Mixed martial arts has experienced an explosion of popularity in the past few years, and that has reached children and teenagers. Many gyms now offer youth training. Xtreme Couture has a kids club that meets three times a week at its Las Vegas location, and Overtime MMA in Naperville, Ill. gives a special rate for children. Now, MMA has a home at a high school in Winchester, Mass.
Winchester High School has a mixed martial arts club run by students. The group meets a few times a week, has guest instructors that help out from time to time and is financed due to the fund raising of an industrious senior. The school will not let students hit each other in the head, but other than that, it's a safe place where kids can practice MMA.
I applaud the school administration for being open-minded and allowing their students to use try MMA. For one, a club at a high school is a more affordable option than joining a pricey gym, and students can try out the sport before they decide to become committed to the idea of being the next Anderson Silva. The other reason this is a great idea is that it gives a home to the students who aren't comfortable with team sports, and most importantly, gives students the opportunity to get rid of aggression in a safe environment designed for it.
After watching Dustin Hazelett and Tamdan McCrory fight last week in the nerdiest bout to ever hit the Octagon, it became clear to me that MMA can be for everyone. You can be as small as Urijah Faber, as large as Brock Lesnar and as skinny as Miguel Torres and still be a champion in this sport. Why not give high school kids, who often feel like they don't belong, a place where they can feel normal?