A school in Ndaragwa Sub-County of Nyandarua has embraced Tae kwon-do martial arts to equip students with self-defense skills.
According to the school trainer Stephen Wang’ombe alias Master Steve, Tae kwon-do skills are appropriate for girls especially in defense against rape.
Master Steve, who has been training Tae-kwon-do for over 20 years and who is also a Black Belt 4th-degree holder, says that the sport is not meant to be used for provoking others but as a defense mechanism in the event of an imminent threat.
Speaking at Irigithathi Secondary school, where a KNA crew visited the school’s Tae kwon-do club, Master Steve said it would be great if the Ministry of Education mainstreamed the sport as an extra-curricular activity alongside other school sporting activities.
“Tae kwon-do fighters are expected to uphold the highest level of restraint and discipline. I have trained many people who have later joined various disciplined forces.
“The sport is good and I have seen many students change and become alert. I would wish to see the sport incorporated together with other sports and that means many students will be physically fit while competing with their counterparts from other schools.
“Since I brought the sport to the villages, many girls have shown interest in the sport and I am happy. In 2021, the best Tae kwon-do student at the National Youth Service (NYS) Pass out parade was formerly my student. Others have also become Tae kwon-do trainers,” said Master Steve.
He advised any institution that would want to start a Tae kwon-do club that he is open for the job because he is just a volunteer at the current school and he would have wished to cash in on his experience before he retires.
Mr. Simon King’ora, the school’s Games and Swahili teacher urged the government through the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Sports to incorporate Tae Kwon-do alongside other inter-schools sports tourneys like football and athletics.
This, he says will encourage many more students to take the sport seriously and compete at many levels thus opening more opportunities for them.
“Our students who practice Tae Kwon-do are the most disciplined in school, they take their studies seriously and are always alert.
We have been having this sport for a long time in this school but we don’t compete with other schools, we only showcase the skills during national holidays or school talents week.
“I would want the Ministry of Education to incorporate the sport in other sports, this would encourage many students to join and compete, which might even open up career opportunities for them after school. The game requires a high level of discipline and it has enabled the students to become more restrained and it even translates in improved academic performances,” said King’ora.
Eunice Wangeci, a Form-four student at Irigithathi Secondary school and who is also the female captain of the Tae kwon-do club says that the sport has enabled many girls deter harassment.
“Tae kwon-do helps us defend ourselves against rape and it helps us a lot. It also helps us fight against gender-based violence. Our trainer has been helpful to us and he has educated us that the sport is not only meant for men but women as well. We would want the sport to be enlisted in the school extracurricular activities calendar as well,” said Wangeci.
Tae kwon-do is a Korean form of martial arts incorporating punching and kicking techniques, with emphasis on head-height kicks, spinning jump kicks, and fast kicking techniques.
By Antony Mwangi