Cops ‘chop’ unsafe times

2017-05-23 06:00
Judo coach Godfrey Kleinsmith doing demonstrations with some learners of Sunderland Primary School in Kensington. PHOTO: Nomzamo Yuku

Judo coach Godfrey Kleinsmith doing demonstrations with some learners of Sunderland Primary School in Kensington. PHOTO: Nomzamo Yuku

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Kensington police, in partnership with different stakeholders, have tightened their belts to keep children safe after school, introducing judo sport as a tool.

The initiative was launched at Sunderland Primary School in Fatrecton last ­Tuesday.

Other stakeholders include the community policing forum, Safer Schools non-profit organisation and the local ward councillor.

Judo is described as a form of karate that focuses on self-defence and discipline, not just fighting.

While it has only been launched at Sunderland, it will be expanded throughout the suburb and there will be two central points to accommodate children from all around ­Kensington. Lessons are free. Classes are from 15:00 to 16:00 and are open to all children.

However, members of the public are requested to help raise funds to give committed participants a practising uniform.

Police station commander Colonel Fanie Scenel says the initiative is aimed to help fight social crime in all areas that fall under Kensington Police Station. He says with the rising number of criminal activities affecting children in the area, the police felt a need to intervene. They saw judo’s ability to uplift the child and decided to bring it to the ­suburb.

“Judo is a very disciplinary sport; it will help us keep the children out of gangsterism. We have already tested it and seen its impact in two weeks. This programme started with us identifying children with problems to participate and that is because we want to change their mindset and show them there is more to life than what they are experiencing in their homes. We want to give them a sense of being needed and feel important while taking burdens off their shoulders, and teaching them respect, discipline and self-defence,” Scenel says.

About 50 Sunderland learners are already part of the judo class. Their trainer, Godfrey Kleinsmith, who is also a national judo coach, says the children have already accepted and warmed up towards the sport and were mostly showing interest in self-defence. He says this kind of sport can give children a life-changing opportunity if they take it seriously as it has provincial, national and international competitions.

Kleinsmith says the children are attracted to the uniform and would be more inspired if they had uniforms to practise in, as well as mats to practise on as the sport involves falling and balancing.

Local ward councillor Helen Jacobs says she the initiative will bring about positive change in the community. She says Kensington has recently been experiencing a high level of criminal activities that is affecting the children. Through the judo parents will know their children spend time in a safer environment than having them on the streets after school, she says.

The school’s principal, Edward Rabie, says: “Judo is going to expose learners to all aspects of life, hence I opened the doors as soon as the idea was brought forward by Scenel. It will help by uplifting them and making sure we have safer schools.”
People’s Post spent time at a judo class observing the techniques used and the response of the children, who were excited and wanted to take turns to do the demonstrations.

Federees Martin (11) said: “I am fully dedicated and excited to learn more and to know how to defend ourselves should we get attacked.”

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