Kids benefit from martial arts

Troy Henson and Sharon Smallwood from LMA in Narre Warren. 175657 Picture: RUSSELL BENNETT

By Russell Bennett

Narre Warren’s Little Martial Arts – or LMA – is a specially designed program for children between the ages of two and six to boost their confidence, discipline, focus, self-esteem, and fine motor skills – and, underlying it all, it’s just great fun.
The program, run by fifth-dan black belt Troy Henson from SES Taekwondo, is essentially an obstacle course-based skills program that also incorporates some basic martial arts skills.
“We try and stay away from the traditional martial arts as much as we possibly can and really just focus on the kids’ ability to use different skills,” Henson said.
“Rather than the kids focusing on one thing at a time, the obstacle courses are designed to teach the kids how to do two, three, four, five or six things around an obstacle course until they get to the very end again.
“We’re really trying to get them to tap into their hand-eye coordination skills, and their fine motor skills – things like that.
“They’re also learning new life skills – all while having a whole lot of fun.
“What we’ve seen since the start of the program is that the confidence levels of the kids have just increased, and that’s what the main focus of the program actually is.”
Henson said the idea wasn’t for the youngsters to necessarily transition from LMA into a martial arts club.
“The idea is for the kids to be able to have increased confidence and self-esteem levels and to go on to play basketball, football, do some dancing – whatever it is they want to do.”
As part of the program, there’s also a segment called ‘bully stop’, where the kids are taught to stand upright with their hands out in front of them, and use two simple words – stop bully.
“We’ve had some success with that already with a few kids and parents actually telling us that the kids have been able to demonstrate that at school, or even with family members and it’s actually stopped the bully in his or her place,” Henson said.
LMA has a school in Narre Warren and another in Cranbourne – with further expansion on the horizon in the south east in the near future.
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