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Youth Developing Strength from the Inside Out

By YWCA Minneapolis
April 5, 2023
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Recently youth in our Strong Fast Fit program were fortunate enough to have volunteer Stephanie Hernandez teach them essential martial arts and some self-defense techniques. She first demonstrated karate movements and then had the youth lined up to learn. Stephanie slowly got the youth into action by doing simple karate warm-ups and basic stance forms to learn the correct karate movements. They all repeated the stance back and forth with Stephanie correcting their form, allowing them to deliver strength and balance in their defense.

“Karate helps me learn how to shout to defend myself and get away from my attackers.” — Strong Fast Fit youth, Merab and Melose

Being in karate class is not just about learning how to defend yourself; it also helps you strengthen your weaknesses. Karate is not a form used to attack a person but a tool to help defend yourself from aggressors or get out of a sticky situation. Learning a basic form of karate helps youth develop self-discipline and physical strength to keep their bodies fit and flexible.  

Benefits of Karate

One health benefit of practicing karate is that it can help improve heart health, coordination and reflexes — not to mention strengthen and tone muscles. But there are more than just physical health benefits to the sport. Practicing karate helps youth develop self-confidence, self-esteem, mental toughness and resilience. Our Strong Fast Fit youth come from very diverse communities, and being together, they may be unsure of themselves, timid or uncomfortable with others. Doing icebreakers, team-building games, and activities such as karate helps youth build relationships and lessen the cultural gap.  

“Karate helps us have enough energy!” — Strong Fast Fit youth, Nick

Strong Fast Fit, Inside and Out

With this essential self-defense knowledge, youth can respond in situations they deem unsafe and have the option to run or defend themselves. 

“They help us with our aim, our kicks and our punches because sometimes that’s the only thing we have to help ourselves.” — Strong Fast Fit youth, Bruno

YWCA Minneapolis Strong Fast Fit program has greatly benefited mother Teanna and her two sons, who have participated for several years. Teanna says,

“Strong Fast Fit has been a valuable experience for my family. My kids have definitely gained more confidence. The fitness membership, swimming lessons and programming have all made a difference for us.” — Strong Fast Fit parent, Teanna

Learn More about Strong Fast Fit

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