Fit Pros values and respects your role as HR and understands the many steps it can take to engage employees with a wellness program that works. A fitness class, for example, is usually just an hour and saves an employee from having to find the time to work out. A wellness program that expands the scope of wellness to areas of safety and learning, such as in a self-defense workshop, offers a more well-rounded experience. Employees will walk away with transferable skills that can be applied in and out of the workplace.
Wellness encompasses more than just physical exertion, its safety too! One workshop that every person should try is self-defense–and Fit Pros takes it even further by offering it to you onsite.
The topic of self-defense class usually elicits an image of female-empowerment and a last-straw solution after encountering a traumatizing attack. However, self-defense is a choice for everyone: men and women, and for those who have never been in a fight before. Learning self-defense is an important way to safeguard yourself in case of any possible attack. Why not learn these life-saving skills now before the situation presents itself in the real-world and in the workplace? This well-rounded self-defense workshop will teach employees the fundamental principles of stop drills, as well as the psychological aspects of self-awareness and verbal cues that can be used to protect yourself.
The rudimentary definition of a 'stop drill’ is described as a tangible drill attached to a band that restricts its degree of penetration. In Fit Pros' self-defense workshop, the same idea is applied when confronting an attacker. The purpose is to use physical and cognitive techniques to limit the severity of an attacker’s blows. The primary stop drill inflicts debilitating injury by using penetration and rotation, discovering and isolating an attacker’s weak spots, gaining a sense of foresight to to know how to identify common reactions, and being able to coordinate and integrate all these techniques to ensure an effective rebuttal.
Employees will learn how to be less reactive, and more proactive to situations that may fare for the worse. Thankfully, attackers are usually entirely impulsive and reactive when they "plan" an attack and choose victims who seem vulnerable. They won't be expecting the victim to know how to fight back, or to know where their weak spots are. The element of surprise could be your best weapon against the attacker. And keep in mind that this newfound confidence means you should draw attention to yourself. So yell and scream with the skills you've learned. That could be enough to scare off the attacker and dissuade them from targeting you in the first place.
To incentivize a self-defense workshop even further, you can prove its benefits to employees with scientific backing. For example, "Studies report an improvement in psychological health related to martial arts practice, including improved anger management and sense of well-being, and decreased depression and sleep disruption. Breast cancer survivors randomly assigned to 12 weeks of tai chi practice noted gains in self-esteem compared to those in a psychosocial support group, who actually had declines in their self-esteem. Martial arts practice may be a useful adjunct to traditional psychotherapy." (1) Employees can practice the amazing principles of martial arts and target untapped areas of well-being. Self-esteem is akin to self-care: both are still underserved nor taken seriously under the umbrella of "wellness." Treating yourself well is half the battle. Using this knowledge and strength is the second. Knowing that we can take of ourselves is an incentive worth taking.
The bonus of taking this workshop with fellow co-workers is that it creates team camaraderie and can ultimately boost morale for your workplace. This workshop can ease employees with social anxiety and boost their self-awareness, making it easier to use their voice assertively and share with others without the limiting self-talk. A study from Pubmed.gov further explains these cognitive benefits: “The physical learning through the nonverbal exercises of the martial arts can improve mental health. It fosters recognition of the integration of mind and body, teaches practitioners to relax, to focus, to communicate, to persevere, and to be self-aware and self-accepting, while striving for improvement. In addition, it emphasizes minimizing fear and anger in order to maximize focus and concentration.” (2) And most importantly, employees will know how to use this insight because if an altercation presents itself, they have complete permission to defend themselves: they have permission to be rude, to experiment with techniques, to be intuitive, and and to do whatever it will take to win.
Employees can ultimately achieve a sort of work-life balance that will keep them safe in any situation. If they are aware of your surroundings, that peace of mind can free them to be more productive at work and more confident in life. Within the culture of a workplace, any group activity that is challenging, such as a self-defense, will most likely leave employees with a feeling of closeness and mutual respect for accomplishing something so primal and so necessary–learning to defend and protect the self.
(1) Woodward TW. A review of the effects of martial arts practice on health. WMJ. 2009 Feb;108(1):40-3. Review. PubMed PMID: 19326635.
(2) Weiser M, Kutz I, Kutz SJ, Weiser D. Psychotherapeutic aspects of the martial arts. Am J Psychother. 1995 Winter;49(1):118-27. Review. PubMed PMID: 7762694.