PHOENIX — With school right around the corner, a number of kids are going to be in new environments that can put them in tough spots. 

To help, one Valley martial arts instructor is teaching safety and creating confidence through strength.

Joseph Edmondson, a master instructor at Next Level Fitness and Martial Arts in Gilbert said, “People think self-defense is just fighting. But it’s really multi-faceted.”

First, Edmonson says one must recognize a situation and work to remove themselves. That can include finding a teacher. 

Second, turn to what he calls verbal de-escalation, which means use your words. And if that doesn’t work, only then Edmonson says should one resort to physical self-defense.

Parents are supportive of the approach.

Jeremy Macdonald, who has two kids in the class said, “Before they may not have been able to handle it or know what to do. And now I feel like they probably will at least have a few steps to keep them safe.”

Edmonson says knowing these steps creates confidence. 

“That confidence carries into everything that they do,” Edmonson explained. 

“How they interact with people. The respect that they have for other people and their teachers. Their study habits. Everything. We’re just teaching them to be the best version of themselves.”

That best version Edmonson says makes your child less likely to fall victim of bullying and more.