Battle Ground martial arts program teaches kids benefits of self-defense


The Battle Ground Martial Arts Academy introduces children to the world of self-defense through a variety of kickboxing classes. 

Academy owner Jeremiah Rodeman is enthusiastic about teaching kids how to defend themselves and stay in shape.

“Everything revolves around self-defense, which is our main objective,” said Rodeman. “Grappling is important, but I feel it’s important for kids to be able to learn to strike as well.”

Rodeman said the kids kickboxing program has grown in popularity because certain COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted. Some families have also been “fed up” with sports and wanted to see other activities in the community.

“Because of that, some people have shifted gears with what their kids are doing when it comes to sports and athletics,” he said.

Rodeman said the academy currently teaches 20 kids in each class and staff is willing to teach more. Because the lessons are basic, they last 45 minutes.

Besides learning self-defense, Rodeman said other benefits of the program include flexibility, endurance, hand-eye coordination and learning discipline. 

“We have a skillset we try to instill on the kids that come into the program aside from the health benefits,” he said. “They’re learning stuff they can carry into their classroom, at home, or just out in public.”

Rodeman said the focus kids learn in the class can be transferred into other areas of life. The classes use drills and keep the students engaged in their technique. The instructors use a countdown as one example to help the kids focus. They also conduct pop quizzes to see what information the kids retain and encourage the kids to teach the others in the program. 

“I believe that helps kids grow a lot faster as well, observing but to know that they’ll have to point out some details about the techniques,” he said. 

He noted that people tend to focus more when they know they’re going to have to teach someone a technique.

Rodeman said teaching children is fun. It can be challenging, yet rewarding, he said. 

“Depending on the amount of time the child spends in the program, you can see the changes in them not only in the class, but in their everyday life,” he said. “For instance, a child comes into the class and on the first day, they’re scared and shy. They don’t want to raise their hand to point out some details, and then six months later, now they’re raising their hand and want to share a detail they picked up during the instruction, or even asking questions.”

Rodeman started his martial arts background in wrestling and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu around 1999. He was inspired to be a mixed martial arts fighter from a young age and was “disciplined in every art” to try to get there. He took up boxing and later Muay Thai, which he studied in Thailand. In 2007, instead of fighting for sport, he felt compelled to use his skills to teach others so he became a self-defense instructor instead. 

“It’s not only about self-defense, but I think as people gain more confidence in their combative skills, they’ll tend to get less confrontations,” Rodeman said. “I think they’ll find more ways to communicate their way out of something rather than fighting because they’re confident in their abilities.”

Classes are on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 4:15 p.m. The Battle Ground Martial Arts Academy is located at 1418 SE 14th Place, Building A, Suite 120, Battle Ground.