With heavy support from the Ministries of Education, Agriculture and Sports, a non-profit, non-political organisation known as The Olive Branch has given a commitment to give a second chance to youth’s through Martial Arts.
The Olive Branch, which was launched at the Grenada Youth Centre on Friday, is looking at going into communities to seek children who have lost their way in life and help them through the use of Martial Arts to gain self-development.
In an interview with THE NEW TODAY last week Wednesday, founder of group, Master Melvaughn Coutain, said that he himself found purpose in life through Martial Arts as he did not have the best life growing up as a youth.
According to Master Coutain, he did not receive a Secondary School education but through Martial Arts he got an opportunity to go to University.
“There are kids who drop out of school and there are kids who are looking to find their way and the whole idea is to look out to those kids and offer martial arts as a tool to help them develop themselves”, he said.
“It happened to me – I didn’t really get the chance to go secondary school but I went to University and never stop going to school – up to now I am still going to school”, he added.
Master Coutain indicated that the idea is to use Martial Arts as a tool within the school system to educate youth through physical education.
Stating that Martial Arts is not about fighting, he said that a lot of persons want their kids to learn to fight because of bullying in school.
However, he said that martial arts is not about fighting.
“Martial Arts is a way of life; just like how people go and study dancing and drama and singing on stage, it’s the same artform. You can also use it to develop yourself because out of it you have things like acupuncture, you have massaging, reflexology, herb-ology.
“…It’s a range of things you can do out of that, where a lot of these kids can get to help themselves. Even if you want to go to UWI, you can do Martial Arts or Taekwondo and get a degree in UWI right now – you can get a doctorate in doing it…”.
Currently, Master Coutain is working with 20 children from different schools on the island but with grant funding from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and more friendly donors, he can work with many more children.
He said: “I am willing to work with kids right now from six years upwards. Once we get these kids going from 10 years old; if I can work with them about five years and they get a good coaching, by the time this kid reaches about 15, 16, 17 coming out of the school, you can have a coach going into the school. You can show him how he can use that and turn it into a business opportunity.
“…We are trying to get a coach to come to Grenada. We’re looking for funding, get a stipend, pay that coach and have him come here because what’s missing in the Caribbean is technicians. We have strong people, we have beaches, we have hills, good food but you need the persons to harness to bring out that talent in you, that science, you need that…”, he added.
Master Coutain stressed that Martial Arts can create an avenue for youth in Grenada to take advantage of all the opportunities that come along from the sport worldwide.
“There is cadet in Taekwondo; there is Youth Championship; Junior World Championship; PanAm games; Commonwealth Championship; European Championship, Caribbean Championship. There is a lot of things out of this to occupy them, just like how people going to the Olympic, there is Mix Martial Arts, Kick Boxing, Kung Fu – a lot of these stuff that can help …. to create employment,” he said.
According to the Martial art enthusiast, it is his hope that in about 20 years, Martial Arts can become as big as Intercol in Grenada.
“I have certain programmes out of Europe, specially designed for kids. You don’t want to go in school and teach children about twisting hand behind your back and cuffing one another, you teach them about conscious discipline, you teach them about conflict resolution…this is what is missing…” he said.
Master Coutain indicated that Martial arts can be used to come up with anti-bullying methods, and promoting healthy living.