Drake, a 14 year old "MMA prodigy"... pushing children

mrhnau

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I recently read this article on ESPN.

MMA prodigy boasts lifetime of experience -- at age 14

I thought it was rather interesting. This child had been fighting since age 7. What surprised me was the number of fights this kid has had! Dad even pulled him out of public school so he could train. The kid is pushing 500 fights. I don't know many adults who can say that!

How much is too much for children? I know parents can push children fairly hard, but is there a practical limit? Is this too much, or should more parents engage in lifestyles such as this?
 

terryl965

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That is a bit much, I guess the father is looking for a big payday. I would be better if the father was out there getting hit day in and day out.
 

Kacey

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I agree with Terry. It looks like Dad's motivation was to turn Drake into something he wasn't - he started, the article said, because he saw his son getting quieter and shyer - and continued to the point that they took him out of school, which he apparently didn't like. If it's something Drake wants - more power to him... but if it's something Dad wants, that Drake is only going along with because Dad wants it, then Dad needs to find a new hobby.

People who push their children into being prodigies (which is what this looks like to me) are often living through their children - and they are horribly upset when their kids decide that being a prodigy isn't what they want, and go a totally different direction. Dad could make this kid great - and he could drive him away just as easily.
 

Steve

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Drake's an interesting story. Truly, he is a prodigy. The kid also shoots below par golf.

As a dad, I'm always a little leery of pushing kids this hard in any sport.
 

MA-Caver

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I agree with Terry. It looks like Dad's motivation was to turn Drake into something he wasn't - he started, the article said, because he saw his son getting quieter and shyer - and continued to the point that they took him out of school, which he apparently didn't like. If it's something Drake wants - more power to him... but if it's something Dad wants, that Drake is only going along with because Dad wants it, then Dad needs to find a new hobby.

People who push their children into being prodigies (which is what this looks like to me) are often living through their children - and they are horribly upset when their kids decide that being a prodigy isn't what they want, and go a totally different direction. Dad could make this kid great - and he could drive him away just as easily.
I agree here as my Dad did the same with me. Kept pushing me (hard) until I got into College and then I just pppffft it all off because I was away from his influence and pressure. I wish I hadn't of course now but I feel that if he had just let me go at the pace I was comfortable with I'd probably be holding a second doctorates by now. Right now I'm running on ice to catch up.
Kids love to be encouraged but not pushed. I get angry when I see a parent do this. It's like what Kacey said, it's not making up for what the kid lacks, but what the parent lacks. Kids shouldn't have to pay for parents personal mistakes in their own lives.
It's okay to give them a push in the right direction but know when to back off and give the kid time to breathe and assimilate what they've learned so far, sort of time to chew the jerky as it were. Also to let the kid be a kid.
To me a prodigy is one who does something naturally and with little teaching or prompting. Mozart is a great example.
 

Steve

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To me a prodigy is one who does something naturally and with little teaching or prompting. Mozart is a great example.
I'm not sure we know whether Mozart was pushed, but I'm sure he didn't spontaneously write operas at a young age without some significant amount of encouragement. :)
 

MA-Caver

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I'm not sure we know whether Mozart was pushed, but I'm sure he didn't spontaneously write operas at a young age without some significant amount of encouragement. :)
From Wiki :wink2:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolfgang_Amadeus_Mozart
Mozart's father Leopold Mozart (17191787) was deputy Kapellmeister to the court orchestra of the Archbishop of Salzburg and a minor composer. He was also an experienced teacher; in the year of Mozart's birth he published a successful violin textbook, Versuch einer gr羹ndlichen Violinschule.
When Nannerl was seven, Leopold began giving her keyboard lessons. The three-year old Mozart looked on, evidently with fascination: his sister later recorded that at this age "he often spent much time at the clavier [keyboard], picking out thirds, [...] and his pleasure showed it sounded good [to him]."[3] Nannerl continued: "in the fourth year of his age his father, for a game as it were, began to teach him a few minuets and pieces at the clavier. [...] he could play it faultlessly and with the greatest delicacy, and keeping exactly in time. [...] At the age of five he was already composing little pieces, which he played to his father who wrote them down."[3] Among them were the Andante (K. 1a) and Allegro in C (K. 1b).
Biographer Maynard Solomon[4] notes that while Leopold was a very devoted teacher to his children, there is evidence that Wolfgang was motivated to make progress even beyond what his father was teaching him. His first independent (and ink-spattered) composition, and his initial ability to play the violin, were both his own doing and were a great surprise to Leopold. The father and son seem to have been close; both of the precocious episodes just mentioned brought tears to Leopold's eyes.[5]
Leopold eventually gave up composing when his son's outstanding musical talents became evident.[6] He was Wolfgang's only teacher in his earliest years. He taught his children languages and academic subjects as well as music.[4]
It's why I chose Mozart as an example... it all came naturally to him. Just a little teaching and let him go. And GO he went! :asian:
 

girlbug2

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I will give the dad some credit, he does seem to be trying to put balance in his son's life.

There's always a hidden story to these things however. I wonder with all the time dad devotes to his prodigy, do his wife and daughter get left out a lot? Mom wasn't interviewed.What about all the money he's spending on the son, is his daughter going to get the same kind of financial backing for whatever she will be doing?

It's really only balanced if their home life with the rest of the family, and the marriage, are healthy.
 

Kacey

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I will give the dad some credit, he does seem to be trying to put balance in his son's life.

There's always a hidden story to these things however. I wonder with all the time dad devotes to his prodigy, do his wife and daughter get left out a lot? Mom wasn't interviewed.What about all the money he's spending on the son, is his daughter going to get the same kind of financial backing for whatever she will be doing?

It's really only balanced if their home life with the rest of the family, and the marriage, are healthy.
Your last line is, I think, the key - balance throughout your life.
 

stickarts

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I agree with the majority of previous posts. My view is to have my children learn good solid fundamentals of whatever activity they are doing and to have fun. I will help to nurture wherever their aptitudes and interests take them. But I want them to have time to be kids.
 

tshadowchaser

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I am not for pushing a child to fight like that. I think dad has motivations beyond those that benefit his son. So what happens when the child develops a brain injury before he is 20?
Encouraging a son or daughter in any endeavor is good, but pushing them to the point that has been done here is wrong.
i wonder what type of child hood interrelations the young man has with others of his age. Is he living what would be called a normal social life? How has his mind been influenced by all this training and fighting.
 

FearlessFreep

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i wonder what type of child hood interrelations the young man has with others of his age. Is he living what would be called a normal social life? How has his mind been influenced by all this training and fighting.

I worry about his joints/bone/muscle development of serious training at that stage in his physical development
 

jkembry

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I worry about his joints/bone/muscle development of serious training at that stage in his physical development

Excellent point....letting that growth happen naturally without injury is more important that being good at the sport. If indeed he is a prodigy, I believe he can stay trainied and pick up the MMA later in life.
 

bowser666

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I think that this is wrong. To be pulling the kid from school so that he can produce a fighter is wrong. Let the kid grow up normal!! There is nothign wrong with him training but it should be a extra curricular activity liek football, or soccer. Not his everyday existence.
 

FearlessFreep

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There was a post a few weeks back about a 'prodigy' in Tae Kwon Do and a lot of commentary was basically that you couldn't tell at that point if they would really turn out that great or just at that point in their processes they were better and more developed than their peers.

Same thing here. Yeah, start a kid at seven and train him every day and he's going to eat up his peers and start looking like a 'prodigy' just because that's all you have him doing with his life.

To a certain degree you could do the same thing with Little League or ice-skating as well.

What happens when his natural body develops and you find out who he is as a person, physically, and he faces peers with more natural talent or at a better part on the growth curve or as he gets holder runs into people who train harder or better?

At 14 all I think you can really say his he has no other life other than this, but having a little affinity and being force into this position doesn't make a prodigy, or even mean he's going to be any good when he reaches his twenties...
 

JadecloudAlchemist

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This story reminds me of White Fang.

500 fights is an awfully lot of fights.

I wonder when he fights if he is fighting the opponent or a reflection of his father in the ring.
 

ChadB

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I'm always torn when I hear stories like this. My gut tells me this is wrong but then another part says, by who's standard? Maybe for most of us this seems ridiculous and this kid is probably going to be severly hampered in other aspects of his life.

But maybe mediocrity isn't something the kids' dad wants for himself or his family? I'll admit, I'm playing the devil's advocate a bit.

Can anyone admit that maybe we're just a little jealous? That this kid has more training and experience under his belt than most grown adults. Maybe the jealous bug jumps out and we start critisizing his dad and talking about how he'll be messed up socially etc. because we know with the head start this kid has I'll never achieve what he can?

That being said, I just care that the kid is doing what he wants to do, not what papi tells him. And I'm sure that daddy is living heavily vicariously through his little prodigy, I'm just stirring the pot a little.
 

chinto

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I recently read this article on ESPN.

MMA prodigy boasts lifetime of experience -- at age 14

I thought it was rather interesting. This child had been fighting since age 7. What surprised me was the number of fights this kid has had! Dad even pulled him out of public school so he could train. The kid is pushing 500 fights. I don't know many adults who can say that!

How much is too much for children? I know parents can push children fairly hard, but is there a practical limit? Is this too much, or should more parents engage in lifestyles such as this?


I find the idea of young children and in fact any one under 18 in a prize fight such as MMA/UFC/Cage Fighting to be unwise to say the least! I am an Ex-EMT and the growth plates and other structures that will be damaged over time, and perhaps even in the first match to be an unexceptable risk and the perminant injurys to joints and other structures to be unexceptible as well

In short I think that any parent like this one should be considered for prosicution for child endangerment. at 18 he can do as he wishes but i do not want to have to pay for him to be on disibility for arthritous and and other physical disiblilitys coused by the abuse to joints and other structures by these activitys his body is not ready to handle yet
 
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