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ESPN’s Look at MMA for Kids

I used to be a huge fan of ESPN’s “Outside the Lines”. Then they started doing it too often and exhausting a lot of the good subject matter. There’s just not as much as you think happening outside those lines. This look at children’s MMA, though, is interesting to say the least. There are some good points raised, but there’s also a lot of selective thinking going on here, like the pediatrician at the 8:30 mark who claims that children don’t naturally fight one another. Either he was never actually a child himself or he didn’t grow up on planet Earth.

Below, Frank Shamrock (MMA’s greatest ambassador, no doubt) debates a basketball coach who’s written a book, and the result is both frustrating and entertaining.

(Props: MMA Scraps)

Cagepotato Comments

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vinny- August 4, 2008 at 2:48 pm
A more balanced report from ABC.
DakotaMan22- August 4, 2008 at 9:50 am
I'm not sure that "Pure" MMA is a good sport for kids to be engaged in, mainly because their skulls aren't hard enough to properly protect their brains from severe impact until about age 12-14, I believe. However, I see no issue with sports like Pancrase, Wrestling, ect. with APPROPRIATE supervision. Let's try not to get our kids killed, but there is no reason they shouldn't experience MMA. Our generation was so pussified by concerns about avoiding even the slightest bit of pain and bruising our precious egos that 90% of the people I deal with on a daily basis are both unbearably pompous and arrogant, while also being totally spineless and completely unwilling to make a stand for anything. I think we might be able to spare the next generation of that by providing a few scrapes to them in the correct context, so they can perhaps learn courage, honor, respect, humility and the principles of defending oneself.
bootybob- August 3, 2008 at 12:25 pm
ok I haven't read all of the further comments because theire simply is to many and they are too long. But I love mma and I believe that it has changed me in the best kind of way. I have grown more conciouse and aware of myself both mentally and physically. However, that being said I would have to believe that the method the shark tank goes about teaching mma and the compeitions that are taking place are completely out of line. To me childrens mma needs to be like amateur boxing, it needs head gear and chest protectors. Perhaps also a limitation on types of takedowns and submissions allowed to be implemented. I think kids today are growing up as a bunch of pussys and mma is a good way to toughen them up but that sort of abuse seems as if it could be detrimental to they're development, especially since most of them have no real sense of anatomy then again parents throw they're kids into football and soccer where the amount of trauma being taken could be worse than anything a child could dish out in an mma match
Luca- July 28, 2008 at 12:45 am
For Kid.... bullshit
DMayeda- July 25, 2008 at 5:29 pm
Took me a while to put this together, but the MMA fighters I interviewed overwhelmingly thought it was not right for kids even at the high school level to be learning MMA, let alone competiting in it. Anyhow, you can see quotes from guys like Hendo, "Mayhem," Quach, "Rampage," and so on.
sj- July 24, 2008 at 10:07 am
I felt hardcore when i began training muay thai at the age of 16 and started sparring really early with no headgear and 12 oz gloves, but thats like nothing compared to this shit.

I really didnt like the "shark" trainer, a martial arts trainer should motivate you to practice and get better, not go around intimidating u and make you do things you're probably not ready to do in that age.
gvd- July 24, 2008 at 8:10 am
Damn. Watching 6 year olds fight each other looks just a little wrong...
FILMDRUNK- July 23, 2008 at 6:49 pm
I like Frank, but this is like watching Lost, when you can think of 100 things for the character to say in their defense and they don't say any of it and you just wanna stab someone.
wow- July 23, 2008 at 3:49 pm
biased much? espn did a one sided piece on mma because they feel threatened by the number of sports fans drawn away from their traditional and 'wholesome' sports to watch mma on spike or ppv. what could be more villifying to mma than to show kids railing on each other and have phd's talk about how damaging it is? classy, espn.
Armbreaker- July 23, 2008 at 3:45 pm
Dr. Stricker from the first video appears to be a homosexual. Parents do not need homos telling them how to raise their children.
Anonymous- July 23, 2008 at 12:42 pm
The gym I train at has kid MMA classes-but they are way safer than then this. I can't even believe this gym gets away with this, I have two kids and this was kinda stomach turning. The kid MMA training I've seen was mostly grappling and wrestling with the trainer watching carefully and being encourageing. I think it would be crazy for adults to be sparring that heavy even for pros.
Anonymous- July 23, 2008 at 11:46 am
that asian girl was hot, don't attack me cuz u think im a pedo, im only 15
Nick- July 23, 2008 at 11:43 am
That basketball coach is a moron, but I think weve all pointed that out already, I just want to point out that he cuts frank off almost every time, then he has the nerve to tell frank to let him finish as if frank was being the rude one by cutting him off, MMA for younger kids I think should have more padding and better organized events with good safety rules and all that but once they are 13-14 i think its ok to start them into full contact competition and training
Anonymous- July 23, 2008 at 11:07 am
If you wanna talk safety how bout boxing, oh yeah, no long term injuries there!

What about basketball? That really teaches our kids a good lesson. That money is more important than education when they get offered that deal to play for the NBA out of highschool.
Anonymous- July 23, 2008 at 11:04 am
Oh wow. he wrote a many morons out there these days write books that shouldnt?
Anonymous- July 23, 2008 at 11:03 am
How does a basketball coach have the knowledge to say what doctors will say about emotional scarring? He is NOT a doctor and those were just his opinions that it will harm the social aspect of a childs life. It's not fact.
Stromwell- July 23, 2008 at 6:09 am
Most pre-pubescent children don't have the mental capacity to understand exactly what the immediate and long term condequences of what they are doing.

It is one thing to for your team to get the most points in a certain time frame (ie football, baseball, sparring, hockey) and another to make the other team "submit" to you or literally "beat" them.

It's just like algebra. Some children are ready for it at a younger age, some understand it later, and some will never grasp it.
Anonymous- July 23, 2008 at 5:51 am
Krav Maga sucks, come on man! Do you really need some crotchety old jewish dude telling you how to knee someone in the nuts? Then again, at least it's not BJJ which should be shut the fuck up about.

I agree with the overall sentiment I've read so far in that there should be better protection (headgear and maybe rib guards) but on that note I want to say that watching those kids fight is something else, alot of them looked like they were technically better than a lot of ufc fighters are (not that that's some big accomplishment). There's always chance your kid could get attacked by roving gangs of feral blacks on the way to school, so I think it's important for them to be prepared for anything (especially feral blacks).

Also....mmmm...14 year old asian girl.
bige- July 23, 2008 at 3:06 am
maybe they should of got a different represenative for the sport to be in this debate.
dandaman- July 23, 2008 at 2:44 am
I dont really care about how old you are when you start this stuff, 6 years old is fine, whatever, but it needs to be safe. im guessing espn picked a really shitty gym...the kids weren't wearing any headgear. I take krav maga, im 19, most of the people in the sparring class are in mid 20s' and they have head gear on...

#1 califlower really want your 6 year old kid having that?
#2 that shits unsafe
#3 common sense...jesus christ

I think the MMA instructor is right in a sense though that it keeps kids from playing video games and drinking "sugar pop"...he's still a douche though
John Dvorak- July 23, 2008 at 2:35 am
MMA is a collection of martial arts, not A martial arts.
I hate this pick and choose and call it a martial art BS that do it yourselfers are pushing.

>well, it does look violent. i was under the assumtion that sparring, espically with children that >age should at least have headgear. or some bigger gloves.

Yeah but it teaches them to be tough is probably the response the 'coach' will give you.

My neighbor is a boxing instructor with national qualifications and my wife has been teaching judo to mainly kids for the past 12 years. Needless to say, they had the same reaction.
Our kids all knew how to do juji-gatame armbars when they were three but it was a looong time until they were allowed to practice it.

Experience, self-control and self-awareness come with time.
And McDojo comes to the rescue for those that dont want build a foundation.

I dont mind when a grappler/striker wants to learn a few BJJ moves to complement his repertoire but doing that with kids is idiotic.
But Ive seen a lot of different martial arts dojos hand out belts like Pez candy, everyone wants everything now.

I must say Im a bit surprised at the quality and depth of the responses so far.
You dont have to be an MMA fan and be a total dipshit...
who knew?
Maud- July 23, 2008 at 1:58 am
The sport of MMA is a cash cow, and so is the sport of trying to deter it. This quack is just trying to make a name for himself.
Plain old Kevin- July 23, 2008 at 1:32 am
Dang! Some of you people, that's right I said you people, have a lot to say. The kids should have some gear on. I saw the trainers teaching the moves and how to do them, but I did not see any instructions on restraint and when to use the moves. I would incorporate discipline and more knowledge in an MMA school if I was a BB in MMA and not just a BB in TKD.
natureboy- July 23, 2008 at 12:53 am
Too bad they couldn't get Joe Rogan, Big John McCarthy or Randy Couture for this piece. I love Shamrock but he's a total heel and starting to laugh at the other dude didn't help the cause.
zunk1- July 22, 2008 at 11:20 pm
sparring with no headgear and 8oz gloves at any age is dumb unless your are experienced and have control. that sharktank dude comes across as an agro moron. making kids spar at their second class, it's one thing to promote getting to a competitive level instead of being a gym for "pad princess' " but another to try and build 4 year old brawlers.