(From left) Sensei Bob Gardiner and Sensei Cindy Paskiewich demonstrate how to protect yourself from an attacker when fighting from the ground.

(From left) Sensei Bob Gardiner and Sensei Cindy Paskiewich demonstrate how to protect yourself from an attacker when fighting from the ground.

Self-defence gives youth self-confidence

The Sparwood Shotokan Karate School partnered with the City of Sparwood to host a three-day self-defence program.

The Sparwood Shotokan Karate School partnered with the City of Sparwood to host a three-day self-defence program, for the cost of a donation to the Sparwood Food Bank.

Over the course of the three days, youth were taught several aspects of the sport of karate.

The first night was called, Tools and Targets. This focused on what parts of the body to hit with what parts of the body.

The second night entailed a combination of strain holds, as well as break falls to help cushion your fall when tripped, or thrown.

The final night, on Monday, focused on hitting techniques; how to hit, when to hit, and when not to hit. With three Sensei’s on site, kids were not at a shortage of one-on-one training.

Asked what the purpose of this course was, 5-year veteran, Sensei Cindy Paskiewich said, “We want to make sure they’re prepared if they’re somewhere by themselves, and get into a situation that they could fend off their attacker.

“It’s not for them to be able to fight, but just for them to get away,” she added.

Six people registered in the program, which was restricted to those 13 years and over. This age restriction was made for one main reason; the older kids are more likely to require the use of self-defence, as they are more independent and may find themselves in situations that require such techniques. As well, maturity helps ensure they use the fighting techniques for good, not bad.

“Karate gives you a lot of different things. Discipline, fitness, definitely lots of other things,” said Sensei Paskiewich. “If nothing else, it gives you that little bit of confidence, so that at least you can have an idea of what you can do in that situation.”

This is the first self-defence series done so far this year; last year there were two programs.

The Shotokan Karate School has seen a decrease in members over the last few years, but this didn’t stop them from offering programs to the community. The Shotokan group hopes the community becomes interested in some more programs as the months progress.

Since her enrolment in karate five years ago, Sensei Paskiewich has noticed her confidence grow tremendously. Although she doesn’t worry too much about the small town of Sparwood, she finds that it makes her more aware of what’s happening around her.

“Me being the person I am, being as small as I am, it’s always a good thing to have something to be able to protect yourself,” said Sensei Paskiewich.

To someone who is unsure about joining karate or another martial arts program, Sensei Paskiewich would say, “I would definitely recommend it. If nothing else, it’s good fitness.”