Kids training MMA?

Lisa

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Shaun,

Didn't have a chance to look at the video yet but to answer your question regarding what age. My kids started grappling at 7 and 11 years of age. Both girls love it. One is still training while the other is concentrating on another sport right now. I have seen kids as young as 4 start but the focus was a little different.

If a child has a good quality instructor, safety isn't an issue. It never was with my kids. I think, as with any other MA, if the child is enjoying it and it is being done in a safe environment, four is a good age. Providing also that the child/teacher ratio is low.
 

Andrew Green

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Kids will naturally wrestle. Leave two alone in a room unsupervised, and it's just a matter of time before they are wrestling. It's safe, when done under good supervision, and it's natural. Anyone with a pet has probably had it try to wrestled with you when it was young as well.

Striking is ok too, when they get a little older / more experienced. My personal opinion is that contact sparring with full headgear and face shields, 16 oz gloves, and takedowns is safer then point fighting, where I remember lots of kicks to the face, heads hitting hardwood etc.

There are safety concerns, which should not be overlooked, but that is the same for any style. Kids should not start submissions right away, and they should definately not be taking them to the point of pain until they are well into there teens. But this should be common sense.

Kids Pankration, which you are probably looking at is a mixed feelings thing. But there are rules in there as well. Kids don't get to strike the head, just the body. And AFAIK usually where thicker gloves then standard MMA ones.

So I really don't think it is more dangerous then Football, hockey, Olympic TKD or really any other contact sport. But like other contact sports, it is not for everyone.

Here's a little more on my thoughts on kids (ok, quite a bit more :D ) in MMA:

http://innovativema.ca/forum/view.php?pg=kids

http://innovativema.ca/forum/view.php?pg=kidsinmma

http://innovativema.ca/forum/view.php?pg=getkidsplaying
 

Ybot

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I've seen that video before, and that kid is amazing... but I don't know about competitive MMA for children. Straight grappling? Great. Well supervised stand up sparring? Good too. Even MMA drills I think are good. Just not sure about the full on mixed striking, grappling, in competition. I question it, but am willing to reserve complete judgment until I know more.
 

trueaspirer

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The video was interesting, I think the kid was pretty good, for a kid his age, but a lot of it was his energy.

On the subject of kids training, I started at six, and though I've seen younger I think five is the minimum cutoff age. Most kids that started when they were younger just quit quickly.
Mostly though I think it depends on the individual kid, their maturity and interest, and dedication in general for staying on one track if it means enough to them.
 
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KempoShaun

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Oh, I started training at 3 (family art) and have no problem with kids in the arts, I'm just wondering what people think about kids in MMA training.
 

Andrew Green

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training, absolutely. I'd much rather teach them wrestling, pins, boxing, etc. Fundamental MMA skills, then I would teach them finger strikes, groin kicks, throat attacks, etc. And then have them compete with head kicks being the primary tool.

I think it's much safer, and much more fun :)
 

Carol

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Oh, I started training at 3 (family art) and have no problem with kids in the arts, I'm just wondering what people think about kids in MMA training.

MMA strictly as an art, I wouldn't have an issue with kids in it. What turns me off a bit is the rough attitude associated with some people in the art. Also living in the Boston area and being at ground zero for the sex scandal in the Catholic church...if I had kids, I'd be quite demanding in finding out how my kids were being touched.

Like any other art, I'd like it to be a positive influence, around really good kids as fellow students and around instructors that can be under a microscope and still be scrupulous and competent.
 

Grenadier

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When it comes to kids training in multiple disciplines, I'm all for it. If anything, their minds are young, and quite flexible, and may very well be able to pick up more than one discipline the same way they can pick up a foreign language with ease.

However, in terms of actually placing kids in the ring, and having them go at it all-out, that's a definite no-no. Having them perform hard contact on each other isn't good, especially since they're still developing. There must be more restrictions if children are to compete in such a situation.
 

MJS

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What is your opinion on children in MMA? What age would you allow kids to start such training, and just for fun, here's a little clip for you. The intro is boring, but trust me, it's worth the wait. Not sure if I approve of it or not but this kid could probably whoop me...

http://videos.gabcity.com/Amazing-Drake-Dudley.aspx

I see nothing wrong with giving kids a grappling/MMA background. I'd say that the child should be old enough to understand the idea of whats being taught. I can't see a 4yo being able to do this, so I'd say 7, 8 yrs old would be ok to start.

I'd think it would be best to start off with some very basic fundamentals, such as positioning, understanding the positions, being able to maintain the position, and gradually working up to some basic escapes/submissions. As for the standup portion, again, the basics are key. If they don't have proper footwork, body position, etc., they can know all the strikes in the world, but they're going to be executed poorly.

Start from the bottom and build up! :)

Mike
 

tradrockrat

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what about possible and likely damage to the joints of a developing body?

Any thoughts on this?
 

Andrew Green

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that's got less to do with what you teach, and more to do with how you teach.

Yes, getting kids to take joint locks and work to a forced tap out is a mistake, no good instructor would do that.

So is getting kids to snap punches and kicks to full extension in the air, I think that is more common (If by nothing other then numbers) then instructors doing locks to hard with kids.

But at the end of the day any activity involves risk, especially if it is taught poorly. Ballet, football, TKD, MMA, Track, doesn't matter. All can cause damage if coached poorly.
 

tradrockrat

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that's got less to do with what you teach, and more to do with how you teach.

Yes, getting kids to take joint locks and work to a forced tap out is a mistake, no good instructor would do that.

So is getting kids to snap punches and kicks to full extension in the air, I think that is more common (If by nothing other then numbers) then instructors doing locks to hard with kids.

But at the end of the day any activity involves risk, especially if it is taught poorly. Ballet, football, TKD, MMA, Track, doesn't matter. All can cause damage if coached poorly.
I agree with you 100% percent...sot of. ;)

If joint locks and tap outs (and KO, etc, but lets stick to joints) are how you win a MMA fight, how does an instructor NOT teach it? I actually feel exactly as you do, but isn't the sport aspect of MMA a VERY BIG aspect of it's training? I know for a fact that I would never had played six years of pop warner football if I didn't get to play games and practice full speed - and my knees paid the price. How do you convince a child to study MMA without fighting?

I'm asking in a genuine desire to learn your thoughts. thanks
 

Andrew Green

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Locks can still be taught, it is just a matter of when things are stopped. So if our kids do a armbar, which they only get to do when there is a "ref" it is stopped and over as soon as the arm is straight and the position is correct, they are not allowed to apply pressure.

So we don't wait for a tap, once they are caught it's over, shouldn't have been caught. (Good way for adults to play sometimes too, escape early, not at the last second)

The other thing is that for a good while, submissions aren't even done. We might have them spar under the goal of "If you hold full mount or take the back for a count of 5 you win." Or if you hold a cradle for 5 sec you win. Or even use a modified sport JJ point system.

Submissions are important, but only a small part of the overall package.
 

charyuop

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I don't think the problem is safety or competition. The problem is mentality. At the age of 4 they start pre school, then kindergarden, then school. We all know how kids are generally different at school from what they are at home (some alot some just a lil).
At school a little fight happens often, who has never had a fight with a classmate? But giving that early like 4 years old the knowledge of seriiously hurting another kid is not too much responsability on the kid? Yes, parents and teachers can teach him not to use MA blah blah blah blah...but when it comes down to the real fight? You feel comfortable knowing that your 4-5-6 year old kid in a childish fight at school can procure serious damage to another kid?
 

Andrew Green

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All the more reason to teach them.

And all the more reason to make it MMA, not some traditional self-defence style IMO. 4 & 5 year olds should be learning wrestling skills, takdowns, pins, escapes, etc. And maybe some basic boxing. They most definately should not be learning groin kicks, eye gouges, throat strikes, kicking the knees, etc.

They also should definatetly not be learning about fighting through TV, where people land nothing but what would be crippling blows and no one ever even gets bruised (in G - PG rated fights) or worse, video games or pro-wrestling.

And if they are wrestling every other day in class, taught how to do it, what's safe, whats not and all that. I'd imagine that if it ever was "real" they'd be a lot better equipped to deal with it without getting hurt, as well as hurting the other person. Plus, my experience is that once people learn to fight, and fight in class, they tend to be less likely to get into a "real" one.

Kids will be exposed to fighting in some form or another, Don't you think it would be better that they are exposed in a controlled, safe, and fun environment. Taught how to fight properly, and safely rather then believing it is like tv, movies, WWE and video games?
 
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