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Martial arts: learning how NOT to fight


Meganck, J., De Bourdeaudhuij, I., Van Poucke, B., Van Hoof, E., Snauwaert, E. Scoliers, G., Maenhout, E.,  Gansbeke, L., & Desmadryl, J. 




The aim of the present study was to explore the effects of martial arts practice on aggression, self-control, social skills and experiences of the participating group of institutionalized adolescents with severe emotional and behavioral disorders.



Data concerning trait-anxiety, aggression, and self-esteem were collected from 24 youth between the ages of 12 and 18 (4 girls, 20 boys). Half attended weekly training-sessions of 1 hour for four months. The remaining 12 were put on a waiting list and served as control group. Dutch adaptations of the Buss-Durkee Hostility Inventory [Dutch??], the Self-Description Questionnaire II, and the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory were given pre- and post-test. A fourth questionnaire, developed by the author, and interviews were used to investigate the qualitative experiences of the adolescents. Interviews with the educators during the program and at 6 month follow-up were used as other-reported information on the subjects’ behavior. 



No quantitative effects were found on the psychological questionnaires. Qualitative results, however, were positive: in general, the subjects themselves reported better self-control, increased patience, high enjoyment, and interest in continuing training in a regular club. The educators also reported that no martial arts techniques were ever used in fights between the adolescents.  



The positive perceptions of the participants encourage further qualitative process-oriented research.






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