Totowa MMA: A look inside NJ United Mixed Martial Arts Academy

The Importance of Struggling, Winning, Losing, and Learning in Martial Arts

At NJ United MMA, our programs for kids have the same values as our adult programs – to provide safe challenge that grow skills, character, and relationships!

Recently, a Facebook friend of mine jokingly shared this National Post article entitled “Dodgeball isn’t just problematic, it’s an unethical tool of ‘oppression’” by Joseph Brean. The basic gist of Brean’s article is that competition is “unhelpful to the development of kind and gentle children,” and that the struggles of victory and defeat are not developmentally healthy. In my college years, I would have poked more fun at this article than the readers in the comments section! But when I read the article yesterday, I honestly felt sorry for Brean and people who hold his sentiments. True, there can be bullies and bad influences in any challenging physical activity where you test your skills against others. But true martial arts and physical challenges are meant to be developmental testing grounds that teach men, women, and children the basic skills that will enable them to thrive in an often evil, unfair world.

Our competition students have a lot of tough battles together during training, but the friendship that keeps us together is toughened by that! Here, NJU blue belts Jon and Meidine face each other in the finals of last week’s Grappling Industries tournament, eventually closing-out their division together!

Brean argues that “games become more like cruel initiation ceremonies into a brutal world.” I seriously wonder if Brean had endured some kind of gladiatorial dodgeball-world of doom in his grade school days, and if he did, then I can understand where he’s coming from. But that is not how good martial values are learned, and it’s certainly not how you respect your training partner (of course, if your training partners aren’t healthy, you can’t train!). Interestingly enough, even animals in the wild understand this concept. I’m fortunate enough to live right next to a wooded area where a family of wild foxes have made their den. I’ve seen the fox parents play-wrestling with their young, and I’ve seen them hunting together as well.

I’m sure there are other people out there who, like Brean, may have had terrible experiences in competitive and martial arts-related settings. Maybe you have as well. That’s why I invite you to learn more about NJ United MMA by taking a free Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu or Muay Thai class with us. In our academy, we foster a challenging but safe environment that’s designed to bring out your best and grow skills you never thought you could master. After all, if the foxes near my back yard understand the importance of challenge, training, victory and failure, then I believe that we can too, and emerge the better for it.

Come train at NJ United Mixed Martial Arts and take advantage of our 7-day free trial offer! Whether you’re an aspiring competitor or casual student, you will benefit from training in our friendly, professional, and ego-free environment. Call us at 973-638-1570 to schedule your first class, and visit us on the web at for more info.

JJ Mike

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