On a warm day in Beacon Valley, in a driveway in Buick Crescent, children learnt how to defend themselves when the Mitchell’s Plain-based Bonsai Self-Defence Academy held its first community outdoor self-defence class.
The academy hosted the class as their usual weekly lessons at the Beacon Valley community centre have been affected by the pandemic.
Sensei Eugene Adonis, 51, from Eastridge, and Sensei Sergei Esaus, 35, from Beacon Valley, led the street session.
Mr Adonis, who has his second degree black belt in karate, said their core focus was to empower those vulnerable to gender-based violence.
“We need to empower our children and show them the necessary skills to protect themselves,” he said.
Mr Esau said he grew up in the area and had witnessed how crime affected the community.
“We must uplift our community,” he said.
“We are all potential victims. We need to avoid falling into the habit of being a part of crime if it presents itself as an easy way out, as a way of living.
“Sometimes we do not have an alternative and do not get the help we need but we are here to make a difference and teach our children what to do if they are in danger.”
Tyra Weyers, 11, who was part of the self-defence class, said she enjoyed the training and that she was sure the moves they were taught would help her.
Celine Julisen, 15, said she felt she would be able to defend herself using what she had learnt during the session.
“This will help me a lot in the future. If all of us do this together we can help our community.”
Beacon Valley resident Rochelle Williams, 34, added: “Our children live in fear, this pandemic is very stressful on them. Many of them do not have food and may go door-to-door to ask for some. Whatever danger presents itself in that moment, they would then remember the self-defence class and it will help them.”
Children’s ministry youth leader Joanne Minnie, 37, said it was important to keep children away from crime and to teach them to protect themselves.
“They are our future,” she said.
Mr Esau and Mr Adonis plan to run more sessions in other communities.
For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Mr Adonis on 074 964 0357 or Mr Esaus on 081 473 1414.