Pack­ing a punch for over­all kids’ health

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - Curtin University - Emma Clayton

NEW re­search shows chil­dren who learn a mar­tial art may be bet­ter off when it comes to phys­i­cal and men­tal health.

Curtin Univer­sity re­searcher Eva Dobozy has been study­ing how mar­tial arts could help with chil­dren’s de­vel­op­ment and has specif­i­cally been look­ing at stu­dents taught by the WA In­sti­tute of Mar­tial Arts (WAIMA).

Dr Dobozy said her project aimed to fur­ther un­der­stand how the mar­tial arts train­ing de­liv­ered at WAIMA helped pro­mote chil­dren’s over­all well­be­ing.

“Chil­dren’s learn­ing of aca­demic and so­cial skills does not stop at the school gate,” she said.

“There is in­creas­ing aware­ness by teach­ers and the gen­eral pub­lic that out-of-school ac­tiv­i­ties are a ma­jor contributor to child de­vel­op­ment.

“What at­tracted me to the study of mar­tial arts train­ing as per­formed at WAIMA is that it is rig­or­ous, ped­a­gog­i­cally de­signed and per- son­alised. The fo­cus of WAIMA’s mar­tial arts train­ing pro­gram is not sim­ply on the de­vel­op­ment of tech­ni­cal skills and phys­i­cal agility.”

She said about 250 par­ents and stu­dents were in­vited to par­tic­i­pate in the study, as well as WAIMA in­struc­tors. More than 45 in­ter­views were con­ducted, en­abling par­tic­i­pants to ex­press their views con­cern­ing per­ceived ben­e­fits of mar­tial arts train­ing for chil­dren and ado­les­cents.

She said it was clear from par­ent re­sponses that there was a deep-seated belief in the psy­cho-so­cial ben­e­fits of mar­tial arts train­ing as de­liv­ered by WAIMA.

All par­ents in­ter­viewed re­sponded with “yes, def­i­nitely, or ab­so­lutely” when asked if mar­tial arts train­ing was character build­ing. Par­ents also said their chil­dren learnt about over­com­ing self-doubt, re­spect­ing oth­ers, com­mu­ni­ca­tion and life skills, good morals, how to stand up for them­selves, per­sis­tence, com­mit­ment and self-con­trol.

Dr Dobozy said mar­tial arts train­ing could also as­sist in the de­vel­op­ment of aca­demic skills and could be a sig­nif­i­cant contributor to the de­vel­op­ment of all-rounded peo­ple.

“Mar­tial arts train­ing as­sists in the build­ing of re­silience, de­vel­ops em­pa­thy and con­trib­utes to re­spect­ful con­duct,” she said.

“There are mul­ti­ple forms or mar­tial arts and this re­search shows that there is a need to bet­ter un­der­stand how mar­tial arts pro­grams can add value to peo­ple’s life now and in the fu­ture.”

She said a back­ground in mar­tial arts could add to a more pro­duc­tive work­force.

“Peo­ple who are re­silient, re­spect­ful, em­pathic and have well-de­vel­oped so­cial skills are in­creas­ingly seen as an im­por­tant re­source to in­crease Aus­tralia’s pro­duc­tiv­ity and na­tional com­pet­i­tive­ness,” Dr Dobozy said.

Pic­tures: Martin Ken­nealey

WAIMA in­struc­tor Ter­rence Cook with Maya Lane, Callum Lane, Charlie Vear­ing, Beau Miles, Cooper O'Mal­ley, Ethan Don and Kee­ley Lane.

Eva Dobozy

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