By Grace Sim/Red Sports
If you think that wrestling is violent and not a sport for the young, you are twice mistaken. For 11-year-olds Baven Oh and Daniel Moritz, wrestling is not just simply tumbles and fun, but a lesson of control and respect.
Baven piped energetically: “I love wrestling because you learn techniques and you get to socialize as well. It’s not like WWE where there’s a lot of blood. A lot of people have misconceptions.”
His 13-year-old brother, Maximilian Oh, added: “Unlike other sports like boxing, [in wrestling] you control your energy, it’s not so violent and rough.”
Every Saturday morning, the Oh siblings arrive at Top Gym to learn basic wrestling techniques incorporated into fun games. The Kids Class is a satellite training programme designed for seven to 14 year olds, and is organized by the Wrestling Federation of Singapore and endorsed by the Singapore Sports Council.
It was easy to be fooled by the pint-size kids standing no taller than 150cm. They managed basic grappling and rolling techniques which when the sequences were combined, evolved into complex looking maneuvers that can subdue bigger counterparts. Under the watchful guidance of the instructors, the kids wrestled over the padded arena, learnt the art of control and turning defense into offense without any need for striking.
For Bob Oh, sending his children to learn wrestling has a lot to do with mutual respect and tolerance.
Bob said: “It’s a very technical sport and very different from the other [combat] sports. In this sport you don’t learn to hit somebody. You learn to subdue the person and you rely more on strategy.”
Despite his young age, Daniel Moritz has won several medals from junior wrestling competitions.
The 5th grader from Singapore American School exclaimed: “[Wrestling] is mostly grapples and stuff. It makes my muscles strong. When I first came here, I was wrestling all these guys that were bigger than me and I thought couldn’t beat them. But after I got more experience, [I realized] I can do this.”
Daniel’s father, David Moritz, has been very supportive of his son’s involvement in the sport.
Aside from it being his favourite sport in the past, David revealed: “Wrestling is a great sport for kids to learn. It develops the coordination, the strength, not only the body but the mental strength.”
He further explained that physical one-on-one combats are more engaging as they require a maintained intensity throughout the wrestle due to the proximity, thereby building mental toughness. David also commended the coach, Gabriel Huang and his assistants, for being very committed to the programme in developing athletes for the national level.
Indeed, the sport is steadily gaining recognition in the local scene. Huang commented on the rising popularity of the programme since its inception two years back.
“When we started out we had four students, now we have 16 to 20 [in the Kids Class]. We are also starting out more satellite centres around Singapore,” said Huang.
Internationally however, the wrestling world recently suffered a major setback after it was announced that the sport will be withdrawn from the Olympics. Wrestling is one of the best represented sports at the Olympics, with competitors from 71 countries at London 2012. The community was taken aback and the boys were particularly riled up by the news.
Bevan defended wrestling, saying: “It’s a good sport to have fun to, and relieve your stress. It’ll be good if they could continue it in the Olympics. I hope YOG won’t remove it too. If we do well now and we turn into teenagers, we might be able to go YOG. And if wrestling stays in Olympics, we might be able to go there too!”
Contrary to popular belief, wrestling is a highly technical sport and a far cry from the stunts portrayed on television’s WWE. The sport is low cost to pick up and does not require additional equipment to learn. In fact, when it comes to technicalities and the art of self defense, it is never too young to start.
Wrestling Kids Class Satellite Centres
Every Sat 10am – 11.30am at Top Gym Singapore (50 Macpherson Rd, Level 8) or
Every Tues 4.30pm – 6.30pm at Jurong Outdoor Futsal Centre (4, Fourth Chin Bee Rd)
Ages: 7 to 14 years old
Contact: +65 62804748
Email: [email protected]
For more information, go to: http://www.singaporewrestling.com/
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