First, I will tell you that I am not here to sell you fear. Everyone who has a wife, a daughter, a sister, a mother, or even a dear female friend knows that women are disproportionately the victims of violence whether it is from a stranger, a family member, or an intimate partner. Martial arts are the arts of self-defense, this is true. But what martial arts can do for girls and women goes so much further than simple self-defense. The benefits of sports participation by girls is by now very well known. These benefits include reducing the risk of cancer, higher grades and graduation rates, better confidence and reduced levels of depression.
Five Key Benefits to Women and Girls
- Martial arts is empowering. Just look at what one small woman can do. Tell me that’s not cool.
- Martial arts promotes a positive self-image. Martial arts teaches women and girls to love their bodies not because they can fit in a size 0 dress, or because someone else wants them to look a certain way, but because of what their bodies can do.
- Martial arts gives the confidence to fight back. If confronted by a situation such as a robbery or assault, the best strategy is to get out of there fast. However, martial arts gives you the ability to defend yourself and make good your escape.
- Martial arts sets realistic goals. Each level of achievement is marked by a belt. Everyone starts off at the same level, and learns according to their individual ability. Your instructors are invested in your success and will guide you realistically and with care.
- Martial arts imparts a set of values. Courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control, and an indomitable spirit are what Tae Kwon Do teaches. In addition, everyone learns focus, confidence, discipline, and respect.
Since the passage of Title IX over 40 years ago, the number of girls competing in high school sports increased from under 300,000 in 1972, 3,000,000 in 2011. However these benefits have not come to all in equal representation. In elementary through secondary education, 75 percent of white girls participate in sports, that number falls to less than 66 percent of African American and Hispanic girls combined, and about 50 percent for Asian girls. After high school, sports participation drops off and so do the benefits that women experienced as girls. It’s understandable, after all adult life is hectic and filled with work, then with work and family, in ever increasing complexity. What if you could take one step that would instill that self-confidence, improve health, and potentially save your life or the life of someone you love?
Giving the gift of martial arts says that you love someone, that you have faith in them, and that you want them to be safe and confident even when you’re not there to protect them. It is a selfless gift, one of health both mental and physical, and a spiritual gift that remains long after the wrapping paper has been thrown away. It will be worn every day, with every outfit, in every type of weather. Wherever they go, they will carry it with them.