"Kids Need Something Like This Nowadays"
I've heard this line many times, and while I agree I suspect the reasons are a little different.
Most of the time when I hear it the person means that the world has gotten more dangerous, and kids need to know how to protect themselves and have the confidence to do so.
I'd agree to the second part, but the first is just not true. Statistics show police reported crime is the lowest it's been since the 1960's and has been on a downward trend for the last 25 years.
The perception of crime has definitely increased though thanks to 24/7 news coverage and social media. 10 years ago if someones garage got broken into 8 blocks away you'd never hear about it, now every time someones unlocked car gets their change removed it's posted on Facebook neighbourhood watch groups.
But the truth is we are safer then we have ever been.
Unfortunately the result of the perception of danger has led to kids losing a lot of freedoms they once had. Walking to school without a parent in elementary school was once normal... now parent's discussion groups have people asking if 10 or 11 is too young to do so without worrying about someone calling CFS.
Meanwhile anxiety rates and obesity rates in kids are on the rise. Which should come as no surprise as kids sense of independence is being pushed to older and older ages.
So when you take a activity, such as MMA / Wrestling / Jiu-Jitsu / Kickboxing / etc. that teaches kids to be strong, to remain calm under pressure and that they can do things they didn't think they could... yes, I think they need something like this.