Kickboxing and Muay Thai legend John Wayne Parr is in what we know to be his retirement year and he has not only been incredibly active, but he has always been training his 8 year old daughter, Jasmine in the art of muay thai as well. There was quite a stir over the weekend as Parr's daughter had her first kickboxing bout in Australia against a fellow youngster and the media there has decided that eight is simply too young to participate in such "brutal" sports.
JWP has spent the last few days defending his choice to let his daughter fight and has been faced with the most criticism of his long, storied career. This of course comes across as ridiculous to me, after watching a video of Millionaire Manhoef, age 9, in a bout in the Netherlands from a few weeks ago. I don't think that 8 is too young to be involved in a contact sport, nor do parents and athletes who participated in youth sports growing up, the simple fact is that a sport that involves this level of contact makes people uncomfortable.
When I was 7 I was playing baseball for the first time and on my second practice a line drive came at me quickly while I was drawing a sword in the sand with the tip of my shoe, by the time I realized it was coming it was too late and the ball smashed me in the face, taking out one of my front teeth and leaving me dazed for about twenty seconds. What struck me as funny was that injury from baseball was far more serious than anything I suffered when I took up Kenpo two years later and began sparring after about a year of practicing. American Football, Soccer and any other sport children play can be equally as violent, if not more violent than muay thai.
I think if people want to criticize children in Muay Thai that they should take a long, hard look at traditional sports and some of the injuries kids receive every season in these sports, as long as the proper precautions are taking place, let the kids do what they love.