8-year-old Cage Fighters
This is certainly unlike any wrestling match. And this is definitely not staged.
With no form of protective gear, two 8-year-old boys are going at each other in front of a crowd of 250 people in Preston, Lancs, UK.
As the crowd eggs them on, the two boys engage in “Mixed martial arts”, a combination of martial arts, wrestling and boxing. There are very little to no rules with this fighting. At one point of the fight, one of the boys appear to be crying and paramedics were brought in to check up on the fighters.
Paul Jackson, manager of Warriors Gym criticizes the fight, “It’s like a circus performance but if it’s consenting adults, that’s different. It depends on what the rules were as well.”
Event organiser Steven Nightingale defends the event,”Competitions start from the age of five, it is definitely a big up-and-coming sport. It is all based around martial arts.” He continues, “The kids are not getting hit or anything at all when they are under age. We do not let them strike – punch and kick – until the age of 14 or 15.”
Police are unable to do anything about it, as they “looked into this matter fully and there are no issues for us to pursue.”
I understand that martial arts is a sport that is quite ubiquitous among youths of all ages. However, what kids do in a controlled setting AND for the purposes of fun and learning is quite different from what kids do in front of a crowd for the sheer purposes of money and entertainment. By subjecting these impressionable kids to this environment, parents are putting them in danger physically and psychologically.