>Mixed Martial Arts

>“Mixed Martial Arts.”

That name’s in quotes because I’m not really a fan of it.

There’s nothing artsy about this activity.

I’ve always sat back and observed those who love this crap. Like the ultimate fighting stuff. People actually go out to sports bars to watch these events on big screen tv. On Sundays during football season, too. Some folks pay to watch it on Pay Per View.

Last night, there was some big MMA event in Jacksonville, N.C., something I’m not particularly shocked by since mind-numb activities are right up that city’s ally. It just makes sense that it’d go over well there.

I haven’t really worried about it to this point, though. I see MMA the same way I do NASCAR … I don’t get it, I personally believe it’s boring, etc., etc., etc. But a lot of people love it.

It’s an “agree to disagree” relationship. I accept that and move on, generally.

But now … BUT NOW … I see on ESPN that this American obsession has triggered a significant interest in children. Parents are taking their kids to MMA lessons the way they used to take them to Little League or soccer practice.

I have a problem with this.

Look, you want to be a neanderthal and fall in the blood and guts and sex trap with the shows you watch on television, that’s fine. If that’s what you call entertainment, chances are you don’t like to read books and have no clue about anything that’s happening in the world today. You’re the “drive a truck that gets two miles to the gallon even though you own nothing to tow” type (And you probably complain about the price of gas).

Hell, you can even let your kids watch it and you won’t so much as hear a peep out of me for it. But allowing – even encouraging – children to engage in that kind of behavior? What? I can’t believe it’s even happening.

Adults who have already had their personality shaped and their decision-making tendencies instilled are one thing. I’d like to think that they know the MMA on tv is just a show … that it’s just entertainment. They know, hopefully, that the program does not depict the way to handle anything in real life (though I often wonder if there are those who do not).

Kids, though? They’re just learning all that. It would not be in their best interest to learn MMA is a way to channel aggression. It’s not how you solve problems in life. To think there are parents out there who want to deliver this sort of message, to me, is unacceptable. It breeds a generation of skin-headed servicemen who start fights in bars in New Bern.

It’s obviously dangerous physically. But my main concern should be the psychological impact MMA has on these children. These are habits and problem solving skills that will last a lifetime … and lead to driving a truck that gets two miles to the gallon even though he or she has nothing to tow.

I suspect, too, that a lot of these parents are not encouraging their kids to participate in MMA for the traditional reason of “sport.” MMA is a far cry from Little League or Pop Warner. It doesn’t teach a kid how to work with other people to reach a common goal, very nearly the definition of teamwork. It teaches kids to fight when they’re angry. Fight the person who made you angry. Fight for the sake of fighting.

No parent wants their children to think such malarkey. No way, no how … I do not believe anyone knowingly does this. But many parents want their children to be “bad asses.” Especially fathers who typically drive trucks that get two miles to the gallon even though he has nothing to tow.

MMA, in turn, affords children with the rigid structure of knowing how to be a “bad ass” and beat the shit out of everyone. That way, everyone will think that kid’s dad is a bad ass. Fathers know their sons are a direct reflection of themselves in the eyes of those observing … and that reflection had better be a bad ass, I suspect fathers of MMA students say.

It’s getting sad how society is going. A decade ago, we were worried about there being too much violence on tv. Today, not only are we no longer concerned with the amount of violence on tv, but we encourage our kids to act the same way as those portraying the violence on tv.

Worse yet, is this how you want our future leaders to think?

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