Limpag: Should we stop kids from joining MMA events?

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Friday, August 22, 2014


WHEN I learned that a couple of kids would be involved in the Cebu Extreme Fighting League, I knew there was going to be a reaction.

You have to face it—whether you advocate martial arts and other contact sports for kids or not—some people are not comfortable seeing kids fight. There’s even a pending proposal in Congress to ban all contact sports among children after a budding boxer died in a Department of Education meet last year.

Fortunately, the CEFL didn’t elicit such reaction but instead Cebu City Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella wants the council to study the physical and psychological effects of contact sports on children.

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I support such a study because I think that we would finally see the benefits of contact sports among kids.

Vice Mayor Labella reacted that way because of the kids’ involvement in an amateur MMA fight, but I think martial arts, or contact sports, is not just about fighting.

For those who take up boxing, the professionals and students, they don’t sign up because they want to be the next Manny Pacquiao. I think they take up the sport because they want to get fit or they want to learn to defend themselves. They don’t go out and beat up the next guy who cuts them off traffic.

For kids, it’s a different story. It’s mostly the parents who take the initial step in letting them a particular sport. And I’m sure the parents of the two kids involved in the MMA fight wouldn’t dare risk their kids’ safety.

So the study, as suggested by the Vice Mayor, would be a big help. Especially for those parents who have no idea about contact sports and may want their kids to try them but are afraid because of news such as the student boxer’s death.

Contact sports or knowledge of MMA is like a tool. And just like any tool, sometimes, its effectivity depends on how one uses it.

By the way, I’m also glad that the Cebu City Sports Commission is actively supporting mixed-martial arts and will hold its first amateur event.

As one of the fastest-growing sports (In the US, MMA is growing faster than boxing), a lot of kids are getting interested in MMA and it would be best that they learn the basics under proper supervision.

Martial arts, like any other sport, promotes discipline. Letting kids of all ages and from all sorts of background train in martial arts, under the supervision of a qualified adult, would be a welcome development.

(www.mikelimpag@gmail.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 23, 2014.

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