Kiel resident Richard Markham said he has had a lifelong interest—and a lot of training—in the topic of self-protection and he wants to pass along what he has learned to area residents.
With the help of others in the Kiel community, Markham has taught self-protection classes locally and is currently in the process of organizing two additional classes. These will be women’s self protection classes. “We don’t charge anything for these classes as we feel everyone should have this information,” he said. “We believe self-defense is a life skill, just like learning to operate a fire extinguisher or administering first aid.”
Although there is no fee to the participants, organizers have used these classes as a means to raise funds and to support organizations that support victims of domestic violence, sex trafficking and sexual assault in Sheboygan, Manitowoc and Calumet counties. These organizations include Safe Harbor, Manitowoc InCourage and the Sexual Assault Crisis Center in Appleton.
Watch for more details on these upcoming classes.
One past class was a collaboration between the Kiel Police Department and the Kiel Recreation Department. In addition to Markham, instructors for this class included Kiel police officer Jeremy Kamp, Jonathan Kabat and Russ Horneck. Melissa Brandt of the Kiel Recreation Department helped organize these classes.
In his interesting background, Markham said he has spent thousands of hours in clubs, gyms and on military bases learning various fighting arts or combative systems. He said he decided to model his class on a class he took many years ago with London’s Metropolitan Police.
“Now, I’ve never claimed to be an expert in this subject, but I have researched this subject extensively, and I have always tried to give expert advice, but we just never have enough time,” he said. “At the end of my last class, I can remember feeling sick to my stomach because we ran out of time, and I didn’t get to share all the information I thought these young ladies needed to hear.”
Markham said he especially wanted to pass along more information about internet safety which was one of the topics he did not have time to cover in his last class. He is providing that information here and in a note to parents and teachers added, “I hope you find it to be of interest and value, and if so, talk to your children or your students about some of these topics, and use it as a starting point for a broader discussion on safety and internet safety.”
Here are additional internet safety notes from Markham along with a little more about his youth and growing up in England:
“Now, the world has changed since many of us were kids. Many of these technological advances have revolutionized the way we communicate, interact, or engage with each other.
When I was a kid, our scout leader encouraged us to carry money in our pockets to make an emergency call from a pay phone if needed, but for most of my childhood, I didn’t know anyone who had a phone, so I’m not sure who I would have called.
We roamed throughout the East End of London and farther afield. Sometimes, if we were close to exhaustion and we had the money, we’d use public transportation to get home, but, usually, we walked and ran everywhere, and on the rare occasion we did have the money, we’d spend it on a bag of chips, a popsicle, or a chocolate bar, not on a bus ticket or an emergency call.
When I was a little older, though, I started delivering newspapers for a couple of hours before school every morning, so I had a little money, but I learned very quickly never to keep that money in my pockets; otherwise, it could have been taken from me.
Well, as luck would have it, I had a little hole in my jacket sleeve, which was just big enough to accommodate or conceal a coin or two. No one ever took my money; nobody ever found it.
In many ways, the new technology we have today is a blessing, and I recognize that a cell phone can be a very useful self-protection tool; for example, your cell phone can help you navigate safely through your environment, it can give you the ability to conduct research, check reviews, look at maps, locate gas stations, restaurants, hospitals and urgent care centers in your area, and, of course, you can use your cell phone to call a cab, call a trusted family member or friend, or, if necessary, call the emergency services, but there are some potential problems associated with this technology.
In my opinion, the biggest problem is a lack of awareness or situational awareness. If you are walking around with your head down looking at your cell phone, listening to your music, instead of paying attention to your environment, you have no awareness. This is what the military refers to as Condition White, a complete lack of awareness.
Every good self-protection instructor will tell you that the most important skill to develop in your self-protection arsenal is situational awareness.
If you have no awareness, you will not see it coming, and you can’t stop what you can’t see, so put the device away, lift up your head, and start paying attention to your environment and those around you.
Don’t be paranoid; paranoid people are even more vulnerable, but you should start paying attention to your environment and those around you. This is what the military refers to as Condition Yellow, relaxed but aware, a relaxed state of awareness.
While walking around, you should maintain the same level of awareness you would naturally have when crossing a road or driving intelligently; this level of awareness will enable you to see the good and the bad.
Life is more enjoyable, more beautiful, more interesting and more fun when you pay attention to your environment and those around you.
When I was growing up, parents would tell their children not to talk to strangers, but today, almost every sex offender on the planet has access to your children via social media.
Never accept a friend request from anyone you are not friends with in the real world.
Never share your vacation plans on social media. You don’t want the whole world to know you’ll be away from your home for two weeks.
Never post your location in real time. You don’t need the whole world to know where you are all the time.
Wait until you get home before you post those pictures.
Have your location services turned off to your cell phone camera.
Now this, in my opinion, is very important. Every child needs to hear this, but I believe it is extremely important that young ladies hear this.
I don’t care how long you’ve been dating that really great guy or how much he says he loves you, even if all the other girls in school are doing it for their boyfriends:
1. Do not post or share any pictures you would not want your grandma to see.
2. Do not post or share any pictures that you would not want displayed on your front picture window or on the school bulletin board.
Furthermore, do not post or share any pictures, memes, or messages you would not want a potential future employer to see.
Finally, remember, everything you share or post on social media will be there for an eternity.
Of course, this is not a comprehensive discussion on this topic, but I hope it helps and, hopefully, I’ll be able to share some more safety tips with you in the near future.”
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