Monkey see. Monkey do.

I don’t usually follow the UFC too closely, but last Saturday night we were invited to a friend’s house to watch the fights.

There were plenty of people there with their families. Kids aged from new born (that’d be us) to early teen years. It was a good night and some of the fights were good too.

I enjoy watching the tactical/strategic aspect of the fight, but once someone clearly can’t defend themselves (due to being unconscious or very close too it) and then being pounded senseless with 5 or 6 additional strikes to the head, is when I turn off. There’s no skill involved when it gets to that stage. It just looks like a gang beating.

To watch someone be split open with blood pouring out of their head, their eyes swollen shut, be repeatedly beaten and then strangled is very graphic.

Yet at the party the parents of 4 year old kids were cheering and yelling and allowing their children to be in the same room witnessing everything that was going on.

Monkey see, monkey do.

Clearly the kids saw the enjoyment the parents were receiving from watching the fight. So what did they do?

They mimicked what was on the big screen TV. There it was… Two 4 year UFC fighters running about pounding into each other, punching with clenched fists, taking each other down to the floor, while the parents cheered them on.

Five minutes later one of the parents caught one of the kids hitting again and told them “We don’t hit!”.

Are you as confused as I am with the logic here? Imagine how confused the kids were!

Why is it ok for 4 year olds to be watching the UFC in the first place? Why do some parents encourage violent actions and promote graphic imagery as a positive part of their child’s development?

Fortunately most people wouldn’t teach their kids that it’s ok to hit another unless is was self defense, but the 4 year old who is encouraged to do it because their drunk parent gets excited watching the UFC is going to grow up confused, and maybe turn into the schoolyard bully.

As instructors who work so hard in teaching kids positive values through martial arts we will occasionally be faced with some parents who teach (perhaps unknowingly) the opposite.

Your thoughts?

1 thought on “Monkey see. Monkey do.”

  1. Hi Jason,

    Last week a woman walked into our Karate Dojo, and began asking me questions as to what we teach our students, especially the children.
    She then proceeded to say that she wants an instructor to "bully" her child, so the child will "learn what life is like". I explained that in our style and system we never use bullying tactics with any of our students. We emphasize being able to use our head first and think our way out and then our skills when faced with a situation. She still went on about wanting her child "bullied" and I restated that,as we would not resort to such tactics now or in the future she should take her business elsewhere.
    My head instructor,who was teaching a private class at the time, was very upset that I had not interupted him and explained to him what she wanted, as he would have escorted her from the premises. I cannot believe that a parent, would be willing and even adamant, that a Karate instructor bully their child. It's no wonder our society has become the way it is now and we need to teach parents and children, that true Martial Artists do not use our skills to bully but to teach self-control and self-discipline so as to avoid situations in the first place!


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