Martial arts transforms lives of children - GulfToday

Martial arts transforms lives of children


A student is being graded at The Warrior Academy.

Manjula Ramakrishnan

Sebastian Bates lives by example. A martial arts expert, instructor and author, he showed how after a terrible accident that shattered all but his confidence, martial arts helped him rehabilitate and recover. Founder of Warrior Academy, the martial arts school that helps parents transform their children into highly focused leaders, Sebastian has transformed the lives of thousands of children through his over 70 clubs around the world.

An interview with him follows.

How important is self defence and learning martial arts?

Martial Arts is one of the most empowering tools available within the sphere of self development, both for adults and children. Thanks to martial arts our students become stronger, fitter, faster and healthier and we give them the tools to defend themselves and those around them. Besides, we develop their mind. We teach mindfulness and meditation, giving students the tools to lower anxiety, calm their mind and develop a strong inner voice.

What is Warrior Academy all about?

The Warrior Academy (or the #WarriorFamily) is a community of parents who share the same values and ethos and believe the development of a child’s character is more important than the development of their grades.

warrior-academy-750-2 A class is in progress at The Warrior Academy.

Following our 4 Step Methodology we use martial arts as the vehicle to make radical, long lasting change, specifically in the 3 C’s - Confidence, Conduct and Concentration. By doing this, we set children up for an exciting, successful and compelling life as an adult.

What are the various programmes taught in Warrior Academy?

Here in Dubai our team focuses on small age-specific groups, capped in size at 13 with 30 classes across Dubai. The first stage is to interview all new students/parents to ensure we are the right fit for them. We then quickly get to work on establishing each child’s “Breakthrough Area” – an area of focus that once developed to a high level creates a rapid improvement in their 3 C’s.


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Can you elaborate on the 3 C’s?

The 3 C’s are fundamental to our methodology. When focusing on the development of a young person, there are certain aspects that impact the growth of a child: their grades in school, the friends they choose to make, their moral compass, their emotional intelligence, and their happiness that ultimately contributes to the success they experience in life. By developing all 3 C’s to a high level, a child develops what we have termed “A Black Belt Character” – the goal of our programme.

Can you describe your path to recovery after your tragic accident?

Right from a young age, my thirst for adventure has taken me on challenges around the world; from joining the Royal Marines aged 16, cycling across the Sahara Desert at 17, becoming a professional Muay Thai fighter and eventually doing over 500 skydives and BASE Jumps.

Sebastian Bates, founder of The Warrior Academy.

In 2014, I was just 24 and at the peak of physical fitness. During a wing suit base jump from the Swiss Alps, my parachute collapsed and I dropped 50 foot. I broke both legs, both feet, both ankles, and caused irreversible damage to the tendons in my feet and ankles. I survived only to be told that I would never walk again. It took two years to learn to walk again using martial arts for rehabilitation and bringing myself as far as to competing nationally in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

Can you tell us about the books you have written?

In 2018 I released The Warrior Method that became a best-seller. The book details my 4-step methodology. This year I’ll release my second book Not A Victim – an emergency survival guide to help parents mentor their children through bullying. Bullying is also one of the main reasons I started the Warrior Academy almost 10 years ago. Bullying has this incredible ability to make or break a child’s character and it’s a subject very close to my heart, having spent years going through bullying myself. Not A Victim will give parents practical, honest and powerful advice on how to mentor their children through the transition so they can emerge stronger and confident.

What is the way forward for Warrior Academy?       

The Warrior Academy is becoming a real movement for parents across Dubai. I’m approached everyday by new parents who have read the book, listened to The Warrior Academy podcast (ranked no.3 in the world on Education) or have heard about the changes we have made from their friends. I look forward to expanding the Warrior Academy into three continents over the next five years.  

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