Readers of this blog will know that Ieuan loves Tae Kwon Do and in just over one year has progressed to Yellow Stripe with another grading in October. He is lucky to have a fabulous teacher, Mr Joseph Schembri, 4th Dan Black Belt.
He is learning discipline, patience and how to channel his energy – particularly useful skills for young children! So it’s not surprising to read that 85% of the membership of The National Association of Karate and Martial Art Schools (NAKMAS) is children. The Association has over 65,000 members in the UK so that is quite a substantial figure!
NAKMAS has joined forced with the Martial Arts Illustrated (MAI) magazine to encourage new youngsters to join their local martial arts clubs and have produced a four-page editorial piece in the special edition ‘Grassroots’ October issue outlining the benefits of martial arts for children, as well as skills which are essential and reasons that current and former young students took up martial arts.
In the video below, Chair of NAKMAS, Joe Ellis, explains the thinking behind this collaboration to encourage grassroots participation.
“There is a whole range of benefits for children participating in martial arts classes. Not only do they encourage an increase in general fitness, strength and flexibility levels, but they can also provide discipline, focus, respectful attitude and behaviour, leadership skills and stress relief to name a few.
Of course, their key purpose is known to give them the confidence and skills to defend themselves if absolutely necessary, but martial arts give a young student so much more than that.
Many clubs focus children’s classes primarily on enjoyment.
Children are more likely to respond to learning which has a fun element, while a serious message is being taught. There are clubs suitable for everyone; so it is always worth checking out a few to get the right one for a child’s needs.”
NAKMAS is particularly concerned that students of all abilities, regardless of any special physical, emotional, social or other needs, be given the opportunity to try a martial art.
NAKMAS Director of Operations, specialist in autism education and author of Autism and Martial Arts: A Guide for Children, Parents and Teachers (ISBN: 978-0-9933142-0-9), Dr Sandra Beale-Ellis, said ‘it is heart-warming to see children and adults with low confidence for any number of reasons, train for years and eventually become confident, self-assured black belts’.
I would also add that martial arts also incredibly valuable for teens and young adults so that they can protect themselves in the unfortunate event of a physical attack. My niece, Emily, is a 2nd Dan Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do as well as being a talented filmmaker and you may like to view her short film on the subject HERE. My nephew Lloyd is also a Black Belt and his sister Georgia a Black-Stripe Belt. Needless to say, I don’t pick a fight with any of them!
If you would like to find out more about NAKMAS visit their website here.
If you live in South Wales, you can find more information about the Joseph Schembri Schools of Tae Kwo Do here.