A traditional martial art, like Kuk Sool Won™, is about more than the development of physical skills. The learning and personal development opportunities it provides go much deeper. This is particularly clear when working with our female students. Many people believe that a martial art is great for girls and women because it teaches self-defence. This is based on the premise that women need to learn how to defend themselves against a physical attack. It sees girls and women as potential victims of violence based on their gender.
While there are undoubted benefits to learning self-defence skills, participation in a martial art provides girls and women with so much more than protection from violence. A starting point to understanding these benefits can be found in the research into the types of benefits sport provides to girls and women. In 2015, an international consultancy (EY), published research on women in senior leadership positions in large corporations in the United States. It identified that 94% of women in the executive team (or C-suite) had played sport and 74% believed that a background in sport can help accelerate a woman’s career. Girls who play sports have “greater social and economic mobility, are less likely to use drugs, have greater personal safety, and perform better at school”.
Other research focusing specifically on women who participate in martial arts has found that it is empowering for those women, builds confidence, and can help change gender stereotypes. In martial arts, girls and boys, and women and men train together. In some martial arts, such as Kuk Sool Won™, they even compete against each other in many categories of competition. This creates an environment where men and women learn to work together, promoting equality and challenging traditional views on gender.
Almost half of our students are girls and women. Based on our experiences working with them, as well as our own experiences as women martial artists and instructors, we are well aware of the benefits martial arts training provides.
I am passionate about encouraging girls and women to explore their physicality through martial arts. If this is done in a respectful, inclusive environment, the benefits can be truly lifechanging.
JKN Jane Hurst
First degree black belt and school owner
Kuk Sool Won™ of Onewhero
Copyright © 2018. Kuk Sool Won™ of Pukekohe and Onewhero. All Rights Reserved.
Martial arts are great for kids but we are often asked how old do they need to be to start training. Normally, kids need to be 6 or 7 to join a kids class. However, we have developed a specialised programme for 5 year olds which we offer at our Kuk Sool Won™ school in Pukekohe. Here are 5 great reasons why your 5 year old will benefit from our Kiwi Dragons™ programme in the Korean martial art of Kuk Sool Won™.
1. Respect and discipline: Kuk Sool Won™ specifically focuses on creating respectful citizens. We gently encourage our 5 year old students to develop self-discipline and show respect to their instructors, fellow students, parents, and themselves. We do this through individual and teamwork drills and exercises, as well as by role modelling good behaviour.
2, Focus and memory: 5 year olds have a short attention span. By using repetitive exercises and breaking martial art elements into small components, we capture the attention of our young students and gradually improve their memory. We supplement this with various reward systems to keep them focused and motivated.
3. Control and balance: By breaking down martial art elements into smaller components, young students gradually gain control over their developing bodies. They develop co-ordination and balance through exercises that encourage development of the left and right sides of their brain and body.
4. Self-defence: Self-defence is at the core of Kuk Sool Won™. From their first class our 5 year olds learn how to get away if someone grabs them. They consistently practice getting away quickly so that it becomes second nature.
5. Fitness and fun: With plenty of age-appropriate exercises, drills and body conditioning, 5 year olds gain strength and fitness. They also have a lot of fun, which is an essential part of the learning process with young children.
6. Spatial Awareness: Kids spend a lot of time on digital media these days and from an early age. Flat screens and no interaction with others and real objects will not help them learn about depth perception and spatial awareness. By participating in a group activity with real objects, kids get to experience 3 dimensional play.
Caroline is a 5th degree black belt and Jane is a 2nd degree black belt in the traditional Korean martial art of Kuk Sool Won™ . They run 2 Kuk Sool Won™ martial arts schools in New Zealand.