Muay thai classes to help build confidence

Shannon SmithAlbany Advertiser
Lovett Muay Thai students Tayla, 6 and Will Cheetham, 10 with assistant coach Jedd Cunningham.
Camera IconLovett Muay Thai students Tayla, 6 and Will Cheetham, 10 with assistant coach Jedd Cunningham. Credit: Picture: Laurie Benson, Laurie Benson Albany Advertiser

When Robert Lovett heard stories of local children being emotionally and physically bullied, he decided he could use his local Muay Thai gym to help.

Lovett said his heart sank when a parent shared details of the depression and anxiety her nine-year-old daughter had suffered after a year of harassment.

The former kickboxing national champion wrote a post on his gym’s Facebook page, telling followers “enough is enough”.

“It’s terrifying how children are affected by bullying,” the post said. “Seeing all these news articles on how violent schools have become makes us as parents feel helpless.”

Over the school holidays, Lovett Muay Thai will offer specially designed anti-bullying classes for the first time.

The classes will be free.

Lovett said the classes were about teaching children how to stand up for themselves — not how to get their own back.

Students are told any use of force is always a last resort.

“(The classes) give victims the self-confidence to prevent them becoming bullied in the first place,” he said.

“Even if they never have to use those skills, most of the time just being more confident helps them avoid becoming a target and build resistance.

“I believe practising martial arts can help kids find connections in an environment that is supportive to one another.”

During the classes, students will work through various bullying scenarios. They will learn how to assess risk, as well as picking up simple and practical techniques they might need to use as a last resort, depending on the level of threat.

There are limited spots for the classes and they will run in two separate age groups — four to seven, and eight to 16 years.

For details, contact Lovett Muay Thai.

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