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Martial Arts Community Work

We have had a fantastic fortnight at Sandwell Tae Kwon Do, and it isn't over yet! In this blog post I want to update you on our fabulous community work which is part of our wider Martial Arts Excellence Programme and I will be explaining why it is important to grow a community around your club (no matter how many members you may have or desire to have!)

On Friday 18th October 2019 our lead instructor Claire Southall visited The University of Wolverhampton, Walsall Campus, accompanied by one of our TKD Engagement officers to deliver trial sessions for the Accessible Community Games. The idea behind the event is to encourage less able bodied people to participate in sports. Students attended from Bristnall Academy in Oldbury and other participants included trainee nurses from the University. A great day was had by all who took part with our instructor teaching participants basic self defence attacks including front punch, elbow strike and front kick. The children also took part in basic exercise routines to kick start their sports programme!

Sports on offer were basketball, dancing and football. Wolverhampton Wrestling club were also in attendance along with members of Active Black Country. All participants tried really hard in all activities and it was rewarding to see the enjoyment which the children had from participating in sport. We would like to thank the organisers of the event for giving us the opportunity to present classes and look forward to attending next year.

What is so important about martial arts training is that it encourages inclusivity. No matter your age, experience or ability there will always be something for you. Community work is often voluntary and many martial arts schools do not participate enough in the voluntary sector. Building a community around your school encourages positive networking and lets face it a positive shared experience is both motivating and encouraging for all who take part.

My advice for all instructors is to take opportunities offered to you both paid and unpaid because your club should be about more than just teaching people martial arts. We have transferable skills as instructors including communication skills, encouraging social participation, promoting healthy lifestyles and well-being, as well as our first aid skills which are invaluable.

Senior instructors often give a lot back, but the work of the International Tae Kwon Do Council is refreshing when it comes to martial arts instruction. The ITC is not an Association which is run for profit, instead they are a national governing body who are a Council. They do no 'govern' but 'guide' instructors to train people to the best of their ability. There are no 'rules' you do not have to accept their help on gradings, seminars or instruction but they can assist with insurance, licenses, training and give advice from Senior Masters as and when required.

There are no politics either, our message is that there is 'one tae kwon do' everyone is welcome in our family; regardless of your background and association. This community is something which we are proud to be part of. In support of the ITC we organised a seminar at our flagship class at West Bromwich Leisure Centre, Moor Street, B70 7AZ.

On Monday 21st October 2019 the Founder of the ITC Master John McNally delivered a seminar on the principle of sine wave to our members. The younger students of the group thoroughly enjoyed the session which was delivered in a professional but informal style. Members of the group took a lot from the class applying the principle to pattern movements to generate power. We also had members from neighbouring schools in attendance. Thank you to Chris Lee's Stourbridge club and the Absolute TKD Association Birmingham club,

We look forward to delivering our session for the Anam Ladies in West Bromwich later this week and our Halloween Session on Monday.

The key to success is collaboration. Community work is invaluable in building collaboration between like minded people. Build a community not just a school. The more people you work with the more opinions are shared and the broader your knowledge becomes.

Never miss an opportunity - Train Hard- Community Matters.

See you all soon,

Claire Southall (3rd Dan Instructor- volunteer community worker)

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