#DitchTheBlade

"Tackling Knife Crime requires not just intervention, but also education and a viable way out of the lifestyle that promotes the carrying of a bladed article.

Martial Arts is absolutely perfect
."

Giovanni Soffietto, CEO

What Is #DitchTheBlade?

Developed in 2019 by the Fighting Chance Foundation, #DitchTheBlade aims to tackle knife-crime via a two-prong approach.

Education & Intervention

Education on the reality of knife crime, the dangers it presents, the implications of being caught with a knife and the possibility of being stabbed to death are crucial in bringing to light the truth about knives that is often glamourised by media.

Our #DitchTheBlade clubs are trained on the subject of knife crime and work to mentor and educate young people, providing a positive role-model who can understand, empathise and inspire debate around the carrying of a knife and the associated criminality often hand-in-hand.

 

Bleed Control Training

In addition to trying to intervene before it's too late we also promote the installation of life-saving Bleed Control Kits, as well as providing critical bleed control training to young people and adults most likely to come into contact with a stab victim.

Despite our best efforts to deter knife crime it can and will continue. We fundamentally believe that arming as many people as possible with the knowledge of catastrophic bleed control training alongside the ready-access of as many easy to use bleed control kits as possible will save lives.

We fundamentally believe that martial arts training can provide a viable way out of the life of carrying a knife. We recognise the often 'hand in hand' nature of Childhood Poverty and Adverse Childhood Experiences *most* of those at risk will have experienced. The resilience, grit, comradery and discipline taught by martial arts has the ability to engage and develop young people. We know this through our own lives experiences.

There has been a 29 percent increase in knife crime in England and Wales since 2011 alone.

23 children aged just 17 or younger were murdered with a knife or sharp object in the 12 months to March 2020.

There were 275 Police-recorded murders involving a knife or sharp instrument in the 12 months to March 2020.

There have been 4620 admissions to hospitals in England for attacks by sharp objects between April 2019 and March 2020.

42,549 offences were recorded in England and 1461 in Wales in the 12 months to March '21 with 10,150 in London alone.

44285 Police-recorded offences involve a knife or sharp instrument in the 12 months to March 2021. These are only recorded cases.

There is a link between violence and social inequality.

Knife Crime doesn't just happen. It's often the result of many factors, including often Childhood Poverty, Domestic Abuse and Substance Abuse.

Despite the media portraying the matter to be 'clean cut', knife crime is anything but. The motivations to carry a blade often have deep routes in socioeconomically deprived communities in which county lines and drugs are synonymous. 

Figures from the Mayor Of London in 2019 confirmed a link between Violence & Social Inequality and tackling this requires a long-term approach with a grassroots club based within the local community, run by local people. That's where martial arts comes in.

"Martial Arts Can Cut Through The Noise & Engage Those Left Behind By Society"

We've heard time and time again how martial arts has the ability to engage those most at risk of knife crime. Often young men, the positive role model set by a predominantly male instructor has a truly profound ability to inspire discipline, hard work and resilience. 

Often young men and women come to a martial arts gym for 'something to do' and leave with a purpose. A purpose to train hard and win. In martial arts there is no easy way through and no instant-quick-fix. It requires patience, hard work and consistency. This can engage young people in a way few other sports can, offering a physical outlet for frustration and a mental stimulation hard to find elsewhere in modern life.

"Is this not just promoting physical violence, and teaching thugs to fight?"

The tabloids love to throw out sensational 'black and white' headlines but the reality couldn't be further away.

Research has shown that participating in martial arts does indeed have a significant impact in reducing aggression. Of the twelve studies reviewed, eleven showed a positive impact. Central to this was that martial arts reduced the rate of externalising behaviours in participants. Externalising behaviours included, but were not limited to, physical aggression, verbal and physical bullying, theft and vandalism. Through the teaching and practices of martial arts, participants were better able to gain a sense of control over both the situations and themselves, leading to less negative emotional responses and violent behaviours. 

You Can Help Us Turn The Tables On Knife Crime

From helping us to raise funds to provide bleed control kits to helping us spread the word about the benefits of martial arts, there is always a way to help and it doesn't have to be financial.

FIND OUT HOW YOU CAN HELP

References;
Research into martial arts being effective at reducing aggression (Credit: BPS Digest)
Link Between knife crime and poverty (Credit: London Mayor's Office)