Filipina wushu artist Agatha Wong shared her opinion about House Bill no. 1526 that seeks to ban minors from participating in martial arts competitions.
The three-time Southeast Asian Games gold medalist said there’s nothing like learning the sport at a young age, but also stressed the disadvantage of learning martial arts early.
“It’s very important to mold athletes at a young age especially for combat sports because learning the sport at age 17 or 18 is quite too late especially for martial arts,” Wong told The Manila Times.
Learning the sport at a young age, though, may give the kids the wrong essence of martial arts — which is just to hurt the opposition.
“If kids start at seven or eight years old in combat sports, they might develop the mindset to just hurt the opponent and that’s not the case,” said Wong.
Wong’s suggestion is that minors should be allowed to participate in combat sports provided that they are about 11-13 years old, as at this age-span they are old enough to fully understand what is martial arts really about.
“I would suggest that there should be a cut off. I think they should start at 11 or 12 or 13, I think that’s already okay to mold a future athlete.”
The hearing for the bill entitled Banning Minors from Full-Contact Competitive Sports — authored by Ako Bicol party list representatives Alfredo Garbin Jr. and Elizaldy Co — is on Wednesday, with the 11 ‘affected’ sports associations, as well as the Philippine Sports Commission, Philippine Olympic Committee, Department of Education, Department of Health, Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations of the Philippines, and National Academy of Sports expected to join the discussion.
Boxing, wushu, jiu-jitsu, muaythai, judo, karate, tae kwon do, wrestling, arnis, kickboxing, and pencak silat are classified as full-contact sports.