Karate players perform a kata during a practice session at a gym in Kuwait. — Kuna

KUWAIT: Children and youth in Kuwait are increasingly interested in the values of discipline and honor propagated by the martial arts, enrolling in various clubs and teams to develop their minds and bodies. Other than filling time with something beneficial, martial arts — in its various forms — bring a sense of commitment and self-worth for practitioners under the tutelage of capable instructors. A number of martial art experts said that it was paramount to start teaching at a young age to ingrain the positive aspects of the art in the minds of practitioners.

Karate instructor Seyed Alaedin Nekoofar.  said that martial arts teach honor, good manners, and respect to oneself and society, reiterating that it was important to learn at a young age. Forming the character of the youngsters is very essential not only for a person, but also for social development in general, he noted, calling on parents to enroll children and youth in any martial arts that would benefit the younger generation holistically.

Ahmad Mandani, instructor in the art of Kyokushindo which is a hybrid of the full-contact Karate style of Kyokushin and Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), stressed that starting young in martial arts develops ones’ body, mind, and spirt. Having a strong character will contribute to the development of society and that is what martial arts offered to people, Mandani said, calling similarly on parents to enroll their children to reap the benefits both physically and mentally.

Meanwhile, gym owner and head coach at Vikings MMA Ahmad Hayati affirmed that practitioners put their skills to the test while partaking in national, regional, and international competitions. Under the heat of battle, a martial artist’s most important task is to control their emotions to achieve victory against an opponent, and this mindset translates perfectly into any social situation, affirmed Hayati who called on individuals to try any form of martial arts to get a better understanding of themselves and others. Hayati also urged for more competition and support to get more exposure for the martial arts community in Kuwait.

While the words of those teaching martial arts are important, it is the practitioners’ outlook that provide more introspective. Jujitsu practitioners, Yousef Al-Dousari and Sultan Al-Ajmi, both agreed that martial arts offered more than meets the eye. Dousari indicated that martial arts gave him courage to face any type of situation whether on the mat grappling or life in general. Ajmi had a similar outlook, saying that martial arts alleviated psychological pressure, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, and stressed that it was great to fill his time with something worthwhile. Whether it was boxing in the ring, grappling on the mat, performing a Karate kata, the martial arts always gave practitioners something to seek while traversing life’s twists and turns. — KUNA