On Sunday February 18th, the novice kids sparring team got their feet wet in the Inaugural “Canada Youth Movement” Event, hosted by Kombat Arts and Milton Muay Thai. This was a light contact exhibition event sanctioned by Muay Thai Ontario (MTO)- the first of its kind.
“Hockey has minor leagues without hitting till 12 yrs of age. Baseball has teeball. Football, basketball and soccer have all sorts of developmental programs. Muaythai in Canada doesn’t have anything. How do we compete against countries with athletes that have 50-60-100 + fights by the time they’re 20 years old, while our athletes only have average 20+ or less experience? This initiative was started to try and get our athletes on an even level playing field with other countries. How do we do that? We start from the grassroots up. Majority of parents are iffy about having their kids compete in combat sports. With that in mind, we take the burden of nervousness and create a safe environment and overall experience.
Does light contact affect their experience?
No. This is the beauty of our events. Its all light contact, without the use of headstrikes or judges. Therefore, the kids gain plenty of experience. They get to work on balance, agility, coordination, timing, distancing, and speed, all without having to worry about headstrikes, and concussions to their developing brains.
Proceeds from the CYM will be donated to Muaythai Ontario to help fund the youth Muaythai Team representing Muaythai Ontario and more importantly, Team Canada. International events are costly. Where most countries get full funding from their government, our Canadian teams have to personally fund themselves. “ – Canada Youth Movement’s Kru Rommel Oliveros
York Muay Thai sent 6 novice athletes to practice their Muay Thai in these bouts. An amazing high five goes out to Cristian, Gabryel, Alyssa, Jaiden, Sophia and Jamie!!
We would also like to give thanks to the parents, who were supportive and understanding throughout. A shout out must go to all of the assistants who volunteer their time to help us with each class. Last but not least, a huge thanks to PC Eugenia and Osvaldo for their hard work. As of writing this, I (Kru Cam), am beyond proud of watching our kids have this experience, and I couldn’t have done it without you.
For every Muay Thai champion that gets produced, there are hundreds of other kids out there who simply need to be doing something other than sitting around or getting into trouble. And the champions… well, they usually find themselves in martial arts for the same reason too. A huge part of young kids training should be about building skills that they can use to persevere through difficult situations outside of the gym. Whether it’s giving a presentation, creating a unique project, or learning how to respond to an unexpected mishap gracefully…martial arts should sharpen the tools they use to deal with such challenges.
At this event, I was happy to see my kids practice two important skills. The first was learning to listen to instructions, during a pressure and time sensitive situation. The second was to work through adrenaline and do something that made them nervous, in front of a crowd. EVERY one of our kids made me beyond proud, as I saw them building these skills in real time.
I want to thank Kru Rommel, Kru Joey and MTO for facilitating a super safe light contact event for these youngsters. It was a great opportunity for them to practice their Muay Thai, and these important skills, without having to worry about getting hurt. Some may go on to do full contact matches, others may just keep training for the love of it. Everyone walked away with the experience of a lifetime.