Boys Should Be In Combat Sports

Sports is an activity that is healthy for children. It teaches teamwork, how to lose and win perseverance, determination gracefully, and how to recover from losing to how to bounce back. When we hear about sports for children, we often think about football, baseball, basketball or soccer mainly. However, we rarely think about boxing, jiu-jitsu, traditional martial arts, or mixed martial arts as a whole for kids. These are good for children, even girls. However, for this column, I want to discuss how individual contact disciplines are beneficial for boys precisely and why they should participate.

One of the essential questions boys have, specifically in the 11-year-old and up ages, is, “do I have what it takes to be a man?” This inquiry is perhaps one of the most critical introspections a young boy will make. The journey to becoming a man starts in the crucial ages of puberty. A boy sees that he is physically changing to become a man on the outside, but he knows internally is a different aspect, although he cannot pinpoint what the feeling/thought is and does not know how to describe it.

In the process of becoming a man, they do not need and cannot have their mothers holding their hands. Otherwise, development is hampered, and the process is not complete.

Individual contact disciplines are critical. When the boy grows up, if he properly mentally/emotionally develops into manhood, he will be a protector for his family. He will need to be vigilant in parking lots when on a date with his wife or taking his family out for dinner – looking for anyone who may be a predator. When a boy learns how it feels to get punched, he will be more equipped to the protector he was made to be.

Sports like jiu-jitsu or wrestling put the spotlight on the boy. He is on a mat in the ultimate mano e mano. There is no one to help him when he is at a disadvantage, and everyone is watching. What does he do? Give up or fight harder than he ever has to get out of the painful, uncomfortable situation? It is easier to lose in a team setting on a field than when his weaknesses expose one. His confidence is shot; his will is broken; he is vulnerable. How does he react? How a boy reacts when this happens is crucial to becoming a man. And he needs to know this in those exact terms.

When times get tough being a husband and father, does the guy walk out, or does he say,” I refuse to quit. I am the leader of this family. Everyone is looking at me to see what I will do. I will not fail. I choose to fight against the destruction coming for my family.” Would a boy who played video games during his years of transition to becoming an adult male do this? It is highly unlikely. These types of lessons are learned in one-on-one contact sports. 

Boys need to be in contact sports. Yes, they are dangerous, and yes, they will get hurt at one point or another. However, men are hurt emotionally and physically every day. If they were not taught how to handle damage as a young boy properly, they would not know what to do as a grown-up.

Keep boys in contact sports. Their emotional and psychological development will be much better for it.

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