School Education cannot be only about monotonous lectures on display boards in this era of information, where access to information is not a problem anymore. It is high time that we start thinking over transformational ideas on how schools should engage young students and shape them for their lives ahead. The New Education Policy  2020 has given some hope, and we may be heading into the right direction but in order to make school education holistic in terms of learning outcomes, which prepares students not only for the academic excellence but for life skills as well, including physical fitness, leadership, team spirit, empathy for other, civic sense, discipline etc, we need to do much more.

There has certainly been some awareness in this direction and there has been a rise in inclusion of many types of physical and cultural activities in school schedules. For example, the inclusion of Yoga was a great step, but the biggest question is, is it becoming part of public schools as well? Not so much, mostly private schools in metros and eminent schools in semi-urban and urban areas are adopting such transformations. Whereas the majority of public schools which cater to the large chunk of our young population are not really part of this transformation. There should be no doubt about it that schools and education need to change, we can’t keep following patterns which were formalized for an era when the world needed people with a single skill set and can be used as a catalyst for the industrialization of the world. Education must reflect the times we live in.

Technology has made things easier for kids at home and at school as well. With the internet revolution now we don’t need to really worry about the information that we need to feed in. The main issue that should concern think tanks and parents alike is, how we will ensure holistic development of kids including physical, mental, spiritual, psychological etc. What are the ways that we should adopt to ensure that our kids are socializing enough and learning important ;life skills. This is where physical activities like martial arts, yoga, pilates, gymnastic, other sports etc come into the picture. The schools need to give multiple options to the kids, maybe most of the kids won’t be attracted to Yoga, therefore instead of forcing them to do Yoga we need to ensure that they have some other activity of their choice to attend to.

Through this article we are emphasizing that martial arts should be adopted by schools as part of the physical education syllabus or as a subject of choice by itself. Martial arts is a great option for kids and very easy for schools to adopt, you just need some space, a coach and martial art uniform. Moreover most martial arts forms are part of Olympic games, therefore it opens up new opportunities as well. When you’re looking to make your school’s curriculum a success, there are a few areas that you should focus on. One of the best ways to increase the success of your curriculum is to integrate any form of martial arts into it. Not only will this help your students’ physical and mental health, but they will be able to make lifelong friendships and connections. As per multiple scientific studies, Martial arts is one of the best ways to teach children discipline. In addition to this, they can be a great form of exercise for children, and can provide them with a sense of empowerment and confidence. They also provide an outlet for children to release their stress, as well as a fun form of self-defense.

It will also Introduce Students to The Rich History of Martial Arts in India:

We have a rich history of indigenously developed martial art forms. Schools can also introduce indigenous forms of martial arts, this will also help to preserve the great martial arts traditions of our country which are getting lost due to our sheer ignorance. India has a long and proud tradition of martial arts, stretching back centuries. It is believed that the earliest forms of Indian martial arts date back to the ancient Vedic period, with some forms of wrestling, sword fighting and archery. The Indian martial arts tradition has evolved over the centuries and today, a number of different forms of martial arts are practiced in India. Malla-yuddha, or traditional Indian wrestling, is one of the oldest forms of martial arts in India.

Kalaripayattu is another ancient form of martial arts that is still practiced in India. It is believed to have originated in the southern state of Kerala during the 11th century. Kalaripayattu combines physical training and martial arts techniques, and is a popular form of self-defense in India. Varma Kalai is another popular form of martial arts practiced in India. It is believed to have originated in the south of India, and is a combination of physical exercises and martial arts techniques. Varma Kalai focuses on striking, blocking and grappling techniques, and is considered a form of self-defense.

What an irony it is that Bodhidharma, the Indian monk who introduced martial arts in  China during the 6th century AD, is the originator of Shaolin Kung Fu, a term that encompasses a wide variety of Chinese martial arts, while here in India we are completely ignorant towards these great physical and meditative art forms. Martial arts like Thang Ta (Huyen Langlon), Silambam, Gatka (Shastar Vidya), Sqay are also some of very valuable indigenous martial arts forms which are on the verge of extinction and waiting for revival.
Therefore the Introduction of martial arts in school will not only help children to be physically and mentally fit, but it will also be helpful in reviving these lost martial arts forms, which represent our rich traditions and culture.

Benefits of Learning Martial Arts for Kids 

  1. Improved Focus: Students learn to stay focused on their goals and tune out distractions through martial arts, which can help them achieve academic success.
  2. Improved Discipline: Developing self-control, discipline, and self-awareness are important skills in the classroom, and martial arts can help students develop those skills.
  3. Improved Physical Health: Students who participate in martial arts are likely to stay physically fit and healthy, which will certainly help them perform better academically.
  4. Improved Mental Health: Students who practice martial arts tend to be less stressed and anxious, which makes them more productive at school and at home.
  5. Improved Leadership Skills: Learning martial arts can help students acquire leadership skills, which are useful in academic space as well.
  6. Improved Teamwork Skills: Practicing Martial arts help students learn how to work together and collaborate with others, which can help them succeed in group projects and activities.
  7. Improved Respect: By teaching respect to others and opponents, martial arts can foster a positive school environment.

Yogesh Sharma
CSR & Special Projects Specialist (PEFI)

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