Karate for Mental Health

What is the Karate for Mental Health Programme?


Introduction

For a few years now I've been promoting the benefits of Karate for health, both physical and mental, and working with charities, groups and individuals using Karate as a tool for improvement. Now I feel that it is time to focus on creating a club that can actively support students from disadvantaged backgrounds who might suffer with ill mental health. The Karate for Mental Health Programme will provide discounted classes to eligible students, helping them to access and therefore gain the benefits of Karate training. At the moment the programme is centred on Guildford (in the UK), with the main focus being on the Stoughton area. In association with Aspire and Guildford Borough Council we have managed to secure funds for the programme. In the future we intend to apply and gather funds via available grants, sponsorship and organising events that can raise money to support students. We also have branded Karate for Mental Health merchandise where all sales proceeds are invested into the programme.


Is there some specific thing in Karate that benefits mental health?

Here's my answer - in general, any movement is great. From my perspective the following aspects that we gain from Karate training are particularly beneficial for mental health:

  • Stress reduction – via pad work or sparring we can unload negative thoughts and feelings.
  • Self-worth – through controlled failure we can show, in a short amount of time, improvements in ability, which builds the habit of overcoming obstacles.
  • Dealing with the stress of failure – via competition and pressure testing, students learn to overcome the stress of failure and can therefore deal better with work, school, or life challenges.
  • Mental balance – I practice meditation in motion within my classes, which helps people to calm and clear their minds.
  • Letting go – in my classes I put a lot of emphasis on learning to let go of the burden of mistakes and overthinking, which leads to better performance in life without an over-inflated level of self-criticism.

These are the key points for me. I hope that this helps. Just remember not to take yourself too seriously, and don’t be afraid to blend things together.