For years I’ve been trying to teach my children what I thought was proper conflict resolution. You know, things like communication and counting to ten. Turns out there’s a better way. A more violent way. Kids MMA, aka kids Mixed Martial Arts. Which seems perfect if you’re looking for a way to get rid of those pesky baby teeth. For emotional development? Not so much.
Kids MMA is an incredibly rough, full-contact form of fighting that can be disturbing to anyone who values not watching kids get beat up for fun. The protective equipment used is often sparse; no headgear, only gloves that are made to be thinner than boxing gloves. Referees of kids MMA oversee elementary school aged children who score points by pummeling the ever living bejeebus out of each other.
Apparently this offshoot of the more well-known adult version of the sport is increasing in popularity. More than three million kids currently participate, making it the fastest growing sport in the US. As with literally everything kid or parenting related, the sport is extremely controversial. Critics say that kids MMA is just another weapon in America’s war on safety. Supporters, on the other hand, laud its ability to encourage exercise, discipline and confidence.
Confidence and discipline are great, but isn’t that what peewee football and karate are for? Kids MMA reminds me less of a fun, competitive sport and more of the “Future Anger Management Participants of America.” I don’t know about you, but I would prefer my kids not get daily dose of exercise and self-esteem building by kicking some other kid in the face ten times. I’m kind of a stickler like that.