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Baron von Crags’ Scion
A Father Question about Training a Young Son


Hey man. I heard you on an older fatherland podcast the other day.

Just browsed your website and was a bit overwhelmed, lol.

Just wanted to reach out because I thought you were an excellent guest.

I have a 21 month old son and plan on getting him involved in martial arts asap, but not sure of the process, timeline etc. I’m assuming 5 or 6 would be an early beginner class.

I planned on starting him on Greco Roman wrestling early, then boxing or some throwing/judo/aikkido after a few years. Then some kind of MMA.

Thoughts or advice? I'm 37 and just had my first kid and I'm realizing that his old dad might not be around forever. I'd like to get him started in the right direction. Ideally he'll have a brother or 2 as well.

I know you're busy and I should be buying a book from you or donating before I solicit advice, lol, and I plan to.

Anyways. Great Fatherland episode, we'd all love to hear you back on the show.

Thanks sincerely,

Baron von Crags

Baron, questions about sons take priority here and zoom ahead of the other 30 articles I have written and will get posted right away. As a paleface peasant I am particularly honored that you have solicited counsel from down low. The following assumes your son is going to be directed to these pursuits for self-defense and mental health, not sports competition.

Early Childhood Suggestions

Play catch with him from the earliest possible age.

By age five he should be taught to slap and check ping pong balls. The slap has the fingers together. The check makes the open hand into a cup with which we catch a ball without the use of the thumb.

At age 5 enroll him in wrestling, not BJJ, or grappling, but a folk wrestling program, cheaper and better than the rest. This is for his work ethic, tactile sense and tendon strength.

Other sports which will develop his hand-eye coordination, and do not come with negative, punk subcultures like football, soccer and basketball, are:


-Ping pong




By age 7 I would teach him to box using, the Punishing Art as a hand book. Set him up a speed bag and a double ended bag. Do not install a heavy bag. If you cannot afford the bag array have him punch your hands. For a hand checking drill have him slap check the fist of one of your hands and punch the palm of the other.

By age 9 train him in stick fighting using Twerps, Goons and Meatshields as a guide. Hang a heavy bag for him to hit with the stick. Also have him practice slapping the heavy bag. Do not have him punch the heavy bag until he hits puberty. There are no realistic treatments of weapons, which are top priority for survival, in Asian-based martial arts.

Adolescent Arts

With the onset of puberty, begin switching him from wrestling to Judo.

Also, as he grows, switch him from boxing to Muay Thai, for which you must acquire an instructor.

Have him continue practicing with the stick and introduce knife use.

Avoid all forms of karate and Kung Fu, as these arts are counter functional below master level, by design.

Avoid MMA and Brazilian Jujitsu , as the punk mentality is so rampant in these arts you might lose him to an ego cult. Also, BJJ doctrine says that it is the only art, the only way and has answers to everything. This is based on marketing in a capitalist setting, not reality. Your son’s Judo connection should be used to access cross training in Jujitsu and MMA, as there is a strong cross-over element there. Just don’t let him lose the wrestling work ethic and the judo combat perspective. The character of your Judo instructor is very important. MMA programs teach inferior wrestling, flawed boxing, inferior Muay Thai and sports-based submissions, not disarms, and should be avoided. The specialty coaches you access, if of good character will have useful MMA connections for practicing art integration.

Do not let him compete in boxing or kick boxing until age 15 in order to safeguard his brain and advise him to not make a career of it. At 21, someone with the above skill sets could easily pull in money as a coach to supplement entry level income into the work force or business.

Basic Survival Assumptions

The aggressor will be larger or hyper-aggressive.

The aggressor will have accomplices in 3 of every 4 encounters.

The aggressor will be armed in 1 of every 3 encounters.

People die on the floor. Don’t go to the floor, no matter what the BJJ/MMA propaganda says.

Your son is training to fight off mobs of rabid POCs in some dystopian future. Artistic and sporting sentiments have no valid place in this process. Do not take him to a karate or kung fu class, especially as a child. You can train him better than the best masters. That is not an overstatement but an understatement.

Being a Bad Man in a Worse World

Fighting Smart: Boxing, Agonistics & Survival

Twerps, Goons and Meatshields: The Basics of Full Contact Stick-Fighting

The Punishing Art

Add Comment
Bruno DiasMay 6, 2018 10:37 AM UTC

Heyy James, i got a question on the topic:

Would you recommend teachhing combative arts to a girl, for self-defence purposes. If so, then, how would you do it?

I have a 2 year old little sister. I fear for her future, and i know that not me or my father would be around her 100% of the time. Also, i i want her to have a cha nce againstt the feral girls of the one of the schools she'll probably end up going.
responds:May 7, 2018 12:47 PM UTC

This will be an article this week.

Thanks, Bruno
SeanMay 5, 2018 10:25 AM UTC

I agree with everything but will add if judo instructors are hard to come which in many areas are keep him in wrestling and transition to both freestyle and greco(upper body throws only) Greco is more akin to what our ancestors did and is much more functional in a survival context.

Godspeed good sir.
BobMay 5, 2018 6:40 AM UTC

For those who missed Mr. LaFond's podcast:
responds:May 5, 2018 3:49 PM UTC

Thanks so much, Mister Bob.
BobMay 5, 2018 1:31 AM UTC

Great advice. Lucky is the boy whose father follows it.

The late Carl Cestari made a great video on judo as it was originally practiced, before it became an art and sport.
ShepMay 4, 2018 6:07 PM UTC

I realize that no one asked me, but I feel compelled to chime in anyway, having gone through "the process" with my kids.

Just a couple of tweaks to James' program:

I would suggest reversing the introduction of judo vis-à-vis wrestling for psychological/social development reasons:

1. I would start with judo at 6 or 7, because it is less intense and more "kid-friendly" than wrestling programs tend to be. Remember, you need "buy-in", or at least cooperation from your son if he's going to get anything out of his training, and making it "fun" at an early age will pay dividends further down the line when he's ready to get serious.

2. I would get him into wrestling when he starts jr. high, because this is a time when he's going to want the respect of his peers, and if he's a big deal on the wrestling team in grades 7-12, the girls will want him and the guys will want to be him. Having an identity as a letterman will give him the status and self-confidence that will help him navigate happily and successfully through the teenage years.

As James said, the quality and character of your judo sensei is very important. My personal recommendation would be to find a Japanese-American instructor, if possible. YMMV.

Finally, here's a slick trick I used on my kids: When it's time to start giving them an allowance, make it contingent on "pennies for pushups". Every morning they'd hit the living room rug, and ol' Dad would count'em off. Usually, a quarter or two a day, per kid, would come out of my pocket and into theirs. After a while, I was able to add situps and tuck jumps into the routine for free :) . They could use the money for chewing gum, comic books, or whatever. This program flew with them from first through sixth grade—then they decided they would rather sleep in. But it laid the groundwork for a lot of good things with their physiques, and helped them in judo and other sports.
responds:May 5, 2018 3:45 PM UTC

I was only looking at the grappling aspect as a child in terms of tendon Strength. Shep is right, with a good Judo instructor you get the positive mind development of the Japanese arts without the hocus pocus of their striking arts. By and large wrestlers have a higher percentage of asshole jock types than among Judo people and wrestling is a grind.

Thanks, Shep.
SidVicMay 4, 2018 5:46 PM UTC

Haha, just a couple of unsolicited pieces of advice. Please take with grain of salt as my kids generally hate me these days. Jame is correct -folk wrestling is what you want to aim for. But be flexible, watch the coaches. IMO the type of program is less important than the quality of the guys in it. In my case i got lucky that the middle school and high school wrestling programs where i live got some young coaches in under the the tutelage of good older old school guys. These guys were hell on wheels and brought in college wrestlers often- they were totally into building a excellent program. They really cared about the kids (not in gay way Haha) I could tell because of the time and energy they put in. Between hauling kids to tournaments ( to get good competition) and the 3-4 day 3-4hrs practices.. .. well you get the

idea... these guys were nuts.

Benifits: my kids made tough loyal working class friends , that i think will attend his funeral (assuming he dies first). He went from being a extremely poorly coordinated athlete- to a cauliflower-eared, still mediocre, wrestler that can tear the balls of 98% of the men he is likely to meet. I'm a soft academician, but i can tell you that this masculine confidence is invaluable in ever future interaction that your son will have with other men, regardless of context.

Finally I advise, don't neglect the boy's mind. By hook or crook, get him to read. In my experience all readers found that first book that turned them on like switch. Keep feeding him books, keep nagging until he find his book. Many wise men have distilled everything they know into autobiographies and even pulp (like Howard) If you can turn him into a warrior-reader... well it would be good.
GooseMay 4, 2018 5:39 PM UTC


What you wrote is very well thought out, but it assumes that the child has a strong interest in following the program.

What does a parent do if the child doesn't have any motivation at all? Send him to a summer camp in Baltimore?
responds:May 5, 2018 3:49 PM UTC

You have to find a way to make it fun for some kids.

Some boys will never accept such training and then you have to deal with that. My oldest son refused combat instruction of any time. He was and is simply incapable of violence.

My youngest son only did it so long as it was fun—about 7 years—and then dropped it. At least he has something to fall back on.

Honestly, only about a third of boys will go along with what I suggested.