In 1984, a movie called "The Karate Kid" inspired audiences to believe that personal goals could be achieved as long as they came from the heart. This film presented an individual, Mr. Miyagi, who was schooled in the traditional martial arts and shared his knowledge with a bullied high school student. In doing so, not only did Mr. Miyagi make a positive impact on his student's life, but also on himself and others in the community. Since the release of The Karate Kid, martial arts has experienced significant growth in America and introduced a cultural phenomenon to the public.
According to a martial arts participation report conducted by the Sports and Fitness Industry Association, there were over 5.3 million martial arts participants in the United States alone during the year of 2013. Today, the common perception of martial arts training is that the training is primarily concerned with physical activities. However, traditional martial arts practice is even more concerned with the ultimate goal of improvement of mind and body.
Research indicates that martial arts practice has various benefits such as physical fitness, health improvement, and stress relief for youth. Martial arts training with the emphasis of the philosophical aspects has proved to be beneficial to youth by increasing their leadership capabilities and self-confidence. Numerous public and private organizations have developed training programs to help children and youth overcome social-emotional challenges and improve self-awareness and present-focus by implementing traditional martial arts practice.
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