Simone Mitchell has been studying and teaching martial arts for 15 plus years now, and working with I Matter for almost two. Her classes help students achieve so much more in the pursuit of wellbeing than just self-protection skills.
“It happens by osmosis”, says Simone. It’s not about teaching people to fight, or getting that second dan, as Simone “tailors the class to the people that are participating”. “It’s based on the needs of the people in that class, and if we just have a one-size-fits-all idea and people aren’t successful at the activity, they’re not going to walk away feeling empowered”.
Empowerment is the name of the game in Simone’s classes, with success measured by the outcomes each participant experiences. Although a new class with new people can be “pretty scary for people when they first come”, especially “as there is an element of contact with each other”, it’s always “exciting to see people’s confidence grow each time they come in”. “I’m privileged to be able to work with people that maybe don’t have access to these sort of activities on a regular basis”.
Everyone has experiences where they don’t feel in control, and sometimes if you have experienced “something that you didn’t want to happen, you start to mitigate risk more”. This can lead to significant negative impacts. Through her work with I Matter Foundation, Simone has seen “growth not just physically, but emotionally”.
In “building strength, and confidence in their own bodies”, students can learn to “be ok to take control of a situation, either by walking away or stopping something before it escalates”. Having the confidence and ability to enact these strategies can be useful for anyone.
“You don’t realise sometimes what a big impact being involve with something like I Matter Foundation” has. But now you can find out just what that impact could do for you – reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org to find out about joining a class, or booking a course for a group you work with.
Harry Patté-Dobbs is a creative writer, poet and blogger who has written for student and community news, the theatre, and media outlets.