Re: Martial Arts merit badge
Wed, 19 Nov 1997 09:14:25 -0500
My son is a Bear Cub and has been involved in Tae Kwon Do for two years
now. I took the den leader training last week at our den leader's request,
since our ADL is being transferred out of state and we need two trained
people in case the leader has to miss meetings from time to time.
I was surprised to find that BSA doesn't approve of martial arts training.
A lady at the council office told me last year that it was the same for
football, because of the contact. I assume that it's a liability issue --
most things are nowadays.
In the den leader training, though, we watched the program on child sexual
abuse, and one of the main points being made was that active resistance
would stop 90 percent of molestations from occurring.
My son's TKD instruction involves no small amount of self-defense training
and lots of physical fitness, and only a relatively small bit of sparring
(and that only with protective gear and much supervision). They are taught
*not* to fight, unless someone is intent on harming them, and then only
long enough to get away. It seems to me like the ideals of martial arts --
courtesy, discipline, physical fitness, respect, and self-defense -- are
not contrary to Boy Scout ideals.
I wish some compromise could be found where they could have recognition for
boys' self-defense and fitness training with martial arts. Maybe BSA could
distance itself from the sparring without appearing to disapprove of
everything about martial arts. It seems to me like the goals of the youth
protection program would be well served by the sorts of skills my son is
learning from Tae Kwon Do.
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City