For the last few weeks the girls of the Martha Brown middle school in Fairport have been learning about and training their self defense skills. The physical education unit is part of the curriculum for the school and taught annually. The girls two week long unit just finished and the boys went through the unit last month. The school see’s the necessity for both the boys and the girls to learn to be able to defend themselves, whether it is from being hurt or being bullied and is working pro-actively to teach kids these important skills. The unit is taught by Aric Keyes and Pamela Celata from Kime Karate, a local martial arts school specializing in self defense. “I was blown away by how much knowledge and skill they were able to share with the students.” says Staci Bufano, a teacher having her first experience with the unit this year. The unit teaches a lot more than just what people think of as self defense, it covers many life skills, ways to avoid dangerous situations as well as how to defend one’s self from physical harm. “These skills are so important for all students to learn as well as adults. You never know when you might be in a situation that could become a harmful one.” Says Mrs. Bufano.

The goal of this self defense program is to raise awareness and build confidence as a preventative measure against bullying and victimization, but it also teaches some very simple and effective ways to defend your-self. “When it comes to self defense, bottom line is that it has to work.” says Aric, owner of Kime Karate. “We want to teach students ways to avoid or diffuse a situation, but also have the skills necessary to defend themselves if and when they need them.” The unit stresses that no one has the right to hurt you and aims to empower students with awareness and the ability to defend themselves. “The world should be a better place, but it isn’t. We are here to give girls the knowledge and the ability to start preparing to defend themselves.” says Pamela, a staff member from Kime Karate who came in specifically to work with the girls.

“They were great with everyone and taught me so much over five days.” Says Kiara Z. a 7th grade student at Martha Brown. During this unit, the girls never stopped learning and working on their self defense. They were constantly moving, asking questions and engaged in the topic. Many students when given an opportunity to ask questions, had the same questions based on fear of being hurt if attacked. “Being attacked can be very scary that even the idea of it makes people nervous and hesitant.” Says Aric. However, this self defense program shows that learning self defense can be fun and exciting. Martha Brown student Shreya M. says “It was extremely fun. I am looking forward to doing this again next year.”

This article was originally published in the Thursday, May 14th 2015 edition of the Fairport East Rochester-Post and republished here.