Some weeks ago I wrote an article about a 4 year old getting his Black Belt; I went on to write how dangerous it was for children under 5 to any Martial Art especially those that involved Punching and Kicking.
Teaching this to the very young, I felt, was a form of child abuse my article got the response: "That it is down to the Governing Body to decide was is a fit age to start martial arts."
That is a cop out what if the Governing Body does not have the expertise and what if the martial art has no overall governing body? Interesting enough much is being done and said about "CLUB MARK" being the way forward for sports, they make a great deal about Health & Safety, Child protection, Codes of Conduct but they give Club Mark to club who have under five (pre-school) doing Martial Arts?
In last week’s Sunday Mirror the middle pages were given over to "Kiddie Cage Fighters" where Children as young as four are taught to beat the living daylights out of each other.
You can find my own article here. I even found an organisation who would teach 1 year olds. Below is an article from the international pages of, The Telegraph:
Parents of young cage fighters insist the sport is not dangerous and that it teaches children to respect their peers
By Tom Leonard in New York
4:54PM GMT 28 Mar 2008
Children as young as six are taking up the controversial sport of "cage fighting", alarming medical experts and sports officials.
· The violent sport, also known as "ultimate fighting”, combines martial arts, wrestling and boxing but with few rules often looks like little more than a brawl.
The Republican presidential nominee, John McCain, has described it as "human cockfighting" but the popularity of the sport, which usually takes place in a cage, has spread to young American children.
Egged on by parents who regard it as character-building, the children fight two minute bouts in small cages. They are required to wear head gear and padding.
They can kick, punch and grapple with each other but are not allowed to use elbow blows or hit to the head when the opponent is on the ground.
Experts say the child version of the sport is growing along with the popularity of the adult equivalent, now showing on cable television and even in a new film, Never Back Down.
Last month, CBS became the first of the big television networks to announce a deal to broadcast prime-time fights. Regardless of any psychological harm, medical experts believe young bodies cannot withstand the pounding.
"It's dangerous from a physical standpoint," said Dr Lisa Thorton, a paediatrician with the University of Chicago Hospitals.
"It can cause significant injuries to the neck and bones, and if they're being taught that fighting is a way to solve problems that is obviously very negative for any child."
Joe Miller, administrator of the Oklahoma Professional Boxing Commission, said cage fighting used a lot of arm and leg twists to force opponents into submission. "There's too much potential for damage to growing joints," he said.
However, parents of young cage fighters insist the sport is not dangerous and – like conventional martial arts – teaches children to respect their peers.
Jennifer Swinehart, whose sons – aged 10 and 14 – are members of the Garage Boys Fight Crew in Joplin, Missouri, said: "It's wonderful. They build such good character and good friendships, and that's what you need to further yourself in life."
Tommy Bloomer, father of two more of the Garage Boys, said the sport was no more dangerous than youth wrestling.
He said: "We're not training them for dog fighting. As a parent, I'd much rather have my kids here learning how to defend themselves and getting positive reinforcement than out on the streets."
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