This June, 50 girls and boy across Toronto put down their cells and moved with me through my very first dance and self-defense workshop series, with emphasis on engaging girls 10 to 17.
The goal of the series was to promote exercise and safety across some of Toronto's most under-resourced neighbourhoods through ParticiPACTION's Community Better Challenge.
Through the sessions, participants were encouraged to move for 1-hour and learn new moves to some of the hottest Latin HipHop tracks. Following dance, were safety circle discussions between Niv (from Krav Maga Maleh Canada) and the girls. The girls became aware of what could become an unsafe situation and got the chance to practice self-defense techniques in case they ever faced a life-threatening situation. These included how to get out of wrist grabs, choke holds, backpack and purse thefts and more.
To ensure the workshop success, all hosts and youth were consulted about the workshops and had a choice in taking-part.
None of the participants had formal self-defense or martial arts training prior to the workshop
None of the participants had formal HipHop or Latin dance training prior to the workshop
Each workshop had between 12 to 15 participants in attendance (our goal was 8 per workshop)
All of the participants smiled and laughed throughout the activities
All of the participants enjoyed the dance portion and expressed an interest in more dance classes
All of the participants left with basic safety and self-defense training and some expressed an interest in learning more advanced self-defense techniques
A majority of the participants moved for at least 1-hour and met a part of their weekly exercise recommendations
Sumera created new partnerships with caring organizations and looks forward to working together to get more kids moving and feeling safe across Ontario.
If you’re an organization that is interested in partnering with me to get kids moving through a fun dance and self-defense workshop, please do leave me a message below.