• Zach Paone

“Street Smart” Self-Defense from Tokyo Joe’s

Today Stepping Stones proudly welcomed karate Grand Master Bobby LaMattina and Kyoshi Dave LaMattina into our center. Despite the warm, gorgeous weather, several of our youth stayed inside to learn self-defense from a Nashua legend who has enriched the lives of countless students in his forty-year career as a martial arts instructor at Tokyo Joe’s studio. It is easy to see why many of our youth looked forward to the event; after all, self-defense is a vital skill for maintaining safety on the streets where they spend much of their time. Grant Master LaMattina’s core advice to “not just be smart, be street smart” resonated with everyone in the room.


Tokyo Joe’s audience walked away satisfied, having gained many of the skills they expected when they signed up for the course, such as how to block attacks and safe, effective techniques for disarming a perpetrator. What may have come as a surprise were the great lengths the LaMattinas went to stress the importance of avoiding conflict. Today our youth learned how to block and strike an attacker if they have to, and the course was rich with a variety of what-if scenarios that will help prepare our youth for making the correct snap decisions that can save their life if

Self Defense Class with Toyko Joe

they find themselves at risk of becoming a victim to violence. Despite his skill as a martial artist, LaMattina made it clear that running away is the best first option. Further, he expressed that most conflicts can be avoided by walking with confidence through every situation, by loving yourself for who you are, being kind to others, and remaining alert and focused.

These are important lessons that make a far greater impact on our youth than simply teaching them how to throw a punch, and we are happy that Tokyo Joe’s engaged them with this message.


Most importantly, we all had fun! It was great to see the youth at Stepping Stones smiling and laughing their way out of their comfort zone to try new techniques. Today’s program focused on love and positive energy, which helped the interactive self-defense scenarios play out in the smoothest, calmest way. The class ended with a mindfulness meditation that felt almost as valuable as anything else. As we centered ourselves with a breathing technique, LaMattina taught us how to reflect on the things we love about ourselves and how to send those positive messages out to those who need them.


It was a refreshing end to a great class.


We are very grateful to Tokyo Joe’s for this program. We look forward to hosting more successful programs like this in the future. Stay tuned.


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