Skills as Service

Most of my volunteer experiences this year happen to occur back in my home town while I was on a break or just away for a weekend. I actually went home very often this year in comparisons to last and I think it had a lot to do with people asking me to share my knowledge of martial arts and self-defense.

First, I was asked to come teach a very simplified self-defense seminar at Planet Kids Premier Academy. I spent my Friday afternoon teaching small children about stranger danger, how to stay away from dangerous people and places, and a few easy techniques for getting away from an attacker. It took a lot of patience and answering tons of questions before their brains and tiny little hands could grasp the concepts I had to teach. After the hard work was over, I got out the foam swords so they could feel like the big kids playing games in the real karate classes. They went crazy over the small matches they acted out and didn’t want that part to end. By the end of our time together that day, many of the children were grasping at my legs begging me not to leave. I never cease to be amazed by the endless amount of love and appreciation small children have shown me for doing something I find so normal.

A few weeks later as the weather began to grow cold in the fall, I returned home for a similar reason. Only this time, my students were on the opposite end of the age spectrum. I was asked to go to Auburn Hills at 7am on a Thursday Morning to teach a very different side of self defense to the members of the Optimist Club.  The truth about being older and living in a city is that people won’t really be looking out for you. In fact, the elderly are targeted often as easy to steal from. So for this lesson, we had to learn more self defense against weapons and life-threatening aggressors.

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The Optimist Club provides a framed copy of their creed to anyone that volunteers their times with them.

On the upside of waking up early and teaching serious material, I was given free breakfast and conversations that lasted long after the lesson on martial arts was over. I also got to witness how adorable it is when really old people sing a special version of the Happy Birthday song to a friend. And finally, it was great to experience a new age range to teach to. I wont be stopping any time soon so I can hope for more experience and bigger crowds.

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