Exploring opportunities for healing, health and wellbeing
for women through Traditional Martial Arts.
Teaching women to fight as a way of recovering from violence-induced trauma AND preventing violence from occurring in the first place might sound counter-intuitive, but research on the topic is telling a different story …
Female martial artists say their sport makes them feel stronger, safer, less-stressed, more confident and more effective at work. So why aren’t more women doing it?
A study* of more than 400 female martial artists from across Australia by Pink Belt Project – a charity working to empower women in need through martial arts – revealed clear whole-of-life benefits experienced by the study participants as a result of their involvement in the martial arts.
- 95 per cent of all survey respondents experienced high or moderate improvements in mental health (stress, anxiety, depression) through involvement in Traditional Martial Arts;
- And among the groups most likely to report high levels of mental health improvement from their martial arts training were those who had experienced violence in the past;
- 95% of respondents experienced high or moderate improvements to their confidence and self-esteem as a result of their martial arts training;
- 93% of respondents experienced high or moderate improvements to feeling safe and secure through involvement in Traditional Martial Arts;
- 78% of respondents believe that their martial arts training would help them to reduce the risk of harm to themselves in the event of a physical confrontation.
Pink Belt Project Founder Kristy Hitchens said the results of her Australian research reflected and supported the findings of international studies on the empowering effects of training in the Traditional Martial Arts for women.
Kristy said training in the Traditional Martial Arts was gaining recognition internationally among psychology experts as a powerful tool for treatment of trauma and recovery from violence.
“Additionally, the research is showing this type of training has a role to play in violence prevention,” Kristy said.
However the true power of martial arts training for women was yet to achieve the recognition it deserved, according to Kristy, due to out-dated stereotypes about martial arts being a male domain and a sport that encourages violence rather than one which prevents it.
“My research validates the work I am doing through my Pink Belt Project to provide women in need with one year martial arts scholarships which removes any financial barriers and allows women who perhaps need this most to experience the powerful ability of martial arts for healing, health, wellbeing and growth.”
Since January, 2019, Pink Belt Project has provided 64, one-year scholarships across Australia to women healing from the trauma of domestic abuse or sexual assault.
According to one 2021 Pink Belt Scholarship recipient from New South Wales:
“I haven’t missed one training session, and I absolutely love it. I love that I have something that is mine and time just for me to focus on me and in turn it helps strengthen our whole family unit. I wasn’t expecting to feel this kind of empowerment, and for that I am truly grateful!”
The fourth annual fundraising cycle for Pink Belt Project kicks off on July 1 for three months.
- Preferred citation: PinkBelt Project, (2021). PinkBelt Survey: Exploring opportunities for healing, health and wellbeing for women through Traditional Martial Arts.
- This research was created with sponsorship support from CATALYSE®