As a company who supports businesses that transform lives every day, we are always proud and humbled by our customer’s achievements. For that reason, we are devoting a few of our upcoming blogs to customers who make our world a better place by serving populations that otherwise would not be exposed to fitness and the countless benefits it provides.
The Story of Oasis Martial Arts
Oasis Martial Arts is literally an oasis in the middle of the hot, dry desert. Started in 2002, with the sole mission of giving life back to those without hope, owner Tony Redmond shares the power of martial arts with low-income students in El Mirage, Arizona. From the beginning, Tony set out to help underprivileged students, and he established the unwavering goal of not turning anyone away, regardless of their ability to pay. In order to do this, Tony maintains his full-time job during the day and teaches at night and on weekends. Today, their school has sixty active students and countless numbers of students who graduated and left the area for college as a result of the confidence and life skills gained through martial arts.
What Success Looks Like
Although there have been challenges along the way, every day is rewarding for Tony. He says that students come to Oasis as downtrodden and insecure seven year olds but leave with a black belt on their way to college. On more than one occasion, students have come back after they graduate from college to thank Tony for the priceless gift he gave them. They tell him that they wouldn’t have taken the same path had they not been exposed to the transformative power of martial arts.
The Science to Back it Up
It is true that martial arts build confidence, discipline, and self-esteem in students, whether they are seven or seventy-three. In his literature review titled, “Psychosocial Benefits of the Martial Arts: Myth or Reality,” Brad Binder, Ph.D., says studies spanning three decades show the practice of martial arts “promotes positive psychosocial changes.” Additionally, he sites a relationship between the length of time a student is in martial arts and certain behaviors. Aggression, anxiety, depression, and neuroticism decrease the longer a student is active in martial arts, while self-confidence, independence and self-reliance increase.
Likewise, the professional journal, Applied Developmental Psychology, noted that children who practiced martial arts benefitted in as little as three months, with notable improvements in “areas of cognitive self-regulation, affective self-regulation, pro-social behavior, classroom conduct, and performance on a mental math test.”
But if that weren’t enough to convince you to take a sip of Tony’s cool-aide, there are plenty of studies that point out the positive affect role models have on the long-term success of a child. Feedback, reinforcement, praise, and motivation delivered by a role model all contribute to the self-worth of a child. In a study conducted by researchers at the University of Chicago, a clear connection was drawn between at-risk teens and positive role models. Those who had a positive role model were far less likely to “end up homeless, in prison, or victims of a violent crime.” Conversely, those without such a role model were much more likely to end up facing such difficulties in life.
However, our story has a happy ending. There is an oasis in the small Arizona community of El Mirage. At this Oasis, the lost can find guidance, hope and healing through the ancient practice of martial arts.
If you know someone who’s changing lives through fitness or serving others through their sport, please let us know. We’d love to feature them in an upcoming blog.
Looking for ways to improve your martial arts school? Our latest eBook provides eight tips from actual martial arts business owners on how to run a successful school. Download it for free today.
“Positive Role Models are Key to Kids’ Success” by Gina Barton
“Promoting Self-regulation Through School-based Martial Arts Training” by Kimberley D. Lakes and William T. Hoyt
“Psychosocial Benefits of the Martial Arts: Myth or Reality,” Brad Binder, Ph.D., says
“Psychosocial Benefits of the Martial Arts: Myth or Reality?” by Brad Binder, Ph.D.
“The Affect of Role Models on the Self Efficacy of a Child in the Middle Childhood Years” by Karen Wedcliffe