Real Empowerment at Kingham Hill (diary entry)

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After a short warm-up, I put much of the lesson in the capable hands of my students at Kingham Hill High School. My reasoning for this was simple empowerment. It’s a term that has readily been thrown around with no real meaning, often by manipulators. The core of my teaching method is to put people in charge. Self-protection, above all else, is about putting oneself in control of a situation or resting off an aggressor as quickly as possible. Therefore, training should be genuinely empowering. One can only make training empowering if individuals feel confident to teach the material and use it address their weaknesses. This is exactly what happened.

Between four students, the class went through various muscle memory exercises and explained their reasoning for each of them. They then were challenged to question what area in self-defence training needed the most attention. Most agreed that they wanted to be able to flip their action switch faster in a crisis situation. This is why I say attitude trumps everything else. We discussed colour codes of awareness and general situational awareness. Then we did a series of code white exercises, whereby three students startled the others with various scenarios – fence to pre-empt, cover to regain the initiative and no-action against verbal aggression. These were all done under conditions where the students had their eyes closed to simulate surprise.

Next we moved onto the Predator Vs Prey exercises, which are covered in my recent “When Parents Aren’t Around” workshop. These exercises were done three times with intervals of feedback discussion on victim selection and target hardening.

We finished with some bodyguard training in the form of a pre-emptive strike exercise.

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