With a growing global awareness of bullying and depression, especially around teenagers, the NZ MMA federation has been instrumental in pushing for Mixed Martial Arts to be part of the high school physical education programme.
A number of schools are now working with MMA to help with student fitness and overall well being. Both Matt Toa (NZ Vice President) and Terry Hill (NZMMAF President) have been instrumental in organising training programmes to help students cope and deal with the social pressures most teenagers are encountering in their lives today .
With various structures around how to format the training procedures , the MMA educators have touched on something that is working well within the framework of education programmes.
This starts with a disciplined approach to the training sessions, by breaking down the different components ie; stance , posture , how to move correctly as well as the basic stand up techniques and defence. From clinching, holding, throwing and takedowns the training format moves forward into the ground game, with controlling position, submissions and escapes.
With all the various components covered, individual instructors are free to develop training formats that work best for them. External specialist coaches can also be bought in to help move into areas that need more specific training methodology. By covering different characteristics in each session the students alleviate the boredom of prolonged repetition that may turn them off in a normal classroom setting .
“The self esteem growth and physical improvements the students are subjected to, speak volumes for the positivity that MMA can have for our youth today,” said NZMMA President Terry Hill. “One parent just recently came and spoke to one of the instructors, thanking them for the training and laughing about the fact that their child loves MMA so much his enthusiasm is actually contagious. Unlike the experience of other sports, not only can you see them sweat but they are fully absorbed by what they were doing.”
To conclude, Terry said: “Our experience shows how MMA boosts health and wellbeing but also offers useful skills in self defence, which should be mandatory for all school children, just as much as learning to read and write. Where is MMA going in the future? MMA is the future! In so many special and diverse ways.”