What are the programme aims?
To tackle knife crime.
Knife Crime – inclusive of any offence including a bladed article – is abhorrent. It ruins lives and creates victims and pain throughout communities. Perhaps most unsettling is the proclivity for it to disproportionately affect poorer communities and societies. Knife crime isn’t a new issue – it’s been around for decades. What is new is the both the media focus and perhaps the vorticity and volume at which these crimes appear to be happening.
The BMABA’s exclusive and industry first #DitchTheBlade campaign focuses on two areas of impact using martial arts as the key impetus for change.
Education & Awareness
We don’t believe that the point at which a young person carries a knife is the point at which we should focus our efforts. By this time, it’s far too late. Education and awareness on the causes and realities of knife crime must start so much younger. Our Foundation believes this should start right the way back at Key Stage 1. It is at this point young people begin to be influenced by their wider society and indeed there are accounts of seven year old’s being groomed for county lines drug running.
Our believe is that it’s not just knife crime in isolation. This is the end result – the ultimate effect. It stems from many determining factors including childhood poverty, abuse and neglect, drugs and substance misuse in the family unit – and perhaps other variables.
Our education and awareness programme aims to bring instructors to schools and youth groups to educate on the harsh realities of knife crime and it’s surrounding issues. This is done in the instructor’s own preferred way but is based on a nationally agreed set curriculum using the Home Office’s #knifefree campaign as a point of reference.
Martial Arts Training For Change
The first and most important thing to remember is the only way to avoid being stabbed is to avoid the fight – end of. Martial Arts training around knife crime isn’t about arming someone with the false belief they can fight off an armed attacker. It’s about engagement, and building a young person’s resilience and confidence.
Our martial arts training – be it traditional styles like Taekwondo or Karate, through to modern disciplines like Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) and Muay Thai – provide a key place to focus and develop young people. The training provided builds confidence, offers self empowerment and engages boys and girls of all ages in practical, physical training that can lead to sporting opportunities and greater things. It’s about instilling a purpose and place for young people that’s more attractive than the often glamorised life of gangs, drugs and knives.
We’re realistic about the issue being faced and understand that not everyone will engage in this type of training – but we know from anecdotal evidence that martial arts training has the ability to reach young people who are otherwise out of reach from mainstream sports practiced in state schools. The specialist instruction of a high-adrenaline, physical round of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) can hook a young person and the on-going engagement of the martial arts club with schools, parents and authorities means not only is the dojo a sanctuary from the streets, but it can also be a place of discipline and respect.
How You Can Help
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