Even though the school year is in flux due to the pandemic, Valley Self-Defense co-owner Peter Eisenberg believes that it’s even more important now for students to learn how to defend themselves: “With the uncertainty that the pandemic and the political situation in our country brings, it is important for students to understand their surroundings and how to protect themselves in stressful situations.”

Valley Self-Defense will be hosting three back-to-school seminars this August for students of all ages. Lessons learned will be based on age and school level – while all students will learn how to stand up to bullies and avoid strangers, students in high school and college will learn about consent, as well as how to communicate effectively.

Co-owner Shelly Johnson notes that self-defense is more than just teaching someone how to hit or kick: “While it’s important to teach people how to protect themselves physically, we need to teach students – and especially those students going into college and into the world – that their “no” is their right. Giving someone the confidence to say “no” is just as important as how to defend against a slap or a punch.”

Due to the pandemic, teaching will be socially distanced outside with members of the same household working together.

Younger students will learn some of the same lessons – consent is for all ages – but using games and laughter to help make the point stick.

“Teaching a child confidence now will make them a harder target for bullies later and that’s what we do – we make sure children know their worth in a fun and safe environment,” said co-owner Danae Hudson.

Classes for students age 13+is Saturday, Aug. 15 at 1 p.m.; for students ages 5-8 Saturday, Aug. 22 at 1 p.m. and for students ages 9-12 Saturday, Aug. 22 at 2 p.m.

Valley Self-Defense was founded in August of 2012 in Stillwater, Minnesota as part of the International Krav Maga Federation. Valley Self-Defense is proud to also offer trauma-informed self-defense training with all instructors trained in trauma-informed care. Valley Self-Defense is located at 5647 Memorial Ave North, Oak Park Heights.

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