MALACCA: With many school children somewhat reluctant to be actively involved in popular games like football, badminton and hockey and with parents worried about their young ones’ obesity, inactivity and eating of high energy food, martial arts instructor K. Gobalakrishnan is successfully persuading primary school pupils to take up taekwondo by advocating cool rationales.
Gobala as he is popularly known and a third dan speed power taekwondo exponent under the purview of the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF), render much previews and talks to parents, guardians and primary school pupils to kindle enthusiasm in taking up martial arts seriously.
With over 25 years experience including akido, he said: “Many children mainly in primary schools are overweight because of lack of sports and participating in games and regular indulgence of eating high energy food.
“Human bodies are built for exercise. Therefore, young children ought to exercise, run, jump and get out of breath.
“So if young ones are not interested in football, hockey or badminton because of high competitiveness, taking up taekwondo is a good alternative, as kids will always enjoy the physical aspects. Taking up the art seriously means they will exercise their whole body and thus gain all round physical fitness.”
The 45-year-old instructor said unlike football, hockey or badminton where there was an age limit for competitive assignments, taekwondo is a lifelong pursuit.
“This art develops listening skills, concentration, confidence, respect, discipline, leadership, team work, physical fitness and self esteem – traits that can be held steadfast throughout one’s life”.
When directing advice for parents and guardians, Gobala, 45, notes that studies have shown that children taking up taekwondo have an increased sense of responsibility, a decrease in the willingness to take foolish risks and a higher sense of self esteem.
Many doctors have prescribed taekwondo because of the positive outlet it gives children for all of their energy.
Taekwondo also promotes good behaviour underscored by discipline that carries over into the home, school and community, he added.
All these rationales have gone down well with both children and parents. Since advocating his styled approach for the past two years. Gobala is in much demand particularly by primary schools in town and districts.
Currently, he conducts training for over 120 pupils at four schools including two in the districts.
He also handles a Malacca Club group at the Rotunda Sports Complex in Tanjong where around 30 club members’ children come under his tutelage.
Recently with the co-operation of T. Balakrishnan a 7th Degree black belt holder as well as national master instructor and examiner affiliated with the WTF, 120 charges under Gobala’s supervision underwent a grading exercise.
Around 65 were successful gaining from the preliminary white to yellow, green and blue belts’ grading.
Gobala has plans to open up two to three more centres for primary school pupils in Jasin, Alor Gajah and Masjid Tanah later this year.
He is now on the lookout for assistant instructors to help out.
“With the young these days open to many negative elements, taekwondo builds a high and prolonged sense of discipline to say “No” to drugs and other bad habits.
“The art also strengthens the minds and bodies with children also doing better in studies and subsequently their chosen careers. Taking up of taekwondo promotes courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self control and the indomitable spirit.
“My principal objective is to introduce and promote the sport in safe environments mainly for school children and teenagers while having purposeful and meaningful training stints with their peers, juniors and elders,” said Gobala.