Kids in MMA Part 3

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Tech Sergeant
Nov 5, 2005
As a result it will also look different then it does when it is artificially imposed. Children will feel comfortable around their coach, not intimidated by them. They will feel free to joke and have fun with them. They will be able to do this because they respect them, not out of disrespect.

This also requires respect from the coach, if the coach demands to be addressed by a title, demands to be saluted and demands a strict code of behaviour that is lack of respect. The coach is on a power trip and has no respect for those that train under him, as they are under him. A coach who respects his/her athletes will have no problem joking with them and making mistakes in front of them. The respect between them will be far stronger then any artificially imposed code of behaviour that places the coach in a position of power over them.

Consider what an artificial code of conduct, that places the coach in a power position, teaches children. It teaches them that it is ok to force others to bow down to you if they are inferior to you. It teaches them that it is ok to place yourself above others when you can. Coaches are humans, same as those that they coach. They should be treated as such, and treat others as humans as well. That is respect.

The respect is not there when one person is higher then the others, it can't be. You are teaching them to bow down before superior, but at the same time that it is ok to force others to bow down before you. The child should respect the coach, but not because the coach demands it explicitly, but because the coach is respectful towards them and can help them achieve their goals.

You respect your friends, and if they are teaching you something you are still respectful to them. But if your friend is helping you with your golf swing and demands you call him by a title and follow a imposed code of conduct towards him while he does so would you put up with it? Respect must go both ways for it to be genuine. Someone who imposes such conditions has no respect for those he imposes it on.

There are of course exceptions, the military being the big one. The very nature of military work demands adherence to a chain of command and the following of orders. If orders are not followed, people can and will get killed. If every private is given a choice about how they should attack they will not work as a unit. There is no time for democracy, and no time for all of them to receive the full picture.

This requires a very strict chain of command, and in times of peace this chain of command still must be maintained. This means that artificial conditions must be imposed to keep it in place, even when it is not needed in full so that when it is needed it is there.

This chain of command is also a part of business, with management making the decisions and everyone else following. In business this is far less rigid. You are not required to salute executives, the code of behaviour is based on respect, not ego. And it generally goes both ways. If it doesn't the employees will hate the job and eventually quit. Abuse in the workplace is no longer tolerated, and it shouldn't be in youth sports either. Unfortunately it is, one only needs to attend a youth sports games to see abuse of players and officials by coaches and parents.

Occasionally a child will act in a way that does need to be stopped either because it is physically dangerous or emotionally harmful to others. This doesn't mean they should stand and act like little automatons. There is a difference between two people joking with each other and one abusing the other. Everyone makes jokes with their friends and at their friend's expense, and their friends do it back. There is no disrespect in this. But if it crosses the line into verbal abuse and is harming one or more people then it needs to be stopped.

Where that line lies is different for different people and is based on the different relationships between them. While children should be made aware of this line and not to cross it, they should not be kept from playing with each other.

So while it should be perfectly acceptable for children to be joking and laughing throughout practice, anything that is abusive should be unacceptable. This is bullying, not playing. Ideally preventing this comes from within the group. If the group will not allow bullying then bullies won't appear. Peer pressure is the best way to prevent bullying. When the bullies are rejected by their peers and no one joins them in bullying, the bullying won't last. This is because bullies are what they are because of the power associated with being able to dominate others. They try to gain a position of power by mistreating others. They want to elevate themselves by forcing others below them. These are people who are insecure in themselves and fight that security by imposing their will upon others. When the rest of the group will not be suppressed and stand together against them, the bullies will see their actions backfire. Instead of gaining a position of power and respect by exerting themselves on others they lose it as the group stands together.

This is the same behaviour that is reinforced by an imposed code of conduct that places the instructor at the top. If the instructor demands to be referred to in a specific way and demands shows of submission to him, he is reinforcing the idea that you can gain power by putting others below you.

If a coach wants to prevent bullying in a group he should not bully the bullies, this will only reinforce their behaviour, but the coach should move it out of sight. He should become a part of that group and help the group stand together against that sort of attitude, not display it in himself.

A perfect instructor would not deal with bullying for there would be no bullying to deal with. But unfortunately no one is perfect and even if one was found, there are many others that kids are exposed to. Bullying is a learned behaviour, an instructor placing himself above others is teaching that behaviour.

When a problem that does require disciplinary action does arise how it is dealt with is also an important issue. Many feel that it is best to make the kids do something, pushups is a popular one. But again what does this teach the child? When someone doesn't do what you say you should force them to do something that they don't like? That is bullying. No push ups are not the answer, nor is giving them any form of "Do this…" as punishment. Forcing others to do something for stepping out of line again teaches that it is ok to force others to remain subordinate to you.

It also teaches them that push-ups, a beneficial exercise, are a punishment. Something that is not done for the benefit of doing them, but as punishment. Using activities as punishment will teach the children to hate those activities.

Instead it is better to deprive them of something. If they are bullying, or just playing too rough, sit them on the side while others continue to play until they've calmed down. What does this teach them? That if you don't play by the groups rules, you don't get to play with the group. It makes it a more positive lesson than a negative one. It also shows them that the activity is something that they want to do, and if they don't do it by the rules they miss out.

So instead of bullying the bully and reinforcing his behaviour as acceptable when you are at the top of the pecking order, you are teaching him that bullying will get you excluded, not give you a position of power.

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