In an effort to empower at-risk communities, Krav Maga Cayman will offer free self-defense training in July for women, children and law enforcement officials.
Slots have already begun filling up for the classes but director Ronnie James Hughes said the gym will attempt to accommodate all interested participants.
“As stands, the amount of people that have expressed interest in this kind of scares me because we only have a small space. But regardless, we will manage,” Mr. Hughes said.
“We’re taking slots that are available during the week on our timetable and we’re filling them now with opportunities for underprivileged kids, police officers, security, anyone involved in potential conflict positions and also females that need basic self-defense techniques and principles.”
With an eye to minimizing violence and injury, courses will focus on four training areas: survival, escape, control and neutralization.
“In any conflict, you as the person who is the non-aggressor needs to be able to survive. Not get knocked out, not get killed, not put in a position where you add further harm to yourself,” Mr. Hughes said.
“Everything is non-lethal. We are not teaching people to beat people up. First and foremost, what we are teaching people is to survive, escape and control, or in the worst-case scenario, be able to neutralize [the threat].”
The classes, sponsored by the Flowers Group, follow a recent spike in robberies and burglaries in Grand Cayman. The need for such courses is nothing new, however, Mr. Hughes said.
“There’s always been a need for people, kids particularly, to learn confidence, learn self-defense and structured discipline. I think every parent wants that for their kid. Unfortunately, due to economic reasons, they sometimes can’t do that,” he said.
The women’s classes will target sexual and domestic violence scenarios. Participants will learn techniques to stave off aggressors and control a situation until help can arrive.
For law enforcement, the course aims to reinforce and refresh training for police, security officials, immigration officers and related professions.
The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service has not endorsed the classes, but a spokesperson said the community effort was encouraging.
“Obviously we are appreciative of this kind gesture from Krav Maga Cayman, and we also appreciate that people in the community are concerned about our officers’ welfare and keep us in mind in this way,” the spokesperson said.
“It is also good to see that it has been offered widely, not just to officers but also to others in uniformed services who may encounter dangers in their everyday work. Taking into account the recent assaults and other incidents, these kinds of gestures from the community are really encouraging to officers.”
The women’s classes will start July 5 and run every Wednesday of the month at 6:30 p.m. The children’s classes will take place Fridays in July, with children 4-7 at 4 p.m. and children 8-12 at 5 p.m.
Law enforcement training will be Saturdays from 12-1:30 p.m.