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Paul McCarthy

Director - UCLA Martial Arts Program, Inosanto International Martial Arts Instructors Association

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Developing martial arts programs for not just schools, but for educational systems across the world.

After watching many of Sir Ken Robinson's talks on education and the decline of creative educational experiences in schools, I want to express my views on how to 'kill many birds with one stone' using martial arts as a tool to educate our children.

Many forms of martial arts can provide not only great physical activity, which is much needed for todays chubby youth. But also the ability to play, to learn from peers, develop focus/discipline & respect and work towards incremental goals that inspire them and teach them that working hard is the way to achieve success in this world.

Martial arts can teach you about culture, history, society, friendship, loyalty, dedication and so much more. Millions of individuals have been lucky enough to be inspired by their martial arts teachers and schools and if we can instill this inspiration back into children in school we could create a cross collaborative effort in making school about learning again and not about reaching standards dictated by numbers on a test.

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  • Jul 15 2013: You are right, Paul. In addition to providing an outlet for physical activity, martial arts also fosters many other important skills. Specifically, the traditional practicing of martial arts by children has been shown to improve executive functioning skills. Executive functioning consists of a variety of cognitive abilities, including problem solving, impulse control, working memory, and attention, among others. Here is an article published in Science Magazine that describes the several types of interventions implemented to improve executive functioning abilities in children, including a martial arts intervention. A well-worthy read!

    http://www.sciencemag.org/content/333/6045/959.full
    http://www.sciencemag.org/content/333/6045/959.full.pdf

    Cheers!
    Janice
    • Jul 15 2013: Thank you for your contribution Janice! I will read the article soon! I can say from personal experience that I believe heartily in these findings....and that is with my old brain! Getting kids involved early when they are sponges can only benefit them in so many ways :)

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