Should Kids Train Combat Sports?
Safety is always a concern when discussing youth sports, and rightfully so. It is easy to see why many people would scoff at the idea of a child participating in a “combat” sport. The preconceived notions that someone has when they hear combat sport is going to immediately cause them to put up their defenses. What most people don’t understand is that there are many sports, and martial arts that fall under the combat sport umbrella.
That same person might be surprised to find out that a sport as common as wrestling is considered a combat sport. While wrestling is definitely a grueling, discipline infusing sport it’s probably not what the average person would consider “combat”. Wrestling can serve as a good entry point for the discussion of youth in combat sports.
A great resource on the subject is the Great Chael Sonnen! Chael grew up in the wrestling world and eventually transitioned his skills to the realm of mixed martial arts. MMA and Boxing are the two sports most associated to “combat sports” for the average person, but many other sports and martial arts fall under that description.
Sonnen has an interesting perspective on the subject. Check out the video below from his YouTube!
Chael drops tons of good info if you are a parent and are looking to get your kid into some sort of sport or martial art. While many of these sports do promote a team atmosphere, ultimately in a wrestling match it’s one-on-one. Many team sports greatly outnumber sports like wrestling. Combat sports can point out the harsh reality of solo competition for both the participant and the parent.
Wrestling serves a great entry point into combat sport for a multitude of reasons, one being that is part of scholastic sports. This involves a lot of things a parent is going to look for when getting their kid involved. There will be coaches, the environment will be controlled, and it’s part of the school!
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If you look to a sport that isn’t wrestling like Jiu-Jitsu or Judo you should seek similar situations as the wrestling room. Chael recommends observing a practice or two. If you get a good sense of how the facility operates you can be at ease trusting them to teach your child a new set of skills. Jiu-Jitsu is another great entry point for combat sports because of this.
Head trauma is the elephant in the room that people are starting to come to terms with. People are starting to be more educated on the subject of concussions and the long-term dangers of them. While almost every sport has a risk of head impact, sports that are designed around that aspect can be worrisome. Sports like Football have seen drastic changes in the rules to reduce the amount of impact on the head, but parents are starting to seek other options.
At the end of the day if your child can enjoy what they are doing while staying safe and learning new skills, it should be considered a win. Combat sports doesn’t directly equal Cage fighting as some people might have you believe. Sports like Wrestling, Jiu-Jitsu, and Judo can teach your child invaluable intangibles like discipline and leadership on top of skills that can translate to real world self defense application.
If you are looking to get your kid involved in wrestling Wrestling Fundamentals By Chael Sonnen is a great place to start. Chael has a unique way of telling you Exactly what you need to hear in terms of technique. Start off Strong with Chael Sonnen!