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Tom Fetter 06-13-2007 12:24 PM

My 8 year old wants to give it a go. He's already doing karate (and CrossFit), has done well in gymnastics and soccer too. Very athletic little guy - with emphasis on the "little" - a bit under 60 pounds.

There's a decent amateur boxing club in town, that tries to focus on safety. And a simply wonderful man (grandfather of a couple of my lad's friends) is now going to get involved with the club. Turns out that John was a very successful amateur welterweight (UK schoolboy's champ, UK army champ, 105-3 amateur record), and has offered to teach my lad, if my wife and I agree. He thinks Nat's a good fit for the sport - balance, strength, hand speed, physical courage.

I can think of no better mentor - a wildly lovely man who, once retired from his "real" job, began a very successful international engineering consulting firm. Very bright, very artistic, very disciplined ... I'd love for my kid to connect with John.

My wife's worried about boxing's safety - to a lesser degree, so am I. Especially for someone so young. In the amateur game, are the worries unfounded? Or should we think twice.


(Message edited by TomF on June 13, 2007)

Peter Queen 06-13-2007 01:01 PM

Tom, sounds like your son is quite the little go-getter. I am sure that with the seasoned guidance of John, and with all the protective gear that they have kids wear now-a-days, I think that things will be OK. You as a parent can always come in and watch the practices to see how he is progressing, so at that point you will be able to see for yourself how he is doing, both mentally and physically. He is already acclimated to karate so boxing is just another form of offensive and defensive moves that will further enhance his overall fighting skills and self confidence.

Kevin Bruce 06-18-2007 02:08 PM

Hi Tom,
I'm not sure of the Amatuer boxing rules in Canada, however in the US, it's saftey first.
The most dangerous part of boxing for kid's is sparring. It's sounds like you have a good trainer, but I would check out one of his sparring sessions and see if it's a learning enviroment or if the kid's are just beating the crap out of each other. I've seen a lot of great trainers and a lot of horrible trainers, the only way to tell is to watch them in action.

As for safety, in America boxing has a lower number of injuries per capita per year then football, baseball & soccer.

Age 8 is the minimum in US for amateur competition. These younger boxers have shorter rounds (1 min) & 1(min) rest period. Thus, minimizing exposure to punches.

Brad Davis 06-18-2007 03:43 PM

Kevin typed: "As for safety, in America boxing has a lower number of injuries per capita per year then football, baseball & soccer."

I'm not a boxing expert or a fan of the sport, but this kind of thing comes to mind every time I hear somebody questioning the safety of activities for children.

It's been 20 years, and I can think of 3 guys who walked with permanent limps from football injuries. I personally had 3 concussions before I was 15 while playing football. I can think of 2 guys with broken ribs, 1 broken hand, 2 guys who broke their arms, and one guy who tore his middle finger tendon loose and had to have it re-attached.

I have to think if I was into boxing during that time, I would've seen fewer injuries.

Stefan Borovina 06-18-2007 08:35 PM

Doctors at the University of Notre Dame did a multi year study of the effects of boxing on the brain. We had a yearly boxing tournament called the Bengal Bouts where over 150 students competed each year.

Each fighter took a cognitive ability test before and after each fight. The test measured reaction times and all sorts of other things that would probabloy be afected by getting knocked in the head.

The result? Amateur boxing with headgear and 12-16 oz gloves caused no serious problems whatsoever. Of course there has to be proper coaching and refs. But with proper supervision, amatuer boxing is safe. You can probably find this study on the internet somewhere.

So I say get your son involved if he shows an interest. I wish I got started with boxing earlier. Its great fun, keeps you in shape, and every kid should know how to defend himself.

Just tell him to keep his hands up and not to block with his head.

Tom Fetter 06-19-2007 05:27 AM

Thanks folks. Your comments dovetail with what I've read about how amateur boxing runs these days, with a focus on safety. We'll give it a look.

I wonder a bit how much the techniques might mess up his karate training (just moved up a belt last night!), but he's a bright enough lad to keep the things separate in his mind.

Anthony Bainbridge 06-20-2007 03:36 PM

It will probably be months before he actually spars anyway. I'd let him attend, learn the ropes, and if after one sparring session you aren't comfortable, then you can simply cut that aspect out and he can continue working the bags/pads/etc.

Matthew Nielsen 06-20-2007 04:09 PM

I have two 7 year old twins in my gym that fight full Muay Thai rules. They fought each other last weekend. They come from a family with a strong fighting tradition (Romani Gypsies) Father and Brother are Muay Thai champs.

At that age they do not punch or kick hard enough to hurt each other and have better technique that many of my adult fighters.

Here are the videos W/F safe...

Round 1

Round 2

Matthew Nielsen 06-20-2007 04:14 PM

Here is one of the twins hitting the bag.

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