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A fight between two boys watched by adults at a cage-fighting event has been described as “very barbaric” by the Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt.
“It just feels to me, it feels very barbaric and I know there are concerns about children that young, doing a sport like that.” – Jeremy Richard Streynsham Hunt, British Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport.
I remember Preston well. It’s a town that boasts the ugliest bus station in Britain, the most crime ridden street in Britain, and the local MP has decided to abandon it and focus more on Vietnam, by becoming the head of the UK-Viet Nam Friendship Parliamentarians Group. Anti-social behavior in this corner of the universe is at an all time record breaking high. Residents have become immune, shutting themselves away to eat.
While working briefly as a radio news broadcaster, we occasionally went out for drinks in Preston, it wasn’t short of becoming a war zone some nights. Men in leotards and snarling faces would walk around clutching drinks in the street, drunkenly flagging down any car for a ride – then pissing on any waiting taxi. This is almost at Swansea’s, Wind Street level – minus the blood. I have lived there also.
Any opportunity to get a child off those streets and into a group is a good thing. Hunt has never lived in Preston, his concept of danger is possibly showing his passport to an airport official once or twice a month. The only issue he should be concerned about is mixed messaging. Mr Hunt paid tribute to teachers and coaches all over the country in February. He said they have given;
“extraordinary commitment and dedication over the years towards getting more children and young people to play competitive sport”.
Now MMA, or mixed martial arts is a full contact combat sport that allows the use of both striking and grappling techniques, both standing and on the ground, including boxing, wrestling, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Muay Thai, Kickboxing, Karate, Judo and other styles. Now before you enter a fight, you have to slowly get up to a certain standard, to be allowed further. I am not an expert, but I have seen a movie where an old man trains a child to beat up other children, to a baying crowd, where the finishing move was a scissor kick to the face. Karate Kid was a GREAT movie. That was OK, why not this Preston club?
Grappling, as in Judo, is taught heavily from the beginning. It trains you to hold and suppress a man the size of Gordon Brown with little or no force. I have heard of the drug fuelled fighting orgies underneath 10 Downing Street, bare backed men hitting each other in the center of a gravel pit. The former Treasury minister, Kitty Ussher, used £16,000 in Parliamentary allowances to replace the Artex ceiling in her second home, probably due to the rumour of a bare knuckle bedroom brawl between members of the Liberal Democrat Youth wing.
Hunt has played rugby as a child, which is a lot more dangerous than just holding another child on the ground. The two boys were grappling, it was none contact – they are too young for kicking and punching. Accidents happen, but the real issue here was Jeremy Hunt’s problem with the crowd. Men gulping lager down into their gullies, laughing, sweating and eating fried crisps, while they watch two near naked boys scramble for a foothold – its too much for him to comprehend.
It was safe, refereed, medical assistance was on hand, fun, off the streets, a community center, but it was mainly an evening where two kids learnt that the government do not understand them.