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Subject [Voices of Youth] Voices of the Participants from the 3rd Martial Arts Open School

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  • Date
    2020-06-08

Photo from the 3rd Martial Arts Open School project, Accra Girls Senior High School, Ghana


Martial Arts Open School provides regular martial arts classes to youth and women in developing countries and the African region. It aims to contribute in the physical and psychological development of both the instructors and the students, increasing their social participation capacity, and constructing a foundation for martial arts education.

 

 

<Effects of Martial Arts on Youth and Women - from my own experience> 


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My very first martial arts learning experience

My martial art encounter at school was not very easy for me since it was my first time doing it but with determination, hard work, and with the help of my instructors I was able to pull through. Eventually I even earned myself a yellow belt. I feel proud to be able to have put myself out there and learn something new. Gone are the days when I was scared to go somewhere because I might be bullied, or to walk through dark places or roads because I would either get robbed or harassed because now I am confident that I can protect myself in times of trouble. Everybody should have the opportunity to be able to learn martial arts because it really helps and gives great benefit to those involved in it.

Positive effects of martial arts

Martial arts have helped me enhance my abilities as a student beyond just physical and athletic aspects. It has helped me to build my self-esteem and confidence. It has also helped me build upon my focus and learn self-defense, self-control and discipline. We live in an era where a lot of bad things happen to people, especially girls. Things like bullying, rape and harassment, armed robbery, etc. Due to such things I was unable to go to certain places or even go out at night to buy something because I was scared of either getting bullied or hurt, but since martial arts entered my life I have the confidence to do what I want because I can defend myself from all these atrocities.

Significant role of martial arts on African youth and women

Martial arts can play a positive role for African youth and women. Day in day out, we witness on the news of how someone becomes a victim of a cruel incident. All these can be reduced if martial arts are introduced in our schools and educational centers not just as a recreational activity but as a course where each and every boy or girl is entitled to learn in order to have self- confidence and also defend him or herself from any danger that perceives his or her way. In this COVID-19 situation, martial arts as a physical exercise can help build and boost the immune system rendering African youth and women strong, to fight the corona virus pandemic.


<A Rise in Confidence>

 

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Bullying is a very prominent and unfortunate experience that many people will either witness or become victims in their lifetimes. Being part of martial arts can give people the strength and confidence they need to stand up to these negative individuals.

 


When I first decided to train and start my martial arts journey, I had no idea what to expect. I can proudly say that starting martial arts was the best decision of my life. The Martial Arts Open School, has taught me how to defend myself. But more importantly, it made me feel assertive and courageous.

 
This is because I learnt how to respond to confrontations with confidence, and even diffuse potentially unfriendly situations without any aggression or physical contact. Knowing that I can defend myself in a compromising situation has enabled me to walk through life with confidence, and take control of life to prevent emotional abuse that could last a lifetime.


Possessing self-confidence is the number one way for a child to be able to stand up for him or herself in any threatening situation. Through martial arts, people will learn that not all conflicts have to be physical. They will possess the mature mindset to tackle any conflict with assurance and pride.


Martial arts training also teaches us that continuous self-improvement is the key to making ourselves better than we were yesterday. We should always aim to improve ourselves at least 1% each day. By improving a little, day-by-day, we can eventually turn bad habits into good ones. Slowly but surely we develop into better versions of ourselves.


By practicing martial arts, you will gain self-confidence, and seek continuous improvement. Instead of being afraid of new challenges, and hindering your capability, you will realize that you have the potential to do anything you want to, all you have to do is work for it. It may sound fairly simple, but people often forget just how special they really are.


So it's necessary to continue martial arts training so that you can get self-defense and also think about defending yourself which allows you to anticipate and avoid potential dangers. Martial arts training can help us build up the reflexes needed in cases of dangerous situations and gives you the confidence to stand up for yourself and fight back when necessary.


As you become more proficient in your selected style of martial arts, your confidence will get a big boost. You will become more self-assured and confident. Learning a martial art has not only made me much happier with myself but also more comfortable in dangerous situations. I hope to be able to continue my martial arts training.

 


 <Two Things I learnt - Togetherness and Self-Defense>


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During the Martial Arts Open School, we did everything as a team. We learned, played and exhibited together. It was like we were a family. The class brought us together. We interacted with each other before and after every class. We stood by each other and acted like siblings.


In the case of defense, we became alert as to when and how someone or something is about to attack us and how to defend ourselves from all directions. I remember a time when my friend thought I wasn't focused and attacked me but I defended myself. She was amazed because she thought I didn’t take the lessons seriously. Meanwhile I held it with my heart and mind.


Honestly speaking, it helped me a lot. I live in one of the biggest and notorious slam in Ghana. You can imagine all the pranks and attacks you'll get from people but with the help of the Martial Arts Open School, I'm always able to defend myself.


Unless I forget, I have been watching videos and reading articles on martial arts to help increase my knowledge and strength in it. The class has helped me to be always focused and defend myself when attacked.


I felt like I've been relieved off a load. I've been longing to learn martial arts to protect myself and it came to me. I feel excited, overwhelmed, courageous and powerful. You've made me realized that a female can be given an opportunity to do anything.


Thank you very much.

 

 

<Expanding Martial Arts Skills to Life>

 

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Martial arts changed my life and after spending time training martial arts, I was able to use what I learnt in other areas of my life. Here are a few of the positive effects that martial arts had on me.


°DISCIPLINE: The martial arts class structure taught me how to be more disciplined. I was expected to respect my instructor and my friends while staying calm and focused throughout the class. With practice, my concentration has improved and I have become more disciplined. I can adapt these in various situations.


°CRITICAL THINKING SKILLS: Learning martial arts skills are mental workout as much as a physical one. When I learn a new skill or technique, connecting that new information to what I have already learnt is an important critical thinking skill both on and off the mats. Due to the critical thinking skills I was able to learn how to deal with pressure, and understand the true values of traditional martial arts. It also helped me stay more focused and made me sharper.


°SELF DEFENSE: Martial arts taught me self-defence skills and also taught me how to respond to a confrontation with confidence and even diffuse a potentially unfriendly situation without any aggression or physical contact.


I enjoyed how the instructors took their time and took us through the arts, the way they talked to us in a calm and respectful voice. I also enjoyed the fun stuffs like snapping pictures with the instructors, and running around with them. I also enjoyed the fact that I was taught a beautiful song in Korean language, they have given us T-shirt, bands, pens, books and pencil case and also the fact that I know how to write my name in Korean and also gradually become a yellow belt.


Training martial arts is necessary because it helps increase flexibility. Due to repetitive movements like high kicks, low stance, and footwork, I could improve flexibility and mobility which in turn, will benefit my overall health. Flexibility allows freedom in movements, reduces risk of injury, relaxes the mind and body, and improves posture. It has also benefited my mental stamina, which has promoted a better memory span and learning skills.


Martial arts have helped me both psychologically and physically. I am able to defend myself using the acquired skills, and it has also developed my body flexibility and posture. Finally, it has been effective in developing my thinking capabilities thereby broadening the scope of brainstorming.