Martialling the art of behaviour

Macksville High School is having great success in turning around behavioural issues of boys between Years 7 and 10. 

The school's Transition into Manhood Program mentors participating students with activities such as martial arts, education about Indigenous rights of passage and talks from inspirational male leaders.

Macksville High principal Paul Holding said: "We have seen a 42.63 per cent reduction in the number of behaviour infractions of our Year 9 and 10 boys which is just overwhelming and our Year 7 and 8 boys are improving as well."

Highly effective habits

The program is designed to improve the boys' social, behavioural and anger management skills, and draws upon Stephen Covey's book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Each week a different habit is explored and reinforced through mixed martial arts.

Macksville High physical education teacher Scott Stacey said: "Mixed martial arts teaches the boys self-defence skills, discipline and also a way to manage their anger in a safe and healthy way. It is giving disengaged boys a chance of success."  

The weekly sessions are based around a Yarning Circle where all participants and opinions are equal and the needs of the tribe outweigh the needs of the individual.

The five instructors involved in the program provide myriad life experiences and perspectives.  They include newly qualified teacher Adam Rumsey, learning support officer and six-time world mixed martial arts champion Rob Jamieson, and sports facilitator and local elder Ritchie Donovan.

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