Tag Archives: child psychology

Combating the MMA Controversy

Mixed Martial Arts has been gaining popularity over the last decade, even with children. With prominent figures like Rhonda Rousey, Manny Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather and many others involved, it is no surprise that MMA would eventually appeal to kids.

But many parents are on the fence about placing their kids in MMA, because of the perception that this sport causes a lot of serious injuries through direct physical contact.

Studies published in The American Journal of Sports Medicine and the North American Journal of Sports Physical Therapy report that MMA poses greater risks for injury than other combat sports, especially among professionals.

But, according to some UFC advocates, MMA does not incorporate violence into classes for kids, and may actually be an outlet for some children to channel their aggression in healthy ways.

“There’s a misconception that parents think throwing kids into martial arts is actually going to make them more aggressive, and [the] kids are going to become bullies,” said Turbo, a UFC fighter and coach. “In reality, it’s the complete opposite. They now have a structure where they can kind of channel their energy.”

Many parents are signing their kids up, despite the controversy, because the training and exercise seems to increase their kids’ confidence and motivation, in school as well as in other areas of life. In 2012, ESPN reported nearly 5.5 million teenagers and another 3.2 million kids under 13 participating in MMA training.

“[My daughter] became very confident, very outgoing,” said UFC coach and mother Aja Starr, “and being able to do one workout gave her the confidence that she could to do the next workout…[Kids] make the connection between being a good athlete and being a good student, and being a good person.”

“There’s a lot of children throughout the world who could benefit from this, and could also increase their self-esteem and their grades, and actually their relationship with their parents,” said CSUN Psychology Professor Herman Rodriguez.

“I think it’s just a misconception that parents think that they’re basically ushering their kids into this very violent arena, when in fact it’s like any sport,” Starr said. “It’s no different than karate or taekwondo or soccer, for that matter. I think what people miss is that there’s a sport, there’s a real discipline to it, and there’s a real path that their kids are on that doesn’t necessarily have to lead to aggression.”

Moderator: Caitlin Pieh

Anchor: Ala Errebhi

Producer: Halie Cook

Social Media Editor: Nicholas Seaman

Reporters: Noemi Barrajas, Halie Cook, Juaneeq Elliott, Ala Errebhi, Jamie Perez and Nicholas Seaman

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