Master Macy recently forwarded a link to this article in The Independent. I’ll save you the suspense:
It cites research that says karate is awesome.
Well, it’s a bit more nuanced than that. But the article gives example after example of sound investigations into the benefits of martial arts on the behavior and the minds of students of all ages. This (of course) includes the most impressionable ages. For example:
One study took a group of 8 to 11 year old students and taught them self-defense skills as part of an anti-bullying program. Apart from the takedowns and (figurative) disarms, the students were also taught character development lessons, the fundamentals of self-confidence, and “how to maintain self-control in heated situations.”
What resulted? Researchers found that. after just several weeks of karate training, the boys* in the study were far less likely to react aggressively toward bullies and far more likely to step up when someone else was being bullied.
Senior Master Greg Moody has conducted independent research on the correlation between martial arts training and bullying, specifically the relative impact of earning a Black Belt, in any discipline, and reducing incidences of bullying. Basically, if you earn a Black Belt from a reputable school, you’ve developed the capacity to not only withstand but actively repel bullies.
It isn’t mystical. There’s nothing even mysterious about it. Martial arts training ( see the article!) hones focus, specifically in the areas of AT (Attention Training) and AST (Attention State Training).
Attention Training relates to perfecting a specific skill; throwing punches or blocking strikes, for example. Triggering reflex actions.
Attention State Training puts practitioners into a state of increased alertness, which has benefits in the lives of everyone from toddlers to seniors. Would you like to sharpen your sense while:
- Talking with other people
- Moving through a dark parking lot
- Navigating the middle school hallways
- Focusing on SAT questions
- Giving a speech
- Performing onstage
Anyone who’s trained (or parented a child in training) has experienced (or witnessed) this sharpening of the senses, this advanced alertness as a result of dedicated progression in the martial arts.
Here we hold you to it. Good luck this Stripe Week and best wishes for your upcoming test for your next belt. As you advance, know, objectively, that there’s a growing body of evidence that martial arts advances the mind as well as the body.
But you know that already. Never quit.
*The researchers noted that while the impacts of training for girls were less pronounced, this was likely due to the fact that girls (in this study, at least) were less inclined to exhibit aggressive behavior in the first place.