MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Kids don’t have many places to go where they can hit something with no consequences. One kickboxing class allows them to do that. But it’s other skills they’re learning that’s having the biggest impact.
“I have anger issues, so it helps me be more inside of myself and be more calm about myself,” freshman Javeries Suggs said.
Suggs attends Fairley High School. He says the Grindhouse Boxing Program has become a safe space for him to simply be himself.
‘It’s helping me become a better person because I like helping others. It’s just hard for me to sometimes do it. So it’s the right environment to do it. It’s helpful,” he said.
The students use kickboxing to learn discipline, self-control, teamwork and leadership.
“You have to have control over yourself, and you have to be able to push through when you’re tired, when your body is physically saying, ‘I don’t want to do another burpee.’ You’re pushing through. I think that skill set is able to generalize into other areas,” behavior specialist Jessica Hubbard said.
They are skills Hubbard says can be used in the classroom.
“They are held accountable for their attendance in class, their timeliness to class, their grades, their behaviors and there’s consequences all directly aligned with it,” Hubbard said.
She started the program four years ago to create a safe space for kids to learn how to control their emotions in a healthy way.
“I’m not here to teach you how to go out and fight. I’m here to teach you how to have self-discipline and self control.”
The program runs the entire school year. So far, about 25 students have successfully completed it. They’re always looking for volunteers and donations to keep it going.