Martial arts can benefit everyone

I HAVE been practising martial arts for 37 years. I have been at the Rotherham martial arts centre for the last 14 years. I have trained in different styles over the years my main style is Wado Ryu (peace way style).

Martial Arts has a stigma — that it breeds violence. This could not be more wrong.  Unfortunately, there are still some people today that think like this. The reality is actually the complete opposite. If anything, martial arts relaxes you and keeps you calm, this in turn makes you more placid and allows you to remain in control of your adrenalin. Like the late Bruce Lee used to say — ‘to learn the art of fighting without fighting’.  

Consider the teachers that are being attacked every day in our schools, by pupils, ex-pupils or even other teachers, sometimes fatally. If they had just known the basics of self-defence, they would know never to turn their back on an attacker. To stand, looking them in the face and continually repeat, “Leave my classroom now,” is much more effective. Their attacker’s adrenalin would drop which would break their confidence and he or she would back off and go. That is the art of fighting without fighting.       

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I teach students with all sorts of additional needs such as ADHD, autism, Asperger’s, dyspraxia, children with no confidence, children that are being bullied at school etc. When you train at martial arts you have to have 100 per cent concentration. The level of concentration is built up and in just a few weeks of training you will see the difference.  Martial arts aids concentration.  It will help students to focus properly as well as aid co-ordination and balance team building which builds confidence. It will teach them to have respect for others and to learn discipline in a fun way. As a result, their school work will improve in just a short time. Going back to the children of the Far East, Martial Arts is part of their school curriculum, which is why their concentration level is so high and they can focus on their work better.  

There are over a thousand martial arts students just in Rotherham. I would not like to put a figure on how many students are training at different Martial Arts in South Yorkshire or in this country or indeed in the whole of Great Britain, but how often do you hear of them causing any trouble or being in any trouble?  

A martial arts coach or student will not stand out in a crowd; he or she will come from all walks of life, black or white or from any religion. Put them in a room together practising martial arts and they will all get on well together; all having a good time, learning discipline and respect for each other and for others in a fun way.

The young teenage boy with autism that had to be chaperoned everywhere he went he is now two grades off his black belt, is going to college and has joined a football team and no longer needs to be chaperoned.

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This letter is for all martial arts coaches and assistant coaches who train in different styles of martial arts that do the same sort of work that I am doing without any recognition whatsoever.   

So can we get rid of this stigma? After all it is the 21st century.

Anyone wishing to come down to my Do Jo and see for themselves or have a talk to the parents will be very welcome. I am available on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays between 4.45pm-7pm. Alternatively, I can be contacted on 07957638717 to discuss the possibility of Martial Arts being included in schools.

Sensei John Ball 6th Dan, Rotherham Martial Arts Centre


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