“The gyms where violence is taught should be closed”. AND just one of the messages arrived in the editorial office (many of which cannot be published) against combat sports, commenting on the murder that shocked our community a week ago, catapulting the name of Bitonto into the headlines of crime news.
The video surveillance cameras of the service station theater of the deadly attack, and the reasons for the arrest of the alleged murderer, the 20-year-old Fabio Giampalmo from Bitonto, tell the horrible sequence of punches thrown in the face against the defenseless Paolo Caprio.
Hot reactions, cold reflections and sociological analyzes all point in the same direction: finding a culprit. Combat sports have ended in the dock, because the accusation of voluntary murder against Giampalmo is aggravated “From the use of combat techniques that could hinder private defense”. So, the easy 2 + 2: if the attacker hadn’t been an expert in boxing and martial arts, Caprio wouldn’t have died. Without the shadow of an if or a but, the gyms where these sports are taught have been put on the index as “places of violence”.
It had already happened exactly a year ago, following the murder of Willy Monteiro Duarte in Colleferro, beaten to death by “Fanatical followers of MMA”. the Mixed Martial Arts then became the scapegoat of the murderous rampage: all the media reported the photos posed in the gym of the arrested brothers. And so the mixed martial arts became the real “fault” of these subjects with a long criminal record.
Even for Giampalmo it was like this: ipcriminal offenders for drugs, receiving stolen goods and theft, at the age of only 20, took a back seat.
But isn’t sport discipline, respect for others, self-control? This is the question we posed to combat sports and martial arts experts operating in Bitonto. The answers we have gathered agree: “On the mat, as well as in the ring, the first rule is to respect the opponent”.
But outside the gyms, on the street and even at home, violence is rampant without the “filter” of teachers and instructors. It is the mechanism that animates many video games in which you compete to hit and eliminate, without mercy and with no holds barred. Games that parents do not veto, because everyone plays them a lot. And they are the same parents who, looking out in a martial arts gym, are not ashamed to specify the reason for their choice: “My son must learn to defend himself”.
But it is precisely here, in the thin line that marks the boundary between defense and offense, that the game is played between aggression and reaction, between life and death.
The facts of the news say it: boys from “good families”, some who have never entered the gym, who go wild in the disco, justified by alcohol. Unsuspected turned into bullies, who mainly act in packs. A violence that smolders under the ashes of appearance, under the veneer of education.
So, are combat sports and gyms really the problem?
“No rules is a lie. In karate for example – explains an expert at BitontoLive – even just touching the opponent’s face is prohibited. It does not strike to break down. What we teach is exactly the opposite of indiscriminate violence, we teach to limit excesses and to help the weakest, the least experienced, the smallest. My first question to an aspiring student is: why do you want to do karate? If it’s for offense, then you can turn around and walk away. I teach fair play, respect, help. On the mat, my students must behave according to the rules. I cannot be blamed for how they behave outside, because otherwise the school and the family would also have to be blamed ”.
And speaking of the growing interest, especially among the very young, for MMA, another expert specifies to BitontoLive: “It is not true that everything is allowed. In amateur MMA you can only hit in the face with controlled blows and protections, and knees and elbows are excluded. This is the sport of the moment, because it has become very commercial and publicized. The idea that passes is that it is a sport where you hit badly, without rules. But those looking for blood in televised MMA fights are often disappointed because tactics prevail over aggression. Then there are the clandestine fighting, and there it is a whole other story: no limits and blind violence. But on the Internet you can find everything, there are also video tutorials that teach you to hit the vital points ”. Yet there is no censorship against this boundless virtual gym of violence, where one click is enough to enter, directly from the bedroom of the house.
“Over combat sports – reiterates a master – the students are educated to divert the negative energies accumulated in daily life inside the gym, in a protected perimeter where they can download fears and frustrations. Fighting becomes even therapeutic ”.
“Who trains in the gym, under the expert guidance of a master – adds – does not become a picchiatore. We do not train in violence but we teach to dominate it ”.
The toxins of violence are not in the gym but outside, in the rampant intolerance and rudeness, in the fights for a parking lot, in the out-of-control insults that poison social media, in that recurring comment against the aggressor in prison: “Throw away the key. One less ”.