Is MMA wrong for kids?

This is a hot topic for debate; people are up in arms at the sight of two young boys, free grappling in a cage at a show!

Why is it that the press jumps on the band wagon to stir up trouble again for the people that enjoy doing, watching and teaching MMA? Why don’t they stick to phone tapping and building people up just to cut them down when they fall from grace (I love the press can you not tell).

Watching the two lads grappling you could see the time and effort and great amount of skill in their movements; what does that suggest to you? To me it shows they have trained and learnt the movements, displaying great discipline and dedication, and can show them to other people without hurting each other; how is that a bad thing from the youth of today!

Back in the early 80’s when I started to train I would set up my bag outside, between the house and the shed so that is swung freely but if the bag swung at the same time as my roundhouse came in, if I was not careful, I would kick the edge of the brick shed! I would put my tunes on and do a technique to one full song – you never stop punching when Rocky’s on! This taught me self-discipline and goal setting that has stayed with me to this day. When anyone tells me that my technique is good I tell them I had a miss-spent youth! LOL

In America kids wrestle from a very early age and in Japan Judo is taught in schools. However, over here the kids learn to be a flower and dance around in a very no-contact and very politically correct way! What are we frightened of? Could the kids turn into killing machines with a mean single leg takedown that will result in a gut wrenching arm bar. NO! they will learn how to respect other people and interact with people going through all the ups and downs (no pun intended) of winning and losing rather than the political correct ‘everyone is a winner’ theory that builds children up just to knock them down in later life.

I have taught kids for too many years now in my class. I teach discipline (we have a sin-bin guarded by bob the training dummy). If you are rough in my class – if you hit too hard or talk too much or blatantly ignore me you get 2 minutes in the sin-bin. If you get sin-binned twice in one class you leave my class for that session; if you are sin-binned four times over two weeks you don’t come back to my class. This may seem harsh but I teach my kids not to bully and to defend themselves against bullies so there is no way I will have a bully in my class; either you train with respect for everyone or you leave!

In this day and age (how old am I?) respect can still be taught and maintained through the Martial Arts, including Mixed Martial Arts, as long as it is taught with respect and discipline – fear does not exist in this Dojo. LOL! But you can still let the kids have fun so they will learn better, i.e. when we teach arm bars we give them funny names to help the kids remember them, like backpack arm bar (you are on the back sitting on the floor and you swing your leg over the head and fall to the side to gain an arm bar) the kids learn good technique with good form and in a fun atmosphere with no-one getting hurt; now tell me what is wrong with that?

Until next time

Wax on wax off and have fun and play

John Atkin

To find out more about The Advanced Fighting Centre visit: or e-mail John Atkin at

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