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Bitney Prep senior teaches, benefits from self defense education

Submitted to The Union

Bitney Prep Senior Talbott so strongly believes that everyone should learn how to defend themselves that they’ve taken what they’ve learned over the years and is bringing it to their fellow students for free. As part of their senior project, Talbott has taught elementary school-age kids the sport of boxing. Now they are teaching a self-defense class for their fellow students at Bitney Prep.

Through their classes, Talbott hopes to impart “a greater sense of situational awareness for each person.” They also hope “that it will help students develop more self-confidence.” As more and more teens in the county are dealing with issues of depression and negative self-images, much of it caused by an over-reliance on social media for validation and interactions, Talbott sees their class as an opportunity for students to gain more control over their lives and maybe, just maybe, they’ll pull their faces from their phones every now and again.

Influenced by their older brother, who also did martial arts and self-defense in high school, Talbott really understood the power of knowing how to react in a dangerous situation when they were attacked in a public space not that long ago. “Out of muscle memory and instinct, I used one of the tactics that I am currently teaching my students to remain safe,” says Talbott. “I wasn’t harmed in the situation I was in, though if I hadn’t been taught the tactics that I know now, I could’ve gotten seriously hurt.”

It’s really about empowerment for Talbott. They want to see their peers not live in fear, but take control of their lives and gain confidence in their interactions with the world. Talbott has even opened up their self-defense class to the faculty at Bitney Prep. English Teacher Daniel Elkin, who’s attended a couple of Talbott’s classes, is impressed with Talbott’s poise and passion for what they are teaching. “It’s amazing to see Talbott take control of the class,” says Elkin. “Talbott’s got their respect and is teaching them practical skills. I’ve noticed a few of the students who were a bit reserved at first are now jumping in and disarming ‘knife-wielding assailants’ with gusto.”

In the end, for Talbott, self-defense is more than just defending yourself, it’s helping you be your best self. It’s their greatest hope that they can help other teens take on the future instead of hiding from the present; instead of getting “likes” and “shares” on their social media posts, maybe they’ll have authentic experiences that they’d like to share with each other.

Source: Bitney Prep High School

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