mental and physical skills to be strong and wise

Rockland gym offers youth self-defense program to develop ‘powerful mindset’

Mon, 07/12/2021 - 8:00am

ROCKLAND — The Midcoast Strong Gym, on Maverick Street in Rockland, is home to a personal safety program for teens and young adults. 

The course is taught by psychotherapist Amy Carpenter, who provides cognitive/behavioral skill building to increase awareness of boundaries and ways to communicate them in any scenario, and black belt instructor Chuong “C.T.” Nguyen, who provides complementary self-defense methods to equip teens and young adults with the physical skills to stand, flight, or fight effectively.

The program is advertised as an evidence-based course teaching the Midcoast’s youth how to be strong and powerful in their relationships and the world, and is open to individuals of all sexes. 

Carpenter is the author of the book Be Strong, Be Wise, which aims to empower young people, particularly young women, to overcome the danger of physical and emotional exploitation.

“Amy and I are combining skill-sets to offer a program that equips young people with the mental and physical skills to be strong and wise,” said Nguyen. 

Students in the program learn to develop stance and movement to prevent falls, effective falling methods when they do fall, gaining a release from holds and power escapes, and minimal striking that creates maximum impact when the situation mandates a fight back response, Nguyen said.

“We believe boys and girls, teens, women and men of all ages can gain from this program because it is beyond basic self-defense and self-empowerment literature,” said Nguyen, who has taught Zen martial arts for the past 35 years and certified 18 black belts, including six women. 

Students in the program will develop skills and techniques from Zen martial arts, which Nguyen said incorporates the most effective skills of kung-fu, power of taekwondo, and leverage of jiu-jitsu. 

Nguyen said he and Carpenter have been unable to find resources coming close to their next six decades of collective experience in clinical practice and martial arts training, and are excited to create a standard training program using the personal safety model for students. 

“I believe the most important gain for students completing the personal safety program is to develop a powerful mindset that one accesses because of a combination of evidence-based knowledge and effective physical practice,” Nguyen said. “Amy’s use of friendly approaches and ways to thinking about personal safety shared in her book perfectly complement my effective and mindful physical techniques that I have mastered and adapted from years of teaching martial arts.”

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