MANILA, Philippines — Team Lakay, the top martial arts stable in the Philippines, blasted the proposal of House Bill 1526, which bans minors from engaging in full-contact competitive sports.
The bill has been met with controversy since its proposal.
“Firstly, I’d like to emphasize that martial arts and combat sports are not merely learning about fighting,” said Team Lakay headmaster Mark Sangiao. “The physical growth that you’ll rip from it is just a part of the whole picture and the most valuable part is developing attitude. We always say, ‘Start them young” and ‘Champions are made.’
“Our children need to develop character and the best time to instill this to them is at their formidable years. Let’s not miss this opportunity to help our kids to be responsible individuals in the future by not restricting them to learn and be involved in combat sports at a young age.”
Sangiao has produced several world champions in mixed martial arts including ONE strawweight champion Joshua Pacio, who took up martial arts early.
“I started martial arts at an early age, at 11 years old and it changed my life. I think when you do martial arts it’s not just about punching and kicking but it’s about developing self-discipline and attitude,” Pacio said.
“In fact, when we all learn martial arts, I mean all, from children to adult, regardless of age, I believe that Philippines will improve. Why? Because we already have that self-discipline that was developed from doing martial arts.”
Pacio and fellow MMA champion Stephen Loman said if the bill, filed by Ako Bicol Representatives Elizaldy Co and Aldredo Garbin Jr, pushes through, it will close an avenue where the youth are able to develop their character.
“Obviously, this will prohibit minors from learning different kinds of combat sports starting at young age and this means they won’t be able to evolve their skills, not only physical but also mental and emotional skill when they grow up and become adult,” Loman said. “They will not be able to try and experience enjoying this sports first hand which is important for their self-growth.”
“This bill kills that chance for us to change and grow starting from our younger years. What we should do instead is to encourage our children to learn martial arts as early as they can. It will surely develop good attitude, most especially self-discipline – that will eventually change this country,” Pacio said.