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Should I Let My Kids Practice MMA?

by Kaden Smith

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If your answer to that is in the affirmative, then you are about to stir the hornet’s nest.

But you are not alone. According to SmartMMA, boxing and Mixed Martial Arts can bring great benefits to your children.

A lot of parents these days are of the opinion that kids should be allowed to practice MMA, at the risk of being called incompetent and even crazy.

Practice, not fight, mind you.

The two are poles apart.

Although the two are poles apart, it seems like lopsided policymakers and public figures like Sam Caplan are not willing to hear this side of the argument.


How Risky is MMA for Kids?

kids wrestling

Photo source: Oakland Judo

In this article, the former UFC commentator tears down anybody who supports Youth MMA. His grumble stems from the combat rules (or the lack of it) in the sport. At the forefront being the repeated blows that a fighter often receives to the head.

Well, we can attest to that. Repeated blows to the head is bad news. There’s enough data on that courtesy of  NFL concussion studies. To add to that, the repeated heavy blows in the case of children can be even more harmful, since they are still growing.

However, a lot has changed in the world of Youth MMA in the past decade since that article was written.

Kids participating in Youth MMA tournaments are not allowed to make head blows anymore. They can’t go for the knock out either. That’s in addition to the new safety gear that they wear. 

This makes it appear like a tepid shadow of the adult version of the sport, which is often criticized for being one of the most violent forms of martial arts ever.

So, does this make Mixed Martial Arts safer for your children?

The Benefits of Practicing MMA

the hero within kids mma poster

CageHero ad for their kids campaign, photo taken from MMAPayout.com

Sam Mendoza organizes United States Fight League MMA tournaments.

But what’s alarming to some is that both his kids, Corey aged 15 and Sammy, aged 11 have taken to MMA fighting and hope to go the professional route once they are at least 18 years of age.

They still fight in kiddie tournaments mind you. The older one spars only with kids his age whereas the younger child is allowed to spar with both, boys and girls younger than him.

Both kids show excellent reflexes in the ring.

The older one called Corey says that he took to the sport after he was repeatedly bullied as a child.

That’s one of the innate benefits of martial arts. Self-defense is crucial in today's time and children gain the confidence to stand up to bullies when they are trained in MMA.

But that’s not all.

Better Physical Fitness

children martial arts group

Photo source: Focus MMA Fitness.

Children in today’s age are experiencing a couch-surfing epidemic courtesy of gadgets that they don’t actually need in their lives. Any activity that gets them off the couch is potentially beneficial for them. When it comes to a physically demanding sport like MMA, the punching drills and punching bag workouts alone are enough to boost physical fitness and agility in a child. 

To give you some perspective, 50% of the children aged between 5 to 8 in the United States have high blood cholesterol. That is motivating enough for you to enroll your kid into an Mixed Martial Arts class or at least some type of physically demanding type of activity.  


Discipline is the bedrock of any form of martial art. When ingrained in a child at an early age, the ability to discipline their bodies and minds can extend to their academic performance. Think of it like an early lesson in self-discipline, something that most adults lack at.

MMA drills and controlled, non-violent interactive sessions encourage kids to face challenges that teach them the importance of adherence to rules. Time management is taught early, which again can help the child immensely when they carry it to adulthood.

Social Skills 

Most MMA classes these days promote and encourage compassion. Kids are taught to find non-violent, harmonious resolutions to resolve conflicts. This helps them work with other children, often as a team and it also teaches the importance of not resorting to violence to solve trivial problems that can be sorted in a civilized fashion.

Children learn how to cooperate with other children, they learn the importance of teamwork and all this doubles up as an opportunity to socialize with kids of different ages, socio-economic backgrounds and ethnicities. This is one of the healthiest forms of social development that we’ve ever seen. Not to mention that kids love it.

Boosts Confidence

mma kid with boxing gloves

Photo source: Drako Sports

Statistics reveal that 3.2 million students are bullied each year. Repeated bullying has such a detrimental effect on the child, that they might even contemplate dropping out of school. MMA or any other martial art, like Jiu Jitsu or Karate, empowers them with the skills they need to defend themselves. No, this isn’t Karate Kid. It’s just a sad fact that most parents refuse to acknowledge, with a seemingly simple solution.

It Teaches Respect

MMA classes require students to address their coaches as ‘Sir or Mam’ and to treat them with utmost respect. This non-negotiable rule of showing respect towards their coach helps build humility, politeness and humbleness in children.

Also, it practices equality. Be it young or old, children are treated equally with the same respect, which they must give to others to earn it back. There’s encouragement for a drill completed on time or a level surpassed. Positive reinforcement is one of the keys.

Final Thoughts: Should You Let Your Children Practice Mixed Martial Arts?

kids locked in mma fighting pose

Photo source: GQ.

So, do the perks outweigh the negatives? Or should you, like the rest of the narrow minded deriders steer clear of Mixed Martial Arts classes for your kids?

We aren’t a competent authority to comment on that. But we do have to agree with SmartMMA in saying that we would much rather have our kids practicing self-defense skills rather than playing video games or on the cell phone.

As you can see there are a lot of great things going on in Mixed Martial Arts that that can benefit your children. Personally, I know that I would rather have my kids landing punches, and practicing Mixed Martial Arts on a youth punching bag rather holding a cell phone or playing video games. But hey, that's just me!

As your child grows into adulthood, they will experience pain in one way or the other. If an MMA class prepares them to face it head on and fight their way through it, then why not?

But that’s just us being us. We would love to hear your thoughts on it too. Have your kids enrolled in MMA? Would you be ok with it?


If you want to learn some basic MMA skills together with your kids, there are safe environments perfect for this. A beginner’s MMA retreat welcomes participants of all ages, for observing and safe learning at their own pace.
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