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Game On! MMA and bullying

Area Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu clubs have created anti-bullying programs that combine the defensive techniques of Gracie BJJ with important lessons on communication and confidence

Pop Quiz: What costs about $100 and can be over in less than a minute?

Besides that. This is a family column.

If you guessed an Ultimate Fighting Championship title fight on pay-per-view, virtual fist bump.

Now before all of you Mixed Martial Artisans come at me with a palm strike in response to my opening line, I realize that most championship matches last far longer than that.
In fact some have been known to go an entire 25 minutes, which is like an entire Big Bang Theory episode, or a Ramones album.

Let’s face it though, part of UFC’s appeal is the quick-strike, get-in-get-out, pay-your-tab-and-get-on-with the-night nature of the sport.

Before I get too deep into this, for the uninitiated, UFC is the competitive professional pinnacle of MMA, and for any aspiring Mixed Martian out there, it is the endgame, promising the biggest paydays for the privilege of potentially getting tenderized in front of thousands of eyeballs in attendance live, and millions more in pubs and on living room sectionals across the globe.

Mixed Martial Arts itself is the term applied to this hybrid contact sport, combining aspects of boxing, wrestling (Greco-Roman, not Hulkamania), and traditional martial arts like Jiu-Jitsu.

From its humble beginnings 20-plus years ago as a combat exhibition with little more than parking-lot-throwdown rules (no eye-gouging, no use of street signs or car bumpers, all body parts you leave with must be strictly your own) it has evolved into a highly regulated, and brilliantly marketed sport that has usurped traditional face-punch-fest sports like boxing and beer league hockey as the number one arse-whuppin’ based activity worldwide.  

Number two if you count Black Friday shopping.

And with the emergence of Ronda Rousey, MMA has elbowed its way into the pop culture conversation, as she has leveraged her meteoric fame into film work and other media, despite the last minute or so of her day job not going all that swimmingly.

MMA, once considered a fringe phenomenon for the mildly bloodthirsty, is now A Big Deal, and it’s not going anywhere.

So where does this leave you, the Sooite with a desire to get fit and be active, and perhaps a smidge of unresolved hostility?

Well, you can join a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu club, for one.

BJJ is a martial art form that was brought to North America by the Gracie family, and has become a force in the MMA community, with its emphasis on ground fighting (positioning, holds, joint locks, etc.).

It has also become a huge success for people looking for a unique, year-round way to get and stay fit and flexible, not to mention look cool at cocktail parties and assist at out-of-control slumber parties.

Actually that last terrible attempt at humour segues awkwardly into the real reason I support BJJ: Kids; specifically my youngest two.

They are currently enrolled in public school and, like many of us were, have been the victims of bullying.

Now, I don’t have the initials after my name sufficient to engage in a discussion vis-à-vis the psycho-social origins, root causes, ramifications, long term effects, etc. of said activity. Suffice it to say, bullying sucks.

Big time.

To combat this scourge without resorting to the same tactics as the local Nelson Muntzes, BJJ schools have created an anti-bullying program that combines the defensive (NOT offensive) techniques of Gracie BJJ with important lessons on communication and confidence.

All of which serve to de-escalate potential confrontations. As well, the children learn a great life skill, have a fun, active social experience, and have a few cards up their sleeves the next time Dad goes all Tickle Monster on them during story time.

My children are having the time of their lives at BJJ, and it has manifested itself in more confidence, a better grasp of inter-personal peer relationships, better focus and listening skills, and a sense of pride of achievement for themselves and their classmates.

Plus they get to wear a cool Gi.

There are other local clubs featuring numerous self-defence styles, not to mention full-fledged fighting clubs for those adults who wish to indulge, be they seekers of better fitness and conditioning, or budding amateur Martial Arts Mixologists.

Hap KI Do, Tae Kwon Do, Kung Fu, and Karate are but a few on offer.

The opportunity to channel your inner Norris, Lee, or (cough) Seagal awaits.

As for my little warriors, neither have them have managed to take their old man down yet.

Not that I’d admit it here if they had…