Use martial arts to help youth - Black belt asks for support

May 22, 2018
Mark Titus photo Martial arts expert Howard Reid

Third degree black belt Howard Reid is appealing for help to establish a permanent home for his Club Pro-Am Kickboxing gym in Lucea, Hanover.

Reid, who hails from the parish, is convinced that his training regime could transform many of the unattached youths into disciplined and positive contributors of society.

"I have seen Hanover transform from a place where you would hardly hear a gunshot, to a place that fatal shooting and outright criminality is the new norm," Reid told Western Star. "Hanover needs more clubs and uniformed groups that the youngsters can get involved in, to keep their minds active and focused on other activities than scamming and other illegal activities."

He said that physical activity is something that can keep the youths together.

"Getting the youngsters more involved in physical activities and less focused on computers and gadgets is what many parents are afraid to do, but what must be done if we are to instil in them the right values and attitudes," he said.

Reid says that when most persons think about martial arts, fighting might come to mind, but argues that the art form demands much discipline.

"A key component of martial art is fitness, and then the discipline comes along with it," he said. "You have to have patience to go through martial arts and that same level of discipline will result in you being focused on you school assignments and help to guide your decisions when confronted with challenging situations."

For Reid, training outdoors is ideal for the martial arts student, but said Jamaicans are prone to take you more seriously if you have a physical structure.

"I would advise every parent to get their child involved in martial arts and they would see a different child," he said. "It can provide many opportunities for our young ones and if they excel can compete in events such as the Olympics."

According to Reid, whose chief instructor is based in the UK, a martial arts facility is not costly to establish and only about J$100,000 would be needed purchase the necessary equipment.

"What I would need most of all is a building, some covered space and over time attract about 200 of our youngsters, and in no time you would see a huge difference, guaranteed," he said.

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