4 Terrifying Children's Hobbies From Around the World
As we've previously noted, children possess a level of preternatural badassery that most of us forget as we grow up and learn that the entire physical world is not made of pillows and trampolines. Here's a group of children who should make you feel shame the next time the bogeyman of common sense prevents you from attempting to lift a car over your head.
The No-Fucks-Given Adventures of Crocodile Dundee Jr.
At the tender age of 3 years old, Australian young'un Charlie Parker spends his days hanging out with his best friend. This sounds like a pretty normal routine for a preschooler, until we mention that his best friend is an 8-foot-long boa constrictor named Pablo who likely possesses the capacity to swallow him for laughs.
If the dinosaurs ever return, this kid is our only hope.
He also enjoys wrangling with baby alligators for fun. Why does this child's peer group apparently consist solely of reptiles? Parker -- who is not to be confused with the long-dead heroin-addicted sax pioneer of the same name -- has a father who owns the Ballarat Wildlife Park near Melbourne. His dad claims that he doesn't encourage his wee Beastmaster in training, but that his son gravitates toward hanging out with cold-blooded playmates.
Still, this looks safer than playing in one of those old wooden jungle gyms.
Nature versus nurture arguments aside, we now sort of wish somebody had handed us a Burmese python before we learned to read, instead of that rat bastard Teddy Ruxpin (who, to the best of our knowledge, has never been seen swallowing an entire goat corpse whole). And speaking of such herpetological topics ...
Children Who Charm Snakes Before They Can Read
The brain is exceptionally malleable between birth and 3 years old. Some multilingual parents attempt to turn their babies into pint-size polyglots during this time, whereas India's nomadic Vadi tribe goes a slightly different route and teaches their kids to charm venomous serpents. And they do so by plopping their youngsters in the midst of cobras. It's just like hazing day at Slytherin House.
This little girl just earned Cobra Commander's title.
For a Vadi child, a decade's worth of snake-charming training kicks off when he or she turns 2 years old. In keeping with sacred, millennium-old traditions, the boys are taught to charm the snakes, whereas the girls learn to keep the cobras and other snakes happy and healthy. Some of you may be scoffing that the Vadi are just teaching the girls to play house, but come on -- this take on house would fill Indiana Jones' chinos with last night's pot roast.
We've never said this before, but lion tamers are total pussbaskets.
Elementary School Sumo Wrestlers
Growing up as a fat kid sucks, but some Japanese primary school students are able to use their big-bonedness to kick the living crap out of their peers, all in the name of culture and ancient tradition. Children's sumo tournaments can attract thousands of wannabe Yokozunas, all looking to catch the eye of a scout who'll whisk them away to a sumo stable for training. That is, napping, people slapping each other, and drinking a shit-ton of beer. It's like the average American Thanksgiving, every day.
OK, maybe with slightly less fighting.
This being sumo, there are no weight classes, so much larger sumo hopefuls can easily wedgie tinier opponents into unconsciousness. But technique is paramount in sumo, so there are upsets, such as the triumphant fourth grader seen below, whose victory swagger is a dead ringer for that of Leonardo DiCaprio.
We're tempted to say Leo is ripping THIS kid off.
Li'l Thai Kickboxers
Do you remember ever getting into a fight as a kid? It probably amounted to a spastic fit of pinwheel arms, and an adult stopped it the minute someone got punched in the junk. Welcome to the completely opposite end of that spectrum, where frighteningly athletic Thai children spar for money in muay thai competitions.
Yes, somewhere in Thailand, there is an 8-year-old living the plot of every Jean-Claude Van Damme movie ever made. (Except maybe Timecop -- to the best of our knowledge, actual kickboxers have yet to divine both the mysteries of time travel and JCVD's 1990s power mullet.)
But by God, they're trying.
Just as sumo is part and parcel of Japan's cultural identity, muay thai is Thailand's national sport, with budding fighters (who often hail from poor rural villages) starting their training as early as 6 or 7. But these bouts aren't on the same level as Little League -- they're community events that are just as full-contact as adult muay thai fights, gamblers bet on the tiny pugilists, and children will earn money off of these matches to financially support their gyms and families. The whole system is so brutal and crazy that these kids can barely appreciate that they can easily wallop grown men thrice their age.
We may have a solution to America's obesity and entertainment crises.