Youth Martial Art Sparks Safety Concerns In Calif.

CBS Sacramento

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The Internet video shows two elementary school-age children, wearing athletic clothes and protective gear on their shins, sparring and wrestling in an enclosed ring. There’s an audience looking on as the young fighters weave and jab, striking each other repeatedly.

The clip caught the attention of the California State Athletic Commission and a state lawmaker earlier this summer, prompting concerns about the safety of young people competing in the ancient form of martial arts known as pankration.

Pending legislation from Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, D-Concord, would authorize the athletic commission — which already oversees full-contact boxing, kickboxing and mixed martial arts for adults — to establish regulations for youth pankration competitions.

Yet some coaches and parents are wary of the legislation, which they say is too vague and could restrict competition. They say the sport has been misrepresented as more dangerous than it actually is.

Pankration, which…

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