Empowering McFarland: the need for more martial arts opportunities in the community

February 2, 2024 /

By: Hugo Sanchez

In McFarland, there are few opportunities for people to learn martial arts. The only option for combat sports and martial arts is wrestling, but there could be more martial arts for people to learn. 

Some benefits that could come with martial arts are learning how to defend yourself, exercising, and more diversity in the community. Learning self-defense is an important life skill to learn if you encounter a threat like a criminal. In addition to this, another benefit to learning martial arts is exercising both your body and your mind. 

Exercising is a great and necessary activity for people. Exercise will strengthen your bones and muscles, improve your ability to do daily activities, prevent falls, increase your chances of living longer, and more. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), each week adults need 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity. During exercise, your brain produces chemicals called endorphins which relieve pain, reduce stress, and improve your sense of well-being. It is also good for boosting self-confidence and emotional stability.

“I think martial arts is great because it’s good not only for fitness but you also have to be flexible and it teaches discipline. I think those three things are also things we teach in physical education, weight training, and our sports program. Those things come hand in hand and I think it would be great for the community and the students as well,” stated Emmanuel Munoz, the coach of the McFarland football team.

Exercise is really important for adolescents as well as for their development. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC.gov) on youth physical activity guidelines, children and adolescents ages six through 17 should do 60 minutes or more of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity daily. 

Martial arts could also help with weight management which is a rising issue in the United States currently. Based on data collected between 2017 and 2020, 41.9 percent of adults in the U.S. have obesity. The same data suggest that 19.7 percent of adolescents and children in the U.S. have obesity. 

The CDC says that being obese can put you more at risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, gallbladder disease, and much more. 

Despite all of the benefits of martial arts, there is a lack of opportunities to learn them in McFarland. 

Javier Holguin, the coach of the wrestling team in McFarland, expressed his opinion on the matter by stating: “I wish we did have a marital arts class here. All we had for martial arts was in Delano. One time we did someone teach taekwondo but it didn’t stick.” 

Holguin continued by saying: “We did have a jujitsu program come through the park and recreation center, which I did attend. It maybe lasted around two years and we had a principal who hired a guy to teach jujitsu and would take the kids to tournaments. He wanted them to work out with the wrestlers because there were moves that we do that are similar which had to do with martial arts.” 

McFarland’s population is slowly rising from 9,669 in the year 2000 to 14,459 in 2021. A bigger population could bring more people and more martial arts opportunities for all. But it needs people who are willing to make it come true.

“I, personally, would like to see more martial arts in McFarland and the population of McFarland is rising so in the future it could be more possible for a lot of kids to join one that they like,” stated Oscar Tapia, a McFarland High School student. 

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