By Saudi Encarnacion, Clinical Coordinator
On Saturday, March 12, 2011 the Juvenile Service Learning Program youth were ready to begin their community service day. The Juvenile Service Learning Program is a Family Court/Alternative to Placement program for youth on probation who are mandated to complete 60 hours of community service. The purpose of this program is to incorporate service learning into traditional community service, encouraging youth to meaningfully reflect on, and grow from, the experience.
As the group was preparing for community service, one young man asked, “what we gonna do today? Hearing that we were going to be guests at the Martial Arts Center the responses were a mix of indifference, apprehension, excitement and curiosity.
Upon arriving to the Martial Arts Center, the group received VIP treatment from Master J. Sanchez who readily gave us his undivided attention. The group participated in introductory martial arts activities including cardio exercise, boxing, kick boxing, Judo and Tae Kwon Do. Master Sanchez followed the fitness activities with a discourse on the significance of Martial Arts as a holistic practice that emphasizes mind/body connection health. He expressed that the purpose of Martial Arts is to acquire confidence, discipline, patience and perseverance. Most importantly, he emphasized that the core of Martial Arts is to actually refrain from physical aggression, as that indicates that the individual has gained the upmost restraint and power. Through out the morning, youth were respectfully engaged in the fitness activities and offered constructive and insightful comments on Master Sanchez’s talk.
As our fitness session ended, there was not a doubt in my mind that all the participants greatly enjoy the mornings’ activities. The smiles and vigor among all the participants and the enthusiastic comments expressing the desire to visit the Martial Arts Center once again was confirmation of the benefits of working on the mind and body.