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TEMPLE, Texas — TJ Waldburger is a graduate of Belton High School who now owns the Grappler’s Lair Martial Arts Gym alongside his wife Shayla Waldburger.
The two heard that the community, particularly parents, were still expressing worries about sending their kids to school this school year.
To help with this, the couple is hosting a free self-defense clinic next Thursday, Sep. 15th for the community. Kids ages eight to twelve will have a session from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. and adults will be able to participate from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Though the sessions will be short, TJ says setting the foundation is essential to understanding self-defense.
“Unfortunately, I can’t make you a black belt in an hour and a half,” TJ, a former UFC professional fighter said. “But I can give you some great core concepts and some great ideas and some techniques you can take home with you that you can practice with your family or solo.”
“It just gives the community a sense of peace and knowing that there are things that you can do,” TJ’s wife Shayla said. “And that you know, unfortunately closing the door and locking it isn’t going to solve the problem always.”
TJ says he hopes to provide more free clinics like these. The mental and physical aspects of self-defense are crucial to keeping people safe. Both TJ and Shayla say that repeated practice leads to confidence in difficult situations, which in turn creates leaders.
“That’s half of it, self-defense is half,” TJ said. “But the mindset these leadership skills, being good person is the other half and we need to make sure that we’re building those characters, building those future leaders.”
Shayla says having that confidence to know you can protect yourself and possibly even others can change any situation.
“I think being confident and not feeling like you have to go out and have this rough exterior, being able to be calm and steady on the surface and assessing a situation and thinking rationally about how to handle a situation is key. I think that all those are tools that you learn when you’re consistently doing martial arts,” Shayla said.
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