Self-defence instructor offers free training for young people in the city to combat knife crime

A trainer in the Kalah Combat System is putting on free classes for young people following South Wales knife crime incidents

Kalah Wales instructor James Bourne [pictured left] offers self-defence classes to help people protect themselves from knife attacks

The head of the training school, based in central Cardiff, started offering the lessons free of charge to young people in response to knife crime in Cardiff and South Wales in 2019 and claims to have seen a notable rise in interest in the last three years from both adults and youngsters. 

James Bourne, 47, is trained in the Kalah system, an uncompromising combat technique developed by former Israeli special forces personnel, designed to be as valuable as possible in real-life situations. 

This comes as Cardiff has experienced a series of knife incidents in the last few months, including the stabbing of 44-year-old Jordan Cody-Foster just off Dumballs Road, Butetown and an incident involving multiple stabbings in the royal arcade in Cardiff, both in November 2021.

The team at Kalah Wales, a South Welsh organisation offering classes to combat knife crime
Kalah Wales offers an uncompromising and pro-active take on self-defence

After several young people lost their lives in 2019, James began offering teenagers classes in a social media post shared over 600 times. James offers “reality-based” training to simulate actual scenarios as much as possible. He explains: “In the real world, you don’t get to reset. You don’t get to make a mistake.”

James describes a culture in which, for young people, going out with a knife has become as routine as “picking up a phone.” The national lottery community fund has funded the organisation as part of its work and credits them with “making a real difference to people’s lives and tackling something that matters to their community.”

In reference to organisations like Kalah Wales, Patrick Green, CEO of the UK knife crime charity, the Ben Kinsella Trust, says he thinks that one of the most critical aspects of combating knife crime is: “Interventions through sport and the arts, giving people positive contact with mentors and positive activities to build self-esteem and self-confidence.”

Patrick’s conversation contains a stark message for young people. “If you know someone who’s carrying a knife, you’ve got to make your peer group completely not tolerate that behaviour and tell someone,” he says.

Check out the accompanying podcast version of this article for an extended interview with Patrick Green of the Ben Kinsella Trust

Watch the video below for a flavour of the no-holds-barred self-defence taught at Kalah Wales