Train the mind as well as the body?


“Train the mind as well as the body?”
(reprinted from American Health Magazine)

“Many parents are enrolling kids in martial-arts classes hoping they will learn discipline and self-defense and get a healthy workout. But a new study suggests Western methods for teaching martial arts may make kids more aggressive than savvy. Reason: Many courses ignore the ancient philosophy and just teach body moves.

At Texas A&M University, Dr. Michael Trulson divided 34 teens prone to delinquency (as determined by psychological tests) into three groups.

For six months, group A spent one hour, three times a week learning the ancient Korean martial art, Tae Kwon Do. Along with self-defense, it emphasizes setting goals in life, respect for others, honesty, humility, responsibility and honor. Group B spent the time learning a short-cut modern version of Tae Kwon Do (no philosophy), while Group C got no training at all.

Results: No change in Group C, but the kids in the two martial-arts groups responded in radically different ways. Those in Group A, who got the version emphasizing body and mind, got all the benefits: less anxiety, higher self-esteem, improved social skills, stronger values and, best of all, below-average levels of aggression. But kids in Group B (body only) got worse and their aggression shot way up.

Advice to parents: If you enroll kids in a martial-arts class, stick to tradition. Training the body without the mind may be a path to trouble.”

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