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posted: 4/21/2014 12:01 AM

Martial arts do not teach violence

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Recently the Daily Herald published an article titled "For Some Kids, Martial Arts Can Be Offensive."

I own and operate a martial arts dojo in St. Charles, and thought sharing the other side of the story was important and necessary for the community to hear. Martial arts can greatly benefit children of all ages for several reasons, including building confidence, reinforcing discipline, teaching respect and even relieving stress.

Skills like empathy, responsibility and self-discipline need to be learned as a child matures. The study of martial arts is a useful way to teach developing children these skills that can positively affect behavior and character education now and in the future.

There is a section in the previously printed story that states, "Here were all these young children learning to be much more efficient in being violent. And they were learning these lessons long before they would have the cognitive or emotional maturity to really control their violent behavior."

Myself, and many others I know in the industry, do not agree. The majority of martial arts dojos across the U.S. do not teach violence.

My dojo is part of the PRO Martial Arts franchise, that has built its teaching structure on Character Education classes along with incorporating a patented class called ARMOR® Bullying and Predator Prevention. The PRO Martial Arts classes don't emphasize "quick and easy" solutions. Our programs help students carry themselves with confidence and respect.

To conclude, martial arts can help calm and focus young minds while teaching them important skills, and stressing physical violence as a last resort. Practices such as karate, or Tae Kwon Do are much more than a means of teaching kids to protect themselves from bullies -- rather, the physical study teaches students how to respect themselves and each other.

Mary Conley-Hilgart

St. Charles

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