Free self-defence classes combating child abductions


ATI Martial Arts instructor Callum Shahidi with students. Martin Kennealey d440174
ATI Martial Arts instructor Callum Shahidi with students. Martin Kennealey d440174

RECENT attempted child abductions in Perth have prompted martial arts schools to offer free self-defence classes to young children.

ATI Martial Arts schools including Malaga will run free anti-abduction and stranger awareness classes until July 11 for children aged up to 13 and their parents.

Director Rocco Capolingua said the attempted abduction of an eight-year-old boy from the backyard of his home in Shelley and a child from Landsdale Primary School prompted the need for a program to give parents as well as their children the skills in fighting off a predator.

“Our anti-abduction and stranger awareness program is a three-step program to yell, hit and run,” he said.

“In the classes, we have parent involvement so we can fill the parents in on these ideas too so they can go home and work on these strategies with their kids themselves.

“Just like they’ll practise their times table and spelling, we want them to practise anti-abduction strategies so yelling, screaming for help, looking at hitting and striking.”

Mr Capolingua, an Infant Jesus School teacher and father-to-be, said instructors were not teaching traditional martial arts skills because they would not help a child if they were going to be abducted.

“We are going to primal kind of moves like eye gauging, scratching and biting,” he said.

“If you were a small child, a grown adult is definitely going to overpower you so we’re looking at areas to strike like gauging eyes, kicking the groin, striking the nose and throat, biting and scratching – anything needed to create space once the predator has let go of the child then running to safety.

“If this is a routine that parents are working on with kids then these scumbags and low lives of society won’t have easy targets anymore.”

Grandmother-of-three Jennifer McCarthy, whose oldest grandchild Aiden Falta attends Landsdale PS and ATI Martial Arts Malaga, said the classes were a positive way to combat such a negative problem.

“It’s empowering and uplifting, it’s creating the community feeling of battling this issue together,” she said.

“It’s teaching us and our children and grandchildren ways to be safer and smarter, facing up to the fear in learning how to deal with it.”

For information on the free classes, go to www.atimartialarts.com.au.

ATI Martial Arts locations

Scarborough

North Perth

Hamersley

Ellenbrook

Yanchep

Malaga

Claremont

Joondalup

Parkwood

Manning

Forrestfield

Cloverdale

Bull Creek

Midland