More and more children show motor deficits which are in part significant. Simple exercises such as running backwards or standing on one leg are difficult for many children. The modern martial arts sport taekwondo combines the components of speed, dynamics, endurance, and concentration and thus offers an excellent opportunity to counteract the motor deficits many children have. Together, the participating school children of the SMS initiative gain insight into the diversity of the modern martial arts sport taekwondo and learn a variety of hand and foot techniques. The association Sportwerk Düsseldorf is a federal and state sponsored training center for taekwondo, and since its founding has provided excellent training for youth and for aspiring athletes. Two of the athletes who train in Sportwerk Düsseldorf and prepare for international competitions are among others the SMS sponsor Levent Tuncat, three-time European champion, and the World Youth Champion Yanna Schneider.
Besides promoting motor skills and coordination, taekwondo promotes the respectful treatment of others. “In the training, the children learn to respect each other, shy children develop healthy self-confidence, and aggressive children learn to be considerate – valuable skills that help children in their everyday lives,” said Tayar Tunc, founder of the association Sportwerk Düsseldorf. “With the SMS initiative, we want to show the children the variety of sports activities and the importance of regular physical exercise and treating each other with respect,” said Professor Karsten Müssig, project leader of the SMS initiative, stressing the importance of venues for learning outside the classroom.
The initiative “SMS. Be smart. Join in. Be fit." led by Professor Karsten Müssig at Düsseldorf primary schools seeks to counteract overweight/obesity and other lifestyle-related diseases in childhood and adolescence. The participating children earn their “aid” nutrition pilot license in cooperation with the Educational Center for Dietary Assistants of the Kaiserswerther Diakonie and take part in the exercise program for primary schools “Fitness for Kids” developed by sports scientist Professor Kerstin Ketelhut.
In addition, the pupils experience the perception of their own body in the sensory classroom of the Präha Weber School in a motor skills training course. They are also taught relaxation exercises in cooperation with the initiative “Physical Activity during School Recess” of the Dietrich Grönemeyer Foundation and the Deichmann company. The two health insurance companies IKK classic and KKH, the organization diabetesDE - German Diabetes Aid, the Sports Department of Düsseldorf and other renowned partners and prominent people support the project and provide the participating school children with additional attractive venues for learning outside of school. The patron of the initiative is Thomas Geisel, mayor of the state capital Düsseldorf. In 2015 the SMS initiative was awarded the support logo of IN FORM – Germany’s initiative for a healthy diet and more exercise, and in 2016 was awarded the GUT DRAUF label of the German Center for Health Education (BZgA).
More information about the initiative can be found at: www.sms-mach-mit.de (German only)