A recent article over at NYTimes got me thinking about the impact MMA is having around the world. Just several years ago, UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) was banned from over 30 states, now Mixed Martial Arts is making its way into high school gymnasiums.

Many people, including students, don't take UFC and MMA seriously. Some believe it's too brutal while others believe it is just a bunch of sweaty guys rolling around in their underwear. Being an avid martial arts fan and a former practitioner, it is easy to see the level of skill being displayed. Unfortunately it is not so for many.

People often taken interest in martial arts when they feel the need to be able to protect themselves. Often, they're afraid of getting hurt and/or being vulnerable, thus taking on a form of martial arts to change that. Proper discipline from any type of martial art will teach self-control and confidence, as well as many other valuable lessons. Additionally, physical conditioning and health improvements are imminent. Read more about the jump...

I would encourage high schools to look into incorporating mixed martial arts and other forms of self defense into their programs. Whether these would be after school programs or exercised daily in physical education class is up to them. I would imagine that in order to avoid academic complications throughout the day, it would be better to leave it as an after school activity.

This would be great for people all around. Existing and new instructors will have jobs, students will stay off the streets learning something they enjoy, while confidence levels are boosted in everyone. It is time the world recognized Mixed Martial Arts as an advanced form of self defense and discipline. Yes, competitions can get bloody, but the practitioners woudn't be in it if they were worried about getting hurt. People love the thrill and adrenaline. I love the thrill and andrenaline. Do you?