T Nation

Too Young/Old for MMA?

Some fan/parent out there has to have a good rule of thumb for this.

At some point infants and/or toddlers become intelligent enough to recognize what’s happening on TV. At which point parents should probably watch fights after bedtime. At some point a little further on down the line it obviously becomes an asset to share a pasttime with offspring.

I’m probably being a bit on the liberal side but, I think most bouts are okay for most kids of all ages. Not to say that kids should be duct taped to the TV with nothing but Pride on 24/7 but that catching the last round of the bout with the kid on your lap probably isn’t warping them. It’s just the occasional Josh Haynes v. Rory Singer type of bloodbath that makes me think there needs to be a line somewhere.

I’m curious as to if/where people generally draw these lines?

All I know is when I was about 10 years old, my older cousin and I would rent the first UFC videos and be hype for hours! I specifically remember seeing Royce Gracie fight and asking my cousin how the fuck did he stay on his back for 30 minutes and WIN. Then we’d spend the next 3-4 hours wrestling and trying to figure out an arm bar.

Oh, my bad, what was the question again?

I’m not a parent, but I believe #1 it really is up to the parent.

aside from that, my opinion, and how I’d raise my children, is letting them know (or at least relize for themselves)that A) violence, and B) sex is a part of life, people love both, its everywhere, violence more than sex in American media. If a child has trouble seeing fiction from reality, or rather more on topic, a sporting event from playing with his friinds, thats when more of a line needs to be drawn or a seriouse discussion needs to happen if the child seems like they are at risk for hurting a friend or classmate.

Personally I’v always loved combat sports or all types, It drove me to pursue formal martial arts training, I didn’t become a hooligan or killer, I became the cliched, focused martial arts student who is a better person today for their training.

Kids are going to see alot more brutal things in real life than they will ever see on TV.

My brother is about eleven years younger than me… I turn off anything sexual when he’s around… but the violent stuff I leave on. He’ll figure out sex eventually on his own, but I want him to be conscious of the fact that the world is not such a nice place. The sooner he learns it, the better.

I’m also of the opinion that all kids should be taught karate or boxing, though, so what do I know.

I think watching mma is fine for kids. Over here families go watch shows live. In the end it is the parent’s responsibility to teach their children right and wrong.

I just don’t get it.

What are you trying to shield your kid from? The reality of the world?

I completely and utterly disagree with the extents most families go to just to put blinders on for their kids.

Expose them to these ‘past-times’. Let 'em watch, and explain it’s wrong to beat somebody up like that in the real world. When they trip and try to act it out, explain again and punish them so they’ll learn.

Educate them rather then shielding them. They’ll get a great headstart and be far more mature about life when they grow up - instead of feeling inadequate because they’re not supposed to ‘watch or do this and that’.

[quote]otoko wrote:
I think watching mma is fine for kids. Over here families go watch shows live. In the end it is the parent’s responsibility to teach their children right and wrong. [/quote]

exactly.

It’s not what a child sees, it’s how they perceive it. If they perceive MMA as a sport and not as something to do with their friends or to kids at school then it should be fine. It’s all up to the parents to help the child perceive things in a constructive way.

Unfortunately most parents have no idea that “parenting” your child is part of being a parent.

-chris

It is a violent sport, but it still is a sport. Violence is a reality and it is better to educate them about it than hide it from them.
It is helpful though when fighter’s like Mach Sakurai and Ishida say things like “we are professional fighters and do not fight in the street. And it is wrong for us to do so because we are pros.”

My boys watched me train from the playpen. I’ve shown them a few fights, nothing bloody or graphic but enough so that they know what it looks like for real when they practice on my pads… Neither one is anywhere near as aggressive as some in their age groups.

You give them enough understanding of discipline, work ethic, etc. and make sure they REALLY know to only use it when it is necessary. I also tell them the truth about junk food and exercise and health too, so they have the advantages that I never did growing up.

I always cringe when parents say “why shield your kids from reality?”. That is weak. You can really mess someone up long-term by exposing them to something they are not ready for, no matter how well a parent explains it.

The best answer is it depends on the kid, and the parent SHOULD know when the time is right. MMA is brutal. But then so is boxing. I let my 9 y/o son watch his first MMA fight over Christmas last year. It was a PPV event. He loved it. He was ready and understood that it is a controlled sport. I’m trying to actually get him involved in MMA training as a form of self defense. Now, I wouldn’t let him watch some street fight on youtube or the old “Faces of Death” movies.

I really don’t understand why parents are in such a hurry to make their kids grow up. Parents DO need to shield them from life’s cruelty/unfairness until they are ready. Many parents seem to not care and use the old “they will see/do this eventually anyway” or “I don’t want to overprotect my kid” excuse. To me, that’s just lazy parenting.

I think some people are misunderstanding me slightly. I 100% agree that it is the parents responsibility for what the kids are allowed to watch and how they interpret it.

For reference, I grew up in a relatively “unsheltered” environment:

-TV kids played “cops and robbers” or “cowboys and indians”, my brother and I played “VC Ambush”.

-I could shoot a gun and drive a car before I was legally able to do either one.

-Since the age of 8 I have broken 11 bones, never any of my own and all without malicious intent.

-I have been hit by a go-kart.

-Oh yeah, we rode bikes without helmets too.

and to my knowledge, I’ve turned out normal.

That said, there has to be a balance struck somewhere. Yes, they should definitely grow up and learn about the real world, but they also need to socialize and play creatively like kids.

Yes, they can learn lessons about discipline, good sportsmanship, fitness, self-defense… but you don’t generally teach calculus to third graders and I’m of the mind that a four-year-old watching blood run out of Edwin Dewees’ head like a leaky faucet or watching Tim Silvia’s arm snap is needlessly exposing them to stuff they can neither understand nor use. I’m not trying to “shield” anyone, just trying to ascertain when it would be better for a child to go play rather than watch someone get choked into unconsciousness.

Thanks for the input.

[quote]otoko wrote:
I think watching mma is fine for kids. Over here families go watch shows live. In the end it is the parent’s responsibility to teach their children right and wrong. [/quote]

Do you notice a voluntary age cutoff? I would assume it would be a waste of money and effort to take a four or five-year-old to see a fight live.

[quote]lucasa wrote:
I think some people are misunderstanding me slightly. I 100% agree that it is the parents responsibility for what the kids are allowed to watch and how they interpret it.

For reference, I grew up in a relatively “unsheltered” environment:

-TV kids played “cops and robbers” or “cowboys and indians”, my brother and I played “VC Ambush”.

-I could shoot a gun and drive a car before I was legally able to do either one.

-Since the age of 8 I have broken 11 bones, never any of my own and all without malicious intent.

-I have been hit by a go-kart.

-Oh yeah, we rode bikes without helmets too.

and to my knowledge, I’ve turned out normal.

That said, there has to be a balance struck somewhere. Yes, they should definitely grow up and learn about the real world, but they also need to socialize and play creatively like kids.

Yes, they can learn lessons about discipline, good sportsmanship, fitness, self-defense… but you don’t generally teach calculus to third graders and I’m of the mind that a four-year-old watching blood run out of Edwin Dewees’ head like a leaky faucet or watching Tim Silvia’s arm snap is needlessly exposing them to stuff they can neither understand nor use. I’m not trying to “shield” anyone, just trying to ascertain when it would be better for a child to go play rather than watch someone get choked into unconsciousness.

Thanks for the input.[/quote]

I think if the kid starts showing a genuine interest in the sport that might be a good time. I was watching some UFC fights on youtube and my son walked up behind me and said “watcha’ watchin’?”. I told him it was MMA. He sat there and watched and was totally focused on the fight. When it was over he asked to watch another.

I made sure the fights weren’t ones where guys REALLY got hurt. However the PPV event over Christmas he watched was the one where Forrest Griffen got his head pounded in. That one looked pretty bad. My parents were watching it with us and were totally offended (their first MMA fight).

[quote]lucasa wrote:
otoko wrote:
I think watching mma is fine for kids. Over here families go watch shows live. In the end it is the parent’s responsibility to teach their children right and wrong.

Do you notice a voluntary age cutoff? I would assume it would be a waste of money and effort to take a four or five-year-old to see a fight live.[/quote]

I would say about 5 years old. That is also about the cut-off I see for kids doing submission wrestling, bjj and similar sports.