Dealing with hysterical parents


Brown Belt
Jan 1, 2004
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I have been involved with traditional martial arts my whole life, and have trained Karate, Jujistu and Aikido. While on a foreign study at college, I also trained BJJ and full contact Karate (Kyokushinkai).

Well, I am home over the summer, and I found myself a vale tudo school here, and am really enjoying my training. However, my parents are really worried that I am going to get injured and destroy my "hansom face." Last week I came home with a tiny bruise on the outside of my left eye. I did not even notice when it happened, and it did not hurt. A day later it was already gone. Despite this, my parents started telling me I should not go back and that vale tudo is too dangerous, even to train.

I was just wondering if anyone else had similar problems with parents. Any advice on what I should say to them? I have tried the "I have recieved worse bruises from elbows to the face in basketball" and the "it's only training, we are not actually trying to kill each other" excuses, but neither seem to have worked. Again, any advice on what to do to heal any bruises faster and on what I should say to my patents would be greatly appreciated.

yah i had to deal with my parents for a while too. In the beginning they wouldnt let me train so i came up with the money myself (i started when i was 13 so its a little more difficult to get the money for training). Eventually my parents found out and forbid me from going but i did anyways and eventually my parents gave up the fight and just realized that its what i wanted to do. After a few weeks of just relentless attendance they just started to support it.

Since you are an adult it wont be as hard to go regardless of their hysteria but i do believe that they will eventually have to go by the phrase "if you cant beat him join him"
lets see. semi traditional ma good, kyokushin good, vale tudo bad?

doubt you never got bruses in kyokushin either.
Yea, I am also pursing the strategy of "if I go they'll get used to it." As for the adult part, parents are parents not matter how old you mom still yells after me to put on a jacket when I go out. Oh well, that's life I guess. It's better than them not caring at all.
erm i think they dont care about his kyokushin because they dont know about it... hes back for the summer <----at least thats what i got from the post
my parents were against me from the beginning and they still are. they knew they couldn't stop me, i would still be doing it in some form if they did try to stop me. i just don't say anything to them and they will never support what i do. i accept that and they can never accept what i do so we just leave each other be
my mum hates me training but hasnt really made any attempt to stop me from doing it. she just accepts that its what i like to do and gets on with it
TKMaxx715 said:
erm i think they dont care about his kyokushin because they dont know about it... hes back for the summer <----at least thats what i got from the post


Well, it's good to know that I am not the only one with this problem.
invite them to a few of your classes to watch or participate
Thats rough, but because of you being of age to make your own decisions they can't do shit to stop you as long as your the one paying for it. Inviting them to a class is a good idea, or do a little research on injuries in other sports. This is a typical argument about trying to get someone to understand MMA and the fact that it's not dangerous.
Firstly let me say, statistics are crap. Stats are very easily manipulated and sensative to outliers which can give you false or desired results. eg I can say the average age of people riding a bus is 28, however that could be one 81 year old and three 11 year olds. So yeah, just try showing them this to blind them with your amazing smartness, then go in for the kill with "martial arts isn't even on the list" ... or something like that, anyways here you go.

"New data from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) shows the 15 sports with the greatest number of medically treated (i.e. at hospitals, doctors' offices, ambulatory surgery centers, clinics and hospital emergency rooms) in the U.S. as follows:

Top Sports Injury List
RANK Sport # of Injuries
1. Basketball 1,622,781
2. Bicycles 1,299,987
3. Football 1,035,450
4. Soccer 456,320
5. Baseball 417,479
6. Swimming/Diving 364,116
7. Softball 318,637
8. Trampolines 244, 564
9. Skateboards 241,734
10. Weightlifting 218,381
11. Horseback 195,446
12 Volleyball 161,240
13 Golf 141,797
14 In-line skating 114,574
15 Roller-skating 114,338

Most Injuries Preventable

According to Dr. Pietro Tonino, Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery and Rehabilitation at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine and co-director of Sports Medicine, Loyola University Health System, many of these injuries can be prevented by knowing and playing by the rules, being physically fit and wearing protective gear."

The last part should seal the deal. Here's the the link I got the stats from:

Personally I think inviting your parents to see how you train wont be such a good idea, Moms are generally squeemish and don't like to see their 'little boys' get hurt and your plan could end up backfiring.
gah i wouldnt think that they would like going to the gym because even though the impact isnt dangerous i think for a parent just seeing their child be hit would upset them.
My parents just look at me when i come home with bruises or cuts and tell me i'm an idiot for doing it. they still support (and pay :)) the classes
I've found that there's no convincing some people, especially your mother. Mine hates me even mentioning training.

Parents seem to eventually give up nagging you after a while.

It is good to hit them with some stats though, eg no fatalities in MMA, common in boxing, even some in football/rugby/equestrian/etc. Same for the severity of injuries, you probably all know someone from school who still carries a bad injury from football/etc. you can emphasise this aspect.

Also, they want you to be able to look after yourself right? The best form of defence is attack, that means being able to fight. VT good for that, better than trad arts. If you want to learn to swim you have to get in the pool.

Good health. Look at the physical condition of most MMA guys (except me HA HA), top nick. As time goes by they will probably see you getting fitter.

Skill side. Its not just untrained thuggery, lots of skill. If it takes skill and dedication to train Boxing, Wrestling, Judo, Karate, etc, it must take so much more to combine them.

I agree don't let them see you train, people who don't like combat sports will never really appreciate MMA, but introduce some of your training partners who are presentable and proffesional, eg doctor/dentist/policeman/firefighter. Something that will impress them.

But at the end of the day, you like it, they will have to wear it. Sorry.
Off topic...

You mentioned you trained in traditional arts your whole life. How does it help/hurt you in your current training?

I'm 34 and my parents still get on me about training. If I show up at their house (obviously don't still live with them) with a stiff back or sore they give me the old, "You're too old for that stuff now. Why don't you quit? Time for you to grow up and not do that nonsense."

So it never really ends. I've got the job, house, wife, family, etc...but your parents will still put in their two cents no matter what your age. As you mentioned, at least they care! ;)
show them inspirational movies :D and edit out any bloody violence that might show up

Rocky and karate kid come to mind to get people to sympathize with fighters
scorcho, you're an adult, so deal with your parents like one if you expect them to respond.

Look them right in the eye and tell them something like "This means something to me. I AM going to get bruised. I AM going to bleed from time to time. That's a hazard in any sport, and it is more than worth it. I don't need or expect for you to approve of my training, but I DO expect you to show me enough respect to not openly disparage what I'm doing. Keep disparaging comments to yourself."
Live your life for you. I still train just to keep the anger in check. Mom's just tells me to be careful.
Here's the thing your parents probably think you going off half cocked because your young. Once they see your serious about it theyll relax, this could take somt time to happen so be patient.