Brett Ramsey has served as a full-time political science instructor at Austin Peay, Democratic candidate for TN state representative, and owner/agent of an insurance agency. He currently serves as an adjunct political science instructor and owner/instructor of a new venture he created called "College Preparedness Program. More information can be found at www.collegepreparednessprogram.com.
Children and Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) Fighting
by Brett Ramsey,posted Mar 15 2013 2:27PM
I want to talk to you today about a fighting phenomenon that has been sweeping the country for the past 10 years or so and continues to grow in popularity every day, Mixed Martial Arts (MMA).
As the name implies, this sport involves men or women fighting each other using a wide variety of martial arts, wrestling, and boxing techniques. I am not personally a fan, so I don't know too much about it, though it appears most matches involve two men or two women of similar weights fighting each other for a certain number of timed rounds inside a locked, octagon-shaped cage, and the match continues until one of the fighters submits (taps out), is knocked out (similar to boxing), or time expires.
Extreme violence in this sport is obvious, even to its biggest supporters. That's its biggest draw, quite honestly. Going back to Roman days, we know that people like to watch other people fight. This will never change. That's a somewhat disappointing facet of humanity, but it's just who we are. MMA itself is not really what this article is about, though. I don't actually have a problem with two consenting adults deciding to fight each other. It's their right to do so, and people have the right to pay to watch them. What concerns me is an article I read recently about MMA camps and tournaments for children, with kids as young as 6 years old participating in the organized pummeling of their peers.
I have a real problem with this and actually think the parents should be arrested for child abuse. What possible reason could there be to teach and encourage children under the age of 18 to punch, kick, and choke each other until they make the other one cry or give up. And this is coming from someone who actually took organized Taekwondo classes, along with my brother, from around 9-13 years of age. There was even sparring involved in those classes, though there was very light actual contact, but we wore thick pads on our hands and feet whenever fighting occurred, and everything was closely monitored.
There's also a big difference to me between MMA and typical martial arts training in that martial arts are taught based on the premise of self defense. Aggression is not allowed, and the purpose of learning is to be able to defend yourself should the need ever arise. I'm sure the MMA parents would use the self defense argument as well, but you cannot ignore the aggression shown and encouraged in those matches, and it's evident on many of the parents' faces as well. Whereas a typical Judo or Karate tournament involves the promotion of self control and precise hits to earn points, MMA fights garner huge crowds of people yelling to simply hit each other or get them in a hold that involves physically trying to break the opponent's arm, leg, or neck in order to get them to submit. Even as I write this, I simply cannot believe this is a legally sanctioned sport that involves thousands of kids across the country competing in weekly tournaments.
If you agree with me, I hope you'll take action to try to get MMA fighting banned for children under 18. If parents don't have enough sense to not let their children do this, then our government should step in and make it illegal. It's one thing if they want to train and practice their techniques, but we should not condone and encourage these kids to beat each other senseless. Our society should be more evolved, and we should put a stop to this at once.
The following is a video of a 6-year-old girl in an MMA match:
Brett, there are a couple major flaws in your opinion. The first I would like to discuss is the notion that martial arts does not allow aggression. That is completely false, and your own example demonstrates it. If there were no aggression allowed, then how could there be any tournaments? Someone has to initiate the spar, and that requires aggression. Martial arts teaches to control one's self and respect others. Aggression is a necessary part of that, not something to omit. The second problem is that you admittedly don't know much about MMA, yet are so very against it. We may disagree on several things, Brett, but I thought you were better than that. There are many schools here in town, please go check it out and inform yourself with more than youtube videos or a tv show before you publicly blast an entire sport. The last point is my biggest problem with those on your side of the political spectrum. It is not enough for you to simply disagree, to refrain from participation, or to keep your children from participating; you have deemed it bad, desire to prevent any other parent from deciding what they think is good for their kids and you want criminal law to enforce your (admittedly uninformed) opinion. Brett, you're an educated man and I'm sure you can see the problem with that. While your intentions are good, you went off without performing your due diligence, and I would appreciate if you would refrain from attempting to criminalize an action just because you decide you disagree with it.