Anime in Physical Education

I never miss an opportunity to show my students how much of a nerd I am. I might  teach them Muggle Quidditch  or have a bulletin board of the Physical Education components each represented by a different superhero. The health room I have created a word wall called “Wonder Words” it is decorated with a wonder woman theme and has vocabulary from the current unit. The current unit we are doing is Martial Arts. I am in no means a martial arts instructor, but I teach them what I’ve learned from self-defense, cardio kickboxing, and Tai Chi classes. They are working to earn a class from a martial artist that I bring to class. I want to also focus on the character building aspects of martial arts. We discuss topics such as confidence, discipline, and respect. What better way to explore this than inspirational anime clips.

I begin each class with a video clip and they answer a reflection question. The first two I used were from “Kung Fu Panda 2” and “Karate Kid”(the remake with Jaden Smith). Even though they aren’t anime they were still very meaningful messages. With the Karate Kid clip we watched the “Jacket On, Jacket Off” scene. We discussed the importance of following directions and understanding how to learn form mistakes and experiences. The Kung Fu Panda clip was about finding inner peace.  I also intend to show a clip from “The Last Samarui” this will tie in Social Studies concepts of imperialism (you like how I did that). These are just some of the things I want them to focus on rather than fighting.

Now to the best part, the anime. Action anime are full of inspiring scenes and characters I could draw from. At the top of course are Naruto and Goku. I’ll lean towards those because I fell like those are characters that the largest amount of students would be familiar with and therefore draw a connection.  For Naruto I intend to have students establish their “Ninja Way”. In Naruto they work in integrated teams. Meaningful collaboration is a huge buzz word in education. Cooperation and teamwork is major in Physical Education. Using some of the teams in Naruto to illustrate this only seems natural. Goku uses determination and consistent training to reach every goal, even after death. This is another important concepts I want them to understand.  I also think using some “Attack on Titan” would be good. I teach at an urban school, with the majority of my students being at-risk. In this anime the characters live in constant fear and struggle, I think a lot of my students can relate to this. Fullmetal Alchemist, Hunter X Hunter, and Bleach are some others that come to mind that I think would have powerful messages.

I always strive to teach my students to be open minded. Everyday my goal is to teach them how to improve their physical, as well mental, and emotional health. These are themes that run throughout many Anime. These strong fighters battle personal conflict and keep their morals along the way. Hopefully they don’t think its too lame and are able to gasp the message I am trying to send.

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13 thoughts on “Anime in Physical Education

  1. This is really fantastic! It’s interesting to see shonen anime used in this way. Hopefully more people are convinced to utilize it and other stigmatized media in this way. I think it’s important to expose kids to a variety of things they might otherwise not know exist so they have more avenues to build their own unique identity.

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