Remember the days of Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris and the Karate Kid? Days when martial arts was primarily presented as a boy’s sport. Maybe I’m dating myself, but if you walked in to a martial arts class in the 80’s and 90’s, the vast majority of students were male. Today, times have changed. Girls are now close to 50 percent of students at my children’s martial arts centre. Girl Power!
Why do I think girls should learn martial arts? Well, let’s imagine if Sandy had her Black Belt. When Danny got too grabby at the driven-in, she would have used her self-defence training to put Danny boy in his place. Also, let’s not get started with what Princess Leia could have done with a lightsaber. Darth would have thought twice about kidnapping her.
My daughter has studied Kuk Sool Won for four years now. I like that it’s traditional martial arts focusing on fitness, discipline, technique and self-defence. All of these skills are beneficial to children of either gender, but I feel safer knowing my daughter will be able to defend herself. She starts high school next year and has the skills and self-confidence to navigate this new world; skills she attained studying Kuk Sool Won.
What I don’t promote is the MMA style schools that are springing up all over North America. There is nothing traditional about attacking for the sake of violence. Self-discipline and control are very important life skills in most traditional schools, something that, in my opinion, lacks in many MMA environments. I recommend staying with the older, well-established styles, such as Kuk Sool Won, Karate, Judo, Aikido and Taekwondo.
Sign your girls up for martial arts! It’s a valuable, life-long skill. My daughter has won second and third place prizes in her last two tournaments and is planning on earning her Black Belt. In the words of Shakespeare, “Though she be but little, she is fierce!”