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Title [Voices of Youth] Voices of the Participants from the 3rd Martial Arts Open School
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.
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>
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.
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.
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.
<Expanding Martial Arts Skills to Life>
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.