Our Brighton programs included a self defense unit in the high school as well as working with the “at risk” kids who have a separate program.
The seniors were introduced to self defense concepts and techniques. The self defense unit was a combined program, with the boys and girls working together in the same classes. They asked questions and explored the concepts and reasoning that makes our self defense program so powerful.
The “at risk” kids were a different group altogether. These are kids that struggle with making good decisions for themselves. They acted and behaved worse than kids I have worked with in the past at a local juvenile detention center. They are tough kids to get through to, but every effort is worth it. I talked to them about a lot of different things, my own life experiences, what self defense really is and why they should work to improve their situation. There were brief moments when I felt that I was getting through to them, but the walls that they have put up are hard to crack. It’s very difficult to understand what any persons home life is like and why they may have these walls which are simply a self defense mechanism for them to cope with a bad situation. To get through these walls, it takes time, understanding and lots of patience.
Every time I teach a self defense class or program, it reinforces to me the need for such a program. Regardless if an individual is labeled “normal” or “at risk” the need for education is there. The differences that separate everyone may not be that much different, it is often just be a difference in scale and how we react to the situations we are put in.
Let’s give everyone an equal opportunity to stand up for themselves, defend themselves and improve their situation through education and an opportunity to practice important life skills.