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Self-defense classes should be offered in school.


Demonstrating the start of a front choke defense, owner of The Mat and instructor Alec Rains teaches a defensive options class. This class is all about the fundamentals of Krav Maga, or self-defense, and is a great opportunity to begin learning specialized techniques and training the mind. “[Self-defense is] the foundations of what we call “life skills” that build character and good habits for living,” Rains said. “[These] life skills develop into awareness of the self and those around us. Having knowledge in protecting yourself physically plays a part [in training self-defense], but the actual reality of needing any physical skills to the degree we practice is nearly 100% avoidable.”

Ally JohnPress, Reporter

On a day to day basis, many people face threats they aren’t even aware about. A person of any age, gender, or status is susceptible to harm in today’s social climate. As much as it is beneficial to understand basic defense against danger and simple solutions for less stressful situations, sometimes it is highly advised and necessary for one to understand the core technique behind any skill and be able to meet force with force. 

Taking Krav Maga classes changed my life for the better. I began training in 8th grade and it’s been about three years, and the experience I’ve gained is phenomenal. As well as learning advanced material that can get me out of any dangerous situation, I’m now part of a community that is intent on supporting me for life. I look up to the instructors and other students, and I have definitely matured. My self-confidence has grown, which has given me a brand new outlook on life. 

At the start of my self-defense career, I was quite shy when it came to training with other teens or adults. I was absolutely terrified, although I tried my best to hide it. Nevertheless, I continued to go to classes, as I really wanted to discover what I loved. The first technique I ever learned was a front choke defense, and it remains one of my favorites till this day. Since then, every class I put pieces of the curriculum together and practice safe applications. 

Building up one’s habits against any threat and ingraining safe practices can be achieved through hard and consistent training. However, when learning self-defense, one isn’t limited to physical growth, as the continuous drilling of skills teaches students patience, respect, focus and courage. Repetition throughout learning is the key to being successful. Mastering these emotional concepts are what allow for physical development. Coordination, endurance, strength, flexibility and balance correspond with a fluid mindset and strong willpower, according to Krav Maga instructor Alec Rains. 

These expertise aren’t easy to achieve, but the threat of violent crimes against youth is growing consistently. In fact, according to the article “Why Self-Defense Should Be Taught in Schools,” over 750,000 students in America have directly experienced violent crimes. These ages of these students range from elementary school to high school, meaning every kid is facing a possible risk. But, with the implementation of self-defense classes in school, the amount of harm a teenager faces could drop dramatically. 

Additionally, self-defense can be used as an outlet for strong emotion, if used properly. Punching a heavy bag or kicking a dummy are better than accidentally, or purposefully, injuring another person. According to Psychology Today, taking martial arts classes (similar to self-defense) can improve one’s ability to control their emotions and impulses. In training, specific movements and skills take practice, and with that comes the responsibility of being patient. A person cannot focus on their lessons if their personal life is distracting them. Overtime, managing overwhelming emotions simply becomes a task of clearing the mind.

With COVID-19, our society has faced a bit of a setback. However, that doesn’t mean training isn’t an option. There are a variety of online videos and workouts you can do at home to prepare yourself. The Mat Martial Arts offers a range of techniques to learn, from tips on how to strike correctly and intense workouts you can participate in to stay fit. During quarantine, training with others is prohibited at the moment, but there is still an opportunity to practice skills with family members or by yourself. When the world returns back to normal, people will still need protection, and the best way to do that is to teach it young. 

The opportunity to train among peers in hopes of being able to safely defend oneself from future damage and distress is essential. Whether it be for emotional or physical maturance, self-defense classes offer a unique and fun occasion to prepare for anything. Fighting techniques not only increase one’s capability to kick butt, but the consistent training prepares students with life skills and promotes success with a happy mindset.