By Mudassir Raja
A major issue for parents during the holidays is how to find interesting activities for children that will keep them away from smartphones and iPads and instead keep them physically active.
The issue becomes more serious during the summer vacations as the children do not go to the school and have plenty of free time. As summer in Qatar is rather tough, children also cannot opt for outdoor physical activities most of the time.
There are, however, certain ways to keep kids both physically and mentally active. In Qatar, different organisations and companies offer summer camps with different indoor and outdoor activities. One such camp is being offered by Doha Sports & Arts Academy.
This camp is unique as it lays particular stress stamina building. Further, this camp is unique as it offers specialsed training and teaching of various forms of martial arts such as kickboxing, MMA, Thai boxing, kung fu, taekwondo, Jujutsu, street fight, karate and Aikido. The camp also offers ballet, swimming, basketball, weight loss exercises, football, gymnastics and arts and crafts.
Doha Sports & Arts Summer Camp started on June 23 and would continue till August 30. The camp is for children from the ages of three and a half year to 13 years. The training sessions and classes run five days a week – every day from 7:45am to 3pm.
The camp is run under the experienced guidelines of Master Rami al-Banna, former kickboxing world champion and general manager of Doha Sports & Arts. Rami, a Lebanese expatriate, founded the club to train the children in different techniques of martial arts. He has won kickboxing world champion seven times and has been training kids in different institutes in Qatar for many years. He inspires young boys and trains them in different forms of sports.
Speaking about the summer camp for kids, Rami told Community: “This is the 14th year that I am organising the summer camp for kids. I also arrange spring camps and winter camps of martial arts but these camps run only for two to three weeks. The camp in summer is a longer one. It being summer, the kids have a lot of time to spend in the camp and learn basic techniques of different sports under the watchful eyes of trained and experienced coaches.
“I manage the camp overall and I have eight professionally trained coaches to take care of the kids in different sports. Like many other summer camps, we offer art and craft activities along with different sports. But, what makes our camp unique is that we put a lot of stress on various forms of martial arts.”
Rami believes that the physically active children can become productive adults in future. “I lay stress on physical alertness the most. We also offer gym facilities at the camp. I believe that the martial arts not only make a child physically fit, it also enables a child to defend him or herself. Different genres of the martial art also teach self-control and a right kind of emotional behaviour. The physical activity also keeps the kids away from modern gadgets likes smart phones, iPhones and laptops that – if overused – damage the mental and physical health of the children.
“Right now, I have 68 kids in the summer camp. I keep a close eye on the performance of the children and if someone is very good at any form of martial arts, I urge the parents to let them enter my professional training academy and I try and make them professional martial arts players.”
Rami has also represented Qatar in different international kickboxing events. Appreciating the enthusiasm and love for sports here, he said: “It is really wonderful to be in Qatar, the only country in the world to have a national holiday to celebrate sports day. The day encourages people to get involved in different kinds of sport activities. I really appreciate the government of Qatar for providing such kind of opportunity to the people. There are best facilities available in Qatar, if someone wants to get involved in any kind of sport.”
About his stay and work in Qatar, he said: “I decided to come and live in Qatar and discovered the love for different sports in the country. I have been teaching at different institutes and have become a kind of ideal figure to be followed for young boys.”
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