter. As far as the football goes, I believe that most places have only flag football or some type of no contact football for the kids at the young ages of around 6-8. At least thats the way it is here, they don't even start putting them in pads until they are in the 9-10 age range. Even then they don't hit each other that hard.

posted by jojomfd1 at 12:56 PM on March 29

Nothing wrong with MMA, as long is regulated by responsible parents and protected gear is used and in good repair. Some prerequesturates should come with the privilege of participating ie school grades and proper demeanor outside the ring. As a kid I boxed, these rules were enforced to the max, and no exceptions were granted. If these same rules are applied. No reason to get down on parents who want their kids to join in.

posted by giveuptheghost at 03:25 PM on March 29

I'll bet I could move a lot of "My kid can beat up your honor student" bumper stickers at these events.

posted by BitterOldPunk at 04:27 PM on March 29

I have to say, the majority of posters on this site are being quite narrow minded. I would have thought, that by now, people would look at things from all points of view before forming an opinion. To automatically say that because something is dangerous, children should be banned is ridiculous. All sports are inherantly dangerous. Young children are hurt every year, sometimes quite seriously, in football. I myself, broke my arm at 11 playing organized full-contact football. I have a friend who took a line drive to the forehead while pitching in a little league game. Another childhood friend was struck in the back of the head by an errant golfball at a local course. Its all dangerous. Even a seemingly harmless sport like golf can lead to longterm physical damage. This is the first thing you are taught, assuming coaches are qualified and somewhat intelligent, when first starting in competitive sports. While i do agree that 6 is probably a little to young to start MMA training, i would also not hesitate to allow my 10 year old son/daughter to participate.

posted by Bus1279 at 05:35 PM on March 29

I'll bet I could move a lot of "My kid can beat up your honor student" bumper stickers at these events. I was hoping to find a "Your teenager is an asshole" stickers. Anyone know where I can get one? I'm finding more and more a need for them. (No offense YYM.) Short of that, I'd take a "Pull up your pants and get a job!" bumper sticker.

posted by jerseygirl at 05:46 PM on March 29

None taken. I know a lot of assholes.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 05:58 PM on March 29

Bus1279, I think you need to reread most of the posts. Most have clearly pointed out that all sports have some danger involved, however, in most sports the danger comes in the form of rare accidents. MMA has the danger built into every move. Your friend that was hurt playing golf was involved in a very rare accident on the course. Courses are typically laid out in a manner that limits this, and players are taught early on to be aware of other players, and to yell Fore if a ball will come near others. I am an avid golfer and have been playing for years. I have seen only a handful of players hit by balls, and in every case someone had not followed protocol (walked into someone's fairway, hit way too soon, etc.) Of course, alcohol consumption comes into play as well. In MMA, the whole object is to beat your opponent up to the point of submission. Doesn't matter if you are wearing protective head gear, if punching, and moves like arm bars are involved, kids will get hurt. Any medical experts out there? Is a broken arm at 6 any more or less of an issue than a broken arm at 18?

posted by dviking at 06:01 PM on March 29

Where does it say in the article that the instructor is a qualified licecensed instructor. And where does one get that title? It's just a matter of time before a over-zealous DCFS worker brings charges against some (or all )of these parents. Lets see if it is worth their children going into Foster Care. And anyone who has ever been involved with DCFS knows, DCFS overrules the courts.

posted by scuubie at 09:44 PM on March 29

Is a broken arm at 6 any more or less of an issue than a broken arm at 18? Nah, dviking, that stuff only becomes an issue after you hit the half century mark.

posted by steelergirl at 07:10 AM on March 30

Is a broken arm at 6 any more or less of an issue than a broken arm at 18? A fractured extremity during a childs growing years could have long lasting effects, especially if it's broken at or to near the growth plates. They are at both ends of the bone. A fracture at or too near one of these could cause problems with the proper development of that portion of the limb. Generally by 18 a person has done the majority of the growing they will do. This would make it less dangerous for the 18 year old than the 6 year old.

posted by jojomfd1 at 07:26 AM on March 30

I wish I had some of them growth plates in my stomach, so it would of quit growing at 18

posted by scuubie at 10:13 AM on March 30

I have waited and finally decided to chime in. I have two sons, one is a wrestler and the other is into Kung Fu. Both love to watch the MMA and UCF matches on TV. I somewhat enjoy watching the shows with them. BUT, I do not in any way condone the children in this sport as acceptible. First of all, my oldest son has been wrestling since he was 46 lbs. He was in set weight divisions and against kids his weight and age. This part I do condone. But, we are expecting the parents of these kids to be responsible and to do the right things by their kids. I am here to tell you that it doesn't happen. In fact, my oldest is now on the high school wrestling team (9th grade) and went to state. I have heard throughout the years overzealous parents prodding their child to "suck it up", "stop being such a sissy", and of course my favorite one "the next time you get his arm in that hold, fucking break it off". Now, I am sure that most of the readers will say that this is just an overblown example of poor parenting, to which I would mostly agree. But, this is not an isolated thing. I have watched in horror at the parents of kids especially in wrestling. Kids come off the mats crying and are met by the father that is trying to relive their childhood through the kid. They will say the most horrifying comments. I get sick to my stomache at the behavior some parents display. My other son in Kung Fu has been in this sport since he was about 8. He is now 12 and has progressed to the level of Sr. Gold Sash. He is now able to spar for the first time. It is monitored very closely and they wear protective head gear, foot and hand covers, and the black sash instructors are the only ones that can monitor the sessions. But, they are too young to engage in full-contact matches at this time. I do agree with that. In mixed martial arts, though parents should do the right things - they often don't. I watch as the parents get more excited than the kids and they will tell their kid to strike an oponent in the groin or to knock the smile off his face. This is common for the contact sports. Anyone that has seen contact sports at this young age will be able to spot these adults easily and often. To say that it doesn't exist is naive. To say that it should be the parents responsibility is a cop-out. It is a nice idea, but not reality. It will take a child being hurt badly before this is stopped, but it will happen. In MME for this group, I see that they can't strike another kid in the face when they are on the ground, but they do and with force. I also see them strike each other pretty good in the face while standing. What do you tell a 6 yr. old that has been hit in the nose and bleeding? Tell him to act like a man?

posted by Mickster at 10:42 AM on March 30

In mixed martial arts, though parents should do the right things - they often don't. I've seen the same thing in football and baseball with overzealous parents. Main difference is neither of the sports are banned and probably will not be regardless of the injury (although rare). Now, if your condemning a sport based on parents, suggest all sports be banned. Bad behavior by parents is in the minority (based on my observations), and I raised 3 children to adulthood and all participated in sports, including bodily contact and non contact activities.

posted by giveuptheghost at 04:37 PM on March 30

Don't give yourself so much credit; I wasn't leaving the site and certainly not because of you. I am done... talking to you. And you're giving yourself way too much credit on thinking that I honestly could give a damn if you talk to me or not? Better yet, thank you. Why is it so difficult for people to just stay on the subject instead of percieving themselves to be holier than thou like their spoken word is the end all be all of all conversations? If one doesn't agree with a statement made by someone, is that so wrong? Better yet, why is it even harder for people to see when someone actually agrees with their statement?

posted by BornIcon at 08:05 AM on March 31

Where does it say in the article that the instructor is a qualified licecensed instructor. And where does one get that title? One doesn't. Any yahoo can hang out a shingle claiming to be an official 57th degree grandmaster of Bullshi-do, an international MMA champion, or any other crap they want. There is no regulation of these claims, and there is no licensing required to to teach whatever you decide to call a "martial art". Mine is a minority view, both within and without the martial arts community, but I don't think that young children have any place in martial arts or sport fighting, not even in limited ways (and I include boxing and wrestling in that). The skills that one learns when training in a martial art or a sport fighting form are skills to injure an opponent, and rules and protective gear can only partially protect from the consequences of using these skills. Ultimately, the greater protection comes from judgment of a sort that young children simply do not have.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 09:56 AM on March 31

For one thing, baseball, football, golf, tennis, hockey, and even wrestling have a couple of rules that MMA does not. Those being, the intention to knock your opponent unconcious. You're not allowed to deliberately strike your opponent in the head. Almost every injury being mentioned here are the result of accidents. An accident can happen while you're cooking soup. I like MMA and boxing, but I wouldn't let a kid under 10 or 12 participate in them because your opponent deliberately tries to strike you in the head. In my opinion, a 6 year old is ill-equipped to defend himself against someone trying to strike him in the head. Heck, a lot of 35 year olds are in the same boat. Apologies for being repetitive. Maybe too many blows to the head from my youth boxing 35 years ago.

posted by THX-1138 at 11:16 AM on March 31

The skills that one learns when training in a martial art or a sport fighting form are skills to injure an opponent, and rules and protective gear can only partially protect from the consequences of using these skills. Are not similar skills taught to defensive football players? Those being, the intention to knock your opponent unconcious Not true. The goal in MMA is not to injure an opponent, or render them unconscious but to win the fight - and the difference is not subtle. I'm sure most people like to imagine a bunch of broken arms, legs, noses and whatnot - but the truth is the sport is infinitely safer than that - and much less lethal than skiing, football, golf and a host of other sports. That and I'm absolutely sure that kids can gain great life skills through the study of a martial art. Much like most sports - discipline and respect are large components. Look at all them cute little Shoalin Monks; they're taught how to kill a man 43 different ways with their second knuckle on their ring finger from the age of 4. I find it somewhat interesting that two kids punching each other is a travesty, but teaching a 10-year old how to use a gun is educational. And kids are put into go karts and motorbiking at this and much younger age - so it's not about protecting children from dangerous activities.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 11:38 AM on March 31

Are not similar skills taught to defensive football players? No. The skills they are taught are to stop a player from making forward progress with the football. They hit the opposing player hard because the opposing player is also attempting to make forward progress with the football. Cornerbacks and safeties don't want to hit a reciever who has caught a ball; they'd rather deflect the pass before it gets into the reciever's hands. When a running back is bursting through the hole in the line, the linebacker would rather strip the ball from his hands than slam head-on. The contact is incidental. It's why you can play flag-football without any major change of the rules. Now imagine playing "flag-MMA" or "flag-martial-arts".

posted by grum@work at 11:56 AM on March 31

That and I'm absolutely sure that kids can gain great life skills through the study of a martial art. Much like most sports - discipline and respect are large components. Look at all them cute little Shoalin Monks; they're taught how to kill a man 43 different ways with their second knuckle on their ring finger from the age of 4. I'm absolutely sure that martial arts do not teach "discipline" or "respect", or "self-confidence" or any of that other blather that parents buy into when they sign their children up for karate lessons. These things are character traits, not skills, and martial arts are teaching a different skill set. They do not teach character any more than they teach you how to bake petits fours. In fact, while it is at least theoretically possible to teach character, I'd venture to say that insofar as people develop positive character traits, they do so through their life experiences rather than through any teaching medium. Some would call this a niggling philosophical distinction, but if I may appropriate a quote, "the difference is not subtle". Children come into the world as impulsive, selfish little bundles of need. They don't instinctively gravitate to the rules of civilized conduct; at first, "doing the right thing" is a matter of rote for a child. Don't hit people. Share. Don't cut the line. Children follow the rules, at first, because they are the rules, rather than out of an understanding of the larger consequences of good and bad behavior. A child refrains from hitting another child because he knows that he will be faced with immediate negative consequences, not because he understands the consequences to his victim and chooses not to visit that harm on another person -- prudent self-interest, not compassion, rules the day. A martial arts instructor doesn't have some special qualification or ability to teach compassion. What he or she is teaching are fighting skills -- skills that are designed to hurt people. There's no getting around that: if what you're teaching isn't designed to hurt people, then you're not teaching a martial art. The apparent paradox between developing fighting skills and not using them to hurt people is something that many adults are challenged to resolve. Young children simply do not belong in that mix.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 12:29 PM on March 31

claiming to be an official 57th degree grandmaster of Bullshi-do Who is Dana White. Alex: Correct I'll take S-words for a thousand

posted by tron7 at 12:35 PM on March 31

Cornerbacks and safeties don't want to hit a reciever who has caught a ball; they'd rather deflect the pass before it gets into the reciever's hands. When a running back is bursting through the hole in the line, the linebacker would rather strip the ball from his hands than slam head-on. Of course they would, but it's because those results are a better outcome for the defensive team, not just because of the contact. A flag football cornerback would rather defend the pass than deflag a wide receiver with the ball just the same. Hitting and tackling are an intrinsic and popular part of the game, not just incidental. There may be some avoidance of contact from time to time with the interest of career longevity in mind, but I challenge you to come up with one NFL linebacker who doesn't love hitting a running back head on as he hits the hole and driving him into the backfield.

posted by bender at 12:40 PM on March 31

The goal in MMA is not to injure an opponent, or render them unconscious but to win the fight I see where you are coming from, Weedy, but I have to stand by my statement that in none of those other sports is your opponent trying to deliberately strike you in the head. I'm not as familiar with all the nuances of the rules of MMA, but I was under the impression that a win was accomplished by submission, knockout, or sufficient landing of punches or dominance in the grapple. No ground and pound in the kiddie version (a good thing). Better ways for a 6 year old to spend their time in my opinion. And for what it's worth, I don't have my kids involved in go karts, motorbiking, or guns at that young age. 15 and up for those activities in my household.

posted by THX-1138 at 12:59 PM on March 31

I'm absolutely sure that martial arts do not teach "discipline" or "respect", or "self-confidence" or any of that other blather that parents buy into when they sign their children up for karate lessons. Then all I can say is that you have not seen my son's Tae Kwon Do class. The teacher stresses discipline and self defense. In every class, the teacher lectures the kids on the appropriate use of Tae Kwon Do. And that means never hitting another kid (or parent or pet). If one of the kids does that, they have to sit out the class. Most of the class is exercise and practice of the various moves. The kids NEVER hit another kid in (or out of ) class. It is not part of the curriculum. The discipline comes from having to obey a strict teacher who doesn't put up with any fooling around, roughhousing or playing with each other during class. It was also something highly recommended by teachers and other people involved with children's therapy as a way of building gross motor skills. And, specifically with my son, it has actually cut down on his aggressive behavior which is why we were advised to take him there.

posted by cjets at 02:01 PM on March 31

The goal in MMA is not to injure an opponent, or render them unconscious but to win the fight I don't know what MMA fights you are watching but it is absoutely the goal. The number one goal of every fighter that steps into the ring is to knock out the opponent. Let me spell this out. That means to hit him in the head hard enough to cause the temporary loss of consciousness. If this cannot be done then there is the option of choking him into it, causing a laceration which bleeds enough to get a doctor to stop the fight, or bending a joint to the point of breaking forcing him to tap out. I also disagree with the post about football players prefering to deflect a pass rather than hit the opponent. Most safetys in the NFL get paid to make big contact and separate receivers from the ball, or make them pay for coming into their zone etc. But in the case of football causing an injury is not the objective it's just the accidental result of hard football. In MMA the intent is to cause the lights to go out. All you have to do is listen to fighters talk about their intentions before a fight and you will see that the object is absoutely to render the opponent helpless in one of the above fashions. Surely the fighters are not trying to cause permanent injury but when they step in the ring it is literally hurt or be hurt. Please don't sugar coat it. I like watching as much as the next guy. As long as the fighters are well skilled well trained professional adults with the ability for legal age consent. Watching seven year olds do it is just disgusting and frankly I would want my son getting hurt or would want him to hurt anyone else's child.

posted by Atheist at 02:04 PM on March 31

Then all I can say is that you have not seen my son's Tae Kwon Do class. The teacher stresses discipline and self defense. In every class, the teacher lectures the kids on the appropriate use of Tae Kwon Do. And that means never hitting another kid (or parent or pet). If one of the kids does that, they have to sit out the class. I am quite sure I've seen many Tae Kwon Do classes just like your son's -- probably quite a few more than you have. I remain skeptical that your son's teacher's "lessons" on "discipline" and "self defense" are taken in by any young children in the class as anything but rote-learned do's and don'ts, just as they learned "don't cut the line" in school. You say it yourself, in fact: if they do something they shouldn't, they have to sit out. The child's reason to refrain from unwanted behavior is, "It hurts me," not "It hurts someone else." When you're teaching fighting skills, your student needs to be capable of considering more than just the consequences to him/herself. Let me also say pre-emptively, because I know someone's gonna go there...no, I am not saying that your kid's school (or any other school) is churning out little thugs. I am not saying that they teach violent behavior. But they don't teach young kids good behavior in the way that so many people would like to believe, because young kids just don't do moral reasoning on that level -- what they learn is do's and don'ts, and they don't need a dojo to learn that, they just need adults who are on the job enforcing consequences. No, martial arts do not teach good behavior in that way, and they do give their students the tools to commit violence, and that can be problematic. Young children do not need to learn fighting skills. Get them involved in other physical activities, and introduce them to martial arts when they're of an age to appreciate the seriousness of what they're learning.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 03:01 PM on March 31

The first rule of Bitch-Slap club is don't break my nails, bitch. The second rule of Bitch-Slap club is don't EVEN talk about Bitch-Slap club. The third rule of Bitch-Slap club is Oh no you di'nt. Further proof that I should not write everything that comes to mind.

posted by THX-1138 at 03:13 PM on March 31

No, martial arts do not teach good behavior in that way, and they do give their students the tools to commit violence, and that can be problematic. Well, we'll have to agree to disagree because two, three, four year olds already have the tools to commit violence. Pre-schoolers kick, bite, strangle punch and push without any teaching from anyone else. You may blame the parents but I've seen the most mild parents have offspring that are extremely violent. And as a parent of a four year old there is only so much you can do once the child goes to pre-school for three and then six hours every weekday. You can certainly lecture them on it after school, but you can't be there with them at school day in and day out. Add to that the fact that kids will sometimes tune out their parents, another authority figure can be very helpful in teaching them these lessons. And whether or not it is moral reasoning (which is being developed right now) or rote learning, it is still important. And I suspect you have not seen a class like my son's in which 75% of the time is spent on exercise (jumping jacks running, jumping) and the other 25% on purely defensive moves. It's hard for me to imagine how learning how to block a punch thrown at you is going to be used to hurt another child.

posted by cjets at 03:25 PM on March 31

Well, we'll have to agree to disagree because two, three, four year olds already have the tools to commit violence. And a martial art (if a martial art is what they're learning, and not gymnastics in a gi) teaches them to do it more effectively, because it teaches fighting skills. And no, I don't blame the parent. Please don't misunderstand that. It's just that many parents consider martial arts a panacea for all ills, from attention problems to bad grades to socialization issues. The reality is that there are no magic bullets and plenty of pitfalls.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 09:06 PM on March 31

And no, I don't blame the parent. Please don't misunderstand that. It's just that many parents consider martial arts a panacea for all ills, from attention problems to bad grades to socialization issues. The reality is that there are no magic bullets and plenty of pitfalls. Fair enough, I may have taken the criticism a bit personally. And I would agree that martial arts is far from a panacea for all ills. I would, however, consider it as one of many options a parent has in their parenting toolbox, if properly used.

posted by cjets at 10:58 PM on March 31

I expect this will become a regulated sport with mandatory protective equipment, state licensed judges and fights conducted within weight and age classifications. I also expect "no holds barred" versions to show up on YouTube.

posted by Newbie Walker at 03:35 AM on April 01

I'm absolutely sure that martial arts do not teach "discipline" or "respect", or "self-confidence" or any of that other blather that parents buy into when they sign their children up for karate lessons. These things are character traits, not skills, and martial arts are teaching a different skill set. Well, there's a few thousand years of Chinese culture summed up in one word: blather. And discipline is not a born-with character trait. It absolutely is learned behaviour. Self confidence is not static either. I understand that you don't share the sentiment, but that's ridiculously dismissive. It appears that the thing that seems to bother most is that the sport allows blows to the head. Okay. I don't have a huge problem with it. Few boys manage to get through life without being punched in the face at one time or another. Honestly, it's not nearly as bad as you're imagining it to be. No. The skills they are taught are to stop a player from making forward progress with the football. They hit the opposing player hard because the opposing player is also attempting to make forward progress with the football. Cornerbacks and safeties don't want to hit a reciever who has caught a ball; they'd rather deflect the pass before it gets into the reciever's hands. When a running back is bursting through the hole in the line, the linebacker would rather strip the ball from his hands than slam head-on. The contact is incidental. Grum, you have got to be kidding me. Perhaps from a bird's eye 'rules of the game' narrow context, you could suggest that contact in football is incidental, but clearly the game is all about contact. It's analagous to war. And is absolutely one of the most vicious sports going for teenagers. Ever been in a high school lockerroom? Kill, kill, kill! And football suffers more parapalegics, brain injuries and broken bones than any one-on-one organized fight would ever have. The impacts are simply more devestating. Some of you feel that there is no positive outcome for the participants of fighting in an organized setting. I couldn't disagree more. It just comes down to that.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 09:35 AM on April 01

Well, there's a few thousand years of Chinese culture summed up in one word: blather. If you think that martial arts as taught and practiced today -- and particularly the flavor commonly taught to children in the West -- is based on "a few thousand years of Chinese culture", then we've got a fundamental disagreement right there. Insofar as any martial art being practiced today has meaningful cultural antecedents, they are removed from that cultural matrix and thus can't honestly claim to be sprinkling that culture's virtues like pixie dust all over their practitioners.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 07:04 AM on April 02

I would say that the virtues of the art are inherent in the practice and the physical work involved. The virtue is in the activity itself. However, this is not to suggest that there aren't a pile of bad dojos with mediocre instructors out there. This example may qualify. It's just that the vast majority of my experience in martial arts suggests that most of the people who do it to the highest levels and become instructors take it very seriously and there is a legitimate legacy of teaching that has been passed along for a long time. Anyway - MMA is a sport more than a discipline, so while I see there being some genuine value in undergoing martial arts instruction, this may not necessarily meet my qualifications.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 12:06 PM on April 02

I would say that the virtues of the art are inherent in the practice and the physical work involved. The virtue is in the activity itself. Bingo. But that comes from the individual and his/her application of effort and picking up of clues, not from outside. And it could come in any number of different types of practice -- I've had parents speak to me about the transformative experiences their kid has had on the track team, for instance. It's the magic that happens when someone makes the "it's that simple, and that hard" connection between effort and results. It's just that the vast majority of my experience in martial arts suggests that most of the people who do it to the highest levels and become instructors take it very seriously and there is a legitimate legacy of teaching that has been passed along for a long time. Anyway - MMA is a sport more than a discipline, so while I see there being some genuine value in undergoing martial arts instruction, this may not necessarily meet my qualifications. I'm somewhat judging a book by its cover here, but I think that anything calling itself (or called by wannabee parents) "Garage Boys Fight Crew" has a different set of goals in mind.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 01:49 PM on April 02

Wait - are you suggesting that the "Garage Boys Fight Crew" aren't versed in Sun Tzu's Art of War? Well, then. I'll just take my concrete smashing blocks somewhere else. Good day.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 02:36 PM on April 02

I've got some small-handled crotch bats you can take with you.

posted by tahoemoj at 04:59 PM on April 02

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