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Boxing: great sport or senseless violence?

Enter here to explore ethical issues and discuss the meaning and source of morality.

What do you think about boxing?

Great sport - I have no problem with it
3
13%
It's a sport that I have serious reservations about
6
25%
It should be discontinued as a professional sport
15
63%
 
Total votes: 24

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Nick
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Re: Boxing: great sport or senseless violence?

#41 Post by Nick » December 22nd, 2007, 5:33 pm

Latest post of the previous page:

St Stephen was a boxer, was he?

DougS
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Re: Boxing: great sport or senseless violence?

#42 Post by DougS » December 23rd, 2007, 2:51 pm

Lucretius wrote:
Why do you think the referee stops the match when a boxer is getting to on top of another boxer. If it looks like one of the fighters is getting too much of a beating and he can no longer defend himself, the fight is stopped. The safety precautions I assume are so people don't get seriously hurt or even killed. I need to explain this?
My point is that, regardless of what referees do, boxers very frequently get seriously hurt and injured so the safety precautions are ineffective. That is why the BMA is opposed to boxing and it remains a controversial issue.

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Alan H
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Re: Boxing: great sport or senseless violence?

#43 Post by Alan H » April 19th, 2008, 5:28 pm

In today's Times, from their Chief Sports writer:
http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/dav ... iples.html
Punching heads? It’s a no-brainer
Simon Barnes, Chief sports writer

The idea of boxing is to punch somebody in the head. This is a bad idea: the head happens to contain the brain, and that, in the immortal words of Woody Allen, is my second-favourite organ.

The aim of any boxing match is to cause more permanent brain damage in your opponent than you yourself sustain. There is no such thing as temporary brain damage.

Boxing is unacceptable: but not because it is dangerous. I take part in risky sports myself on a more or less daily basis. When people get injured or killed in the horsey sports or motor sports or while climbing, yachting or skydiving, it is because things have gone horribly wrong. When people get killed in boxing, it’s because things have gone horribly right.

You might just about make a case for the right of people to take part in boxing by mutual consent and in full knowledge of the risks: but that doesn’t make it a legitimate public spectacle. I don’t really have a moral problem with boxers: but I do have a moral problem with the audience.

All boxers are exposed to two forms of brain damage: the traumatic kind, when a man is stretchered from the ring, and the subtle and cumulative kind that is punch-drunk syndrome.

The brain is a rum thing: it’s not just about what you do, it’s also about what you are. I don’t think that damaging your brain is a terribly smart idea, and I don’t find it amusing to watch people damaging each other’s brains.

It’s not a question of squeamishness or risk-aversion or aesthetics or snobbery. Rather, it is a belief that the brain is quite an important bit of kit. I don’t really think that the deliberate smashing up of brains is appropriate as a form of public entertainment in the 21st century.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

Ted Harvey
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Re: Boxing: great sport or senseless violence?

#44 Post by Ted Harvey » April 21st, 2008, 11:55 am

I really enjoy boxing. There is a primitive gladiatorial element and sheer physicality that makes it enthralling for many of us. As for folks who have seen it on the telly and find that repulsive, you don’t want to experience a live boxing event – some years ago I was at a boxing dinner when our table ended up speckled with boxers’ blood and we were a good few metres from the ring :sick: .

Nevertheless, I accept the arguments for a ban of anything other than the lightest forms of non-injurious boxing. My reason for accepting the argument is essentially the accumulation of medical evidence – especially on allowing any deliberate and aggressive punching to the head.

I’m also willing to accept that simply because I enjoy something and that I choose on a basis of informed choice to participate in it, are neither a sufficient basis on which to construct arguments about banning being an infringement of liberty or a denial of my human rights etc. We should all be capable of accepting constraints on our extent of individual choice and untrammeled liberty if there is a sufficiently demonstrated greater public good to be gained.

I cannot help but notice that spurious arguments about liberty and choice are mostly deployed by people who have no real interest in collective liberty or freedom of choice, but in fact are pushing for the very opposite; they want to go on doing whatever they want no matter what the costs or offence to others. The debate over the smoking ban is of course the most recent example. Incidentally, I anticipate that we are approaching a similar, albeit very long-term debate over freedoms to consume alcohol to excess in the UK.

I don’t now think much of a pro-boxing argument that I once supported. This was that boxing was a good ‘diversionary’ activity that disciplined and channeled aggression in young men. Leaving aside the inconvenient truth that it is among young women that the current growth lies, I now see this as an incomplete argument. If you do believe in diversion and disciplined outlets, then surely the aim must be not for ‘managed voilence’ but for non-violent and creative outcomes? (aka James Boyle?)

Another, but secondary, argument against boxing is the organised criminality ethos that seems to fester around it. I’ve even experienced an atmosphere of low level, unsolicited, but unmistakable aggression among boxing fans at matches :shock:

Gambling is much the same; I was among many who actively lobbied against the unbelievably stupid strategy of Glasgow City Council to bid for one of the super casinos to be based in the city – for all sorts of social and law and order reasons Glasgow needed that like the sore head a bad boxing match can give you.

So all in all I’d say I love the boxing but ban it (what about a match of ten rounds at 3 minutes as a decider?) Then I could take you to a match before the ban comes in :wink: .

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Lifelinking
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Re: Boxing: great sport or senseless violence?

#45 Post by Lifelinking » April 21st, 2008, 12:58 pm

Image



great idea Ted. There is really only one way to settle this...




Fight!
"Who thinks the law has anything to do with justice? It's what we have because we can't have justice."
William McIlvanney

Ted Harvey
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Re: Boxing: great sport or senseless violence?

#46 Post by Ted Harvey » April 21st, 2008, 1:21 pm

:laughter: :laughter: :laughter:

TheDude
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Re: Boxing: great sport or senseless violence?

#47 Post by TheDude » April 22nd, 2008, 1:22 pm

I quite enjoy watching boxing, I like one on one sports/games more than team sports/games. Whether its boxing, chess, or when poker matches go heads-up. I'm also looking forward to the Judo in the olympics. I also enjoy the primitive physicality of boxing, i've even been known to watch mixed martial arts, which if you don't like boxing you would be truly disgusted by. But even if I didn't like it I would not feel comfortable telling two people they cannot engage in it, I don't agree with this notion that the law should be employed to protect people from their own decisions, so i'm for it until i'm shown that boxing has negative consequences for those not involved in it.

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Parapraxis
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Re: Boxing: great sport or senseless violence?

#48 Post by Parapraxis » April 23rd, 2008, 10:01 pm

I'm in two minds about this. One could argue they are only harming themselves, if they are consenting adults, what of it? However on the other hand, I do not regard any socially sanctioned forms of violence entirely wise.
The poster formerly known as "Electric Angel"

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Alan H
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Re: Boxing: great sport or senseless violence?

#49 Post by Alan H » February 5th, 2009, 10:49 am

Dredged this one up to post this, from today's Scotsman:
********************************************************************************
An Open Letter to.... Joe Calzaghe - The Scotsman
http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/comment ... 4948370.jp
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

An Open Letter to.... Joe Calzaghe

Published Date: 05 February 2009
The champion boxer has said he would like to see his sport introduced into school PE lessons, as a way of helping to prevent youngsters getting involved in knife crime
Dear Joe,

I READ with interest your suggestion earlier this week that children should be taught to box at school to help prevent them from turning to knife crime.

"Hopefully in the future," you said, "if you bring back boxing to schools like they used to, those problems (ie knife crime] wouldn't happen."

I can certainly see where you're coming from with this: some recent boxing initiatives have been incredibly successful in getting troubled youngsters off the streets. Particularly impressive is the Haringey Police and Community Amateur Boxing Club, run by former police boxing champion PC Gerry Willmott. Since it was established ten years ago, 90 young offenders in that London borough have become members and to date not one of them has fallen foul of the law.

However, boxing is undeniably a dangerous sport, and there's a whole world of difference between offering training to young people who want it and making pugilism part of the PE curriculum at schools up and down the land.

As I'm sure you are aware, the British Medical Association, which represents 84 per cent of doctors in the UK, has been campaigning to have boxing banned since 1982. Although it doesn't cause as many deaths per year as some other pursuits (horse racing, sky diving, mountaineering and scuba diving), the BMA says the sport is still a major concern because of its capacity to cause chronic brain damage. (The American Medical Association says this affects three out of four boxers who have more than 20 professional fights.) The BMA also objects to boxing on the grounds that it is the only high-risk sport in which the primary purpose is to cause physical harm to an opponent – not a very positive message to teach in schools, when you put it like that.

True, some changes have been made to professional boxing in the past 20 years in an attempt to make it safer: title fights have been reduced from 15 rounds to a maximum of 12 and the medical care at the ringside has been stepped up. These days a doctor is always on duty and an ambulance stands by to take any seriously damaged boxer straight to the nearest neurosurgical unit.

But none of this alters the fact that getting thumped in the head isn't very good for your brain – particularly if the brain in question is still growing and developing (medical evidence suggests that key brain-growth continues well into the teenage years). This is why the BMA is particularly concerned with preventing children from entering the sport, and why it is campaigning to make it illegal for under-16s to box.

You're right about one thing, Joe: the current knife-crime epidemic is a huge problem – I'm just not convinced that having the nation's schoolchildren punch each other repeatedly in the head every Wednesday afternoon is the best way to go about solving it.


All the best,

Roger Cox

[Retrieved: Thu Feb 05 2009 10:47:17 GMT+0000 (GMT Standard Time)]

###################
Is boxing good for kids and should it be taught at school?
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Paolo
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Re: Boxing: great sport or senseless violence?

#50 Post by Paolo » February 5th, 2009, 11:51 am

Is boxing good for kids? It makes them physically active, there is a lot of training and diet becomes important, most of boxing is not actually fighting someone but getting into good physical shape. The fighting part might cause some damage, but most boxing is unlike what we see in big professional fights - peolple use headguards and a different grade of gloves.

Violence is part of human nature - denying it doesn't make it go away. Boxing therefore has its place. I think that schools should make boxing available for those who want an outlet for their aggression (something that teenage boys can have a lot of).

Boxing is better than a fight in the street - it has rules and controls and, importantly, protective equipment. It also teaches a degree of responsibility and helps develop an ethos of working hard to improve at something. Moreover, learning how to box gives you instruction from a more experienced person who should be able to explain exactly what damage can be done to yourself through fighting, something that it's better to avoid learning from experience.

Other school sports can also be dangerous - rugby, hockey etc., but because they are nice middle-class sports no-one really cares. Boxing is a working class sport, undertaken and enjoyed by working class people, therefore it gets bad press.

Kids can choose to have a fight after school, where they can cause each other serious harm - if they were encouraged to take it into the ring the fight would be safer and more constructive.

Fia
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Re: Boxing: great sport or senseless violence?

#51 Post by Fia » February 5th, 2009, 3:07 pm

Paolo wrote: Kids can choose to have a fight after school, where they can cause each other serious harm - if they were encouraged to take it into the ring the fight would be safer and more constructive.
Surely a more constructive way of dealing with anger and disagreements is to learn to manage the emotion and talk it through? Encouraging a fight in however controlled an environment still sends the message that violence is ok. To my mind it is not. Period.

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Alan H
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Re: Boxing: great sport or senseless violence?

#52 Post by Alan H » February 5th, 2009, 3:45 pm

Fia wrote:
Paolo wrote:Surely a more constructive way of dealing with anger and disagreements is to learn to manage the emotion and talk it through? Encouraging a fight in however controlled an environment still sends the message that violence is ok. To my mind it is not. Period.
Even Judo or Karate would be better than boxing and provide the same benefits of training, fitness, self control, etc without punching someone.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Paolo
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Re: Boxing: great sport or senseless violence?

#53 Post by Paolo » February 5th, 2009, 4:04 pm

Sorry Fia, but you've never been a teenage boy, so you really don't have a very good understanding of what it's like. As you grow into manhood your body is flooded with testosterone that you're not used to and you become far stronger than you were before. Behavioural changes are triggered by the hormones and it is quite normal to become short-tempered and physically rough as you deal with the psychological and physical changes. Most importantly you want to test your limits and understand how you measure up to other lads of the same age and size - this often leads to fighting (usually just messing around, but sometimes it goes too far or is motivated by something else).

I reserve my opinions about changes in the behaviour of females as they deal with hormonal changes (monthly or over a lifetime), I simply acknowledge that they happen and I need to take account of the facts of the situation - after all, I don't know what it's like but I have to live with the consequences. Boxing is a way for boys to have an outlet for the consequences of adolescence and that makes it a good thing in my book. I didn't have the opportunity to box as a teenager (although I did other martial arts) and I don't give a fig about watching professional boxing, but I know exactly how it felt to be a young man needing to test my strength.

To my mind violence is something that will always happen and it's best if it can be directed into something structured rather than being allowed to occur at random and involve innocent bystanders like yourself.

As to Judo and Karate - they are much the same. You still get punched in karate, but you also get kicked and as for judo, getting thrown on the floor or put in a strangle-hold can still be pretty dangerous. Nearly all non-professional boxing fights are won on points rather than knockouts. Change the rules to disallow head punches and then the danger in boxing drops considerably - I'd certainly agree with that ban.

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Emma Woolgatherer
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Re: Boxing: great sport or senseless violence?

#54 Post by Emma Woolgatherer » February 5th, 2009, 4:19 pm

Paolo wrote:Violence is part of human nature - denying it doesn't make it go away. Boxing therefore has its place. I think that schools should make boxing available for those who want an outlet for their aggression (something that teenage boys can have a lot of).
I don't accept your premise or follow your logic here, Paolo. One might present an argument for not banning boxing, but to make it available in schools is to promote and encourage it, not merely to allow something to happen in a controlled environment that would have happened anyway.

I'm not sure what you mean by "Violence is part of human nature". If that's true, it's only trivially true. I certainly don't think that aggression is something that all of us (or even all young males) carry around inside and have to find an outlet for in order to avoid channeling it in an inappropriate way. At least, I can't find any evidence to support that. Athletic Insight, the Online Journal of Sport Psychology, has a relevant article, called "Self-reported hostile aggression in contact athletes, no contact athletes and non-athletes". The study did not find any evidence that sporting activity either fostered aggression or provided a safe outlet for it. The sports they covered were (American) football, rugby, basketball and soccer (contact), and baseball, volleyball, track and golf (non-contact). They found that aggression levels were higher in contact athletes than non-contact ones, but then contact athletes were bigger than non-contact ones. They also found that the bigger non-athletes were more aggressive than the smaller non-athletes, but contact athletes were no more and no less aggressive than non-athletes of comparable size. I believe there have also been several other studies debunking the idea that venting anger or aggression reduces violent behaviour (e.g. Carol Tavris, Brad Bushman). Still, if you know of any research that indicates otherwise, do let me know.
Paolo wrote:Other school sports can also be dangerous - rugby, hockey etc., but because they are nice middle-class sports no-one really cares. Boxing is a working class sport, undertaken and enjoyed by working class people, therefore it gets bad press.
You may be right. But I think most people see a distinction between boxing and those other sports because the purpose of boxing is to punch your opponent into submission while with those other sports the violence is an incidental side effect. And I understand that boxing causes more brain damage than other sports. (Although it doesn't cause the most deaths; horse racing gets that honour.)
Paolo wrote:Kids can choose to have a fight after school, where they can cause each other serious harm - if they were encouraged to take it into the ring the fight would be safer and more constructive.
Safer, perhaps. But in what way would it be constructive? Nah, I'm with Fia on this one. There must be better ways of helping teenage boys to control their aggression.

Emma

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jaywhat
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Re: Boxing: great sport or senseless violence?

#55 Post by jaywhat » February 5th, 2009, 4:24 pm

Girls box as well, but I am against it all even though I did it at school and in the forces.

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Emma Woolgatherer
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Re: Boxing: great sport or senseless violence?

#56 Post by Emma Woolgatherer » February 5th, 2009, 4:38 pm

There used to be a boxer with the same name as me. But she seems to have disappeared now. I hope she's given it up.

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Paolo
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Re: Boxing: great sport or senseless violence?

#57 Post by Paolo » February 5th, 2009, 4:48 pm

I wouldn't dream of speaking on behalf of all young males, we all respond differently to the hormonal changes that occur whilst going through puberty.

Interesting study - I will take a look to see if I can find others that are a bit more relevant. I would agree that contact sports do not provide a particular outlet for aggression, since aggressive behaviour is heavily suppressed and penalised in the sports listed. Perhaps they should have considered ice-hockey, where fighting is a much more accepted part of the game, or even boxing or another martial art.

On the note about brain damage, you will note that this "statistic" is reported only for professional fights, where the head guards that are used as standard kit in amatuer fights are not used. Rather like looking at brain damage occurances from motor bike accidents - it's a lot more scary if you only report the cases where the helmet was not worn.

As much as anything, boxing clubs provide a social environment - something that a lot of kids could benefit from.

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Paolo
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Re: Boxing: great sport or senseless violence?

#58 Post by Paolo » February 5th, 2009, 5:24 pm

Emma Woolgatherer wrote:
Paolo wrote:Violence is part of human nature - denying it doesn't make it go away.
...
I'm not sure what you mean by "Violence is part of human nature". If that's true, it's only trivially true. I certainly don't think that aggression is something that all of us (or even all young males) carry around inside and have to find an outlet for in order to avoid channeling it in an inappropriate way.
You're right, agression is part of human nature - violence is a potential outcome of aggression, particularly in males (Coie & Dodge 1997; Maccoby & Jacklin 1974; Bjorkqvist, 1993; Booth & Mazur, 1998).

According to the National Association of School Psychologists "'Overly aggressive behavior can signify a social skills deficit" (NASP). So getting a child who is aggressive and who lacks social skills to take part in something that appeals to their need for an outlet for aggression, is not team based (thus not demanding set of skills that is weak) but offers a degree of social interaction and fraternity (as school clubs do) it seems that something like boxing will actually be beneficial for kids who normally would fall through the cracks.

Berkowitz, L. 1993. Aggression: Its causes, consequences, and control. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
Bjorkqvist, K. 1994. Sex differences in physical, verbal, and indirect aggression: a review of recent research. Sex Roles: A Journal of Research.
Booth, A. & Mazur, A. 1998. Testosterone and dominance in men. Behavioral and Brain Sciences.
Coie, J. D. & Dodge, K. A. 1997. Aggression and antisocial behavior. In W. Damon & N. Eisenberg (Eds). Handbook of Child Psychology, Vol. 3: Social, emotional and personality development.
Maccoby. E. E. & Jacklin. C.N. 1974. The psychology of sex differences, Stanford: Stanford University Press.
NASP: http://nasponline.org/

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Alan C.
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Re: Boxing: great sport or senseless violence?

#59 Post by Alan C. » February 5th, 2009, 7:26 pm

With regards to young males and aggression/violence, I have four brothers and of the five of us only two were fighters/aggressive/or violent (I don't know which category they would be in) one brother would think he hadn't had a good night out if it didn't end with a fight (usually with someone from a neighboring town)

The other brother served nine years for attempted murder, following a hammer attack on a guy selling drugs at the village school gate.

Myself............The only time I was ever aggressive was on the rugby field (league Nick, not that girls game known as union :smile: )Sorry folks private joke.

So just 2 out of 5, maybe the testosterone/young male thingy isn't as bad as it's being made out to be.

As for boxing being the only sport where you deliberately try to damage (for want of a better word) your opponent, that's nonsense, at school in the 60s yes.....we were taught to tackle round the legs, but on leaving school and playing top class amature rugby league, you are told to "hit" him round the waist or round the chest, and hit him so hard that he takes no further part in the game.
The same must be true of other contact sports.

Casualty at the West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven, used to be full every Saturday afternoon with both rugby players and footballers, very few of them had been injured accidently.
Abstinence Makes the Church Grow Fondlers.

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Paolo
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Re: Boxing: great sport or senseless violence?

#60 Post by Paolo » February 5th, 2009, 7:48 pm

2 out of 5 is not statistically significant, although if it was then it would mean 40% of young men display violent/aggressive behaviour. That's a lot Alan!

I avoided trouble when I was a lad, but I still had a strong need for a physical outlet during my development. I used to go to my local woods, find a dead tree and then smash it down or uproot it using my bare hands or booted feet. Sometimes it would take hours and I would be a mass of bruises, grazes and cuts, but it certainly left me feeling calm and satisfied. My friends and I would also spend hours fighting each other - either wrestling or fighting with sticks, catapults, axes, spears and eventually swords. It was all good natured (although it led to hospital on several occasions) and it was an effective way to test our strength and gain confidence.

Most kids don't have either the freedom or the resources to do that sort of thing. If a kid is seen walking to their local wood with a spear or axe these days they would probably be arrested! The nanny state has us living in a paranoid bubble that always assumes the worst about people and their intentions. Something like a school boxing club would allow those kids that wanted a robust physical outlet to have one that was supervised and in a controlled environment.

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Alan C.
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Re: Boxing: great sport or senseless violence?

#61 Post by Alan C. » February 5th, 2009, 8:41 pm

Paolo
Most kids don't have either the freedom or the resources to do that sort of thing. If a kid is seen walking to their local wood with a spear or axe these days they would probably be arrested!
I agree, we used to go to the woods with a rope and sheath knives, (everybody had one) the wood was (is) on a steeply sloping bank, we would use the rope to make a swing from a tree branch, and then play "knifey" the object of the game was to see who could swing furthest out over the road below, thus enabeling them to stick the knife highest up the bank on the return, happy days.
Anybody else know of this game?
Abstinence Makes the Church Grow Fondlers.

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