Tash Newell attributes her success solely to her martial arts training, and she is paying it forward with the announcement that her business, Kumiai Ryu Martial Arts System (KRMAS) at Weston, will be granting two scholarships to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children between the ages of six and 11 in NAIDOC Week every year.
Tash and her husband Ben Newell are both members of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community and own KRMAS Weston Creek. They are announcing the scholarships to coincide with NAIDOC week.
“We’re awarding two Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander scholarships. We wanted to give back to the Indigenous community,” said Tash, “to two students every year, one girl one boy aged between six and 11.
“Martial arts changed my life. I come from a disadvantaged background and I attribute all my success to my martial arts training. Now that we’re in a position to do it, I’d like to give that back to the community and give kids a chance.”
The Weston dojo (studio) offers little ninja classes for kids between the ages of three and up, with a range of disciplines to choose from.
The children’s classes focus on teaching respect, confidence building, community and social values, development of self-respect, teamwork, personal protection skills, behaviour and social control, self-worth, and goal setting, and they have trained many students to become State, National, and International Champions.
All instructors at the dojo are recognised by the Australian Sports Commission, have the relevant National Sporting Organisations Accreditation and have met the requirements of the ACT Child Protection Act.
“We teach kids from as young as three. It’s hard at the start for them, but we tell them exactly what it’s for, and they’re not allowed to use it outside unless they’re in trouble,” said Tash.
“We tell them the smarter things to do other than punch or kick. We teach them about their surroundings. We tell them to run away if they need to.”
“We also get them really loud in class, we tell them that’s the best way to defend themselves if they’re in trouble, and we constantly build confidence in classes,” she said.
The adult classes blend traditional Okinawan and Japanese Karate, Kenpo, Kyusho Jitsu and include applications from Philippine Combatives, traditional weaponry and Kata with practical self-defence applications.
“It’s definitely not about just learning how to punch and kick,” said Tash. “There’s so much more to it than that. We teach kids, adults, ladies only, fitness classes and personal training classes.
“Everything we do is based around self-defence. We’re not as flashy as all those jumping and kicks you might see on the movies. Self-defence is meant to be simple and effective, so anyone can get in and learn it quite quickly.”
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The dojo’s mottos represent their ideology and their approach for both children and adults; ‘Martial Arts Begins and Ends with Respect‘, ‘Give your child an unfair advantage, at school, at sport, at life‘, and ‘Respect All, Fear None‘.