Teaching self-defence and survival
HOLDING defence classes in his private capacity for over 30 years, a 59-year-old Durban metro policeman’s passion to help others goes beyond the call of duty.
Captain Robby Mahabeer from Asherville is the founder of the COPS Combat Academy and visits local schools on a regular basis to teach them how to defend themselves in the face of danger.
Recently, he partnered with the Ahmed Al-Kadi Private Hospital for an action-packed programme at Bonela Primary School.
While the hospital’s emergency department staff spoke on children’s rights, Mahabeer provided demonstrations on self defence and how to escape danger.
“Our natural instinct is to freeze or run away when put in a dangerous situation, but I want to help children to defend themselves,” he said. “Unfortunately, we cannot be there to protect them at all times and so they need to know how to protect themselves.”
He said his demonstrations do not place emphasis on or promote violence but to teach children how to escape.
“I show them various techniques on how to escape from a hostile situation and how to disarm a knife and firearm. To escape from their attacker is good enough.”
He also educated the children on their rights in relation to crime and explained the constitution applicable to them, which included equality, human dignity and the right to freedom from violence. He also addressed the children on anti-bullying.
Mahabeer said he aimed to create self-defence awareness nationally.
“Some children don’t always have assistance and will have to fend for themselves. South Africa is riddled with crime and people are microcosms of war. We are in a serious state of crisis. I want to empower as many civilians as possible to defend themselves.”
But the art, he said, lies in knowing how to impart the knowledge to them.
“You have to come in with a passive and tactful technique.”
Speaking on the senseless death of little Sadia Sukhraj, he said it was unfortunate that life had to be lost for the community to “catch a wake up”.
“It’s sad that we are all at risk from danger at any given time. However, we are so tactfully lazy and complacent to learn self defence.”
Mahabeer said people are becoming immune to crime and something substantial needs to be done.
He added that an average 10% of people come to him after he teaches his classes with interest.
“We can easily fight this battle; if we can just up our ability by 5% to awaken our skills, it would make a world of change.”
Mahabeer has survived innumerable near death situations. He has led many of the force’s units including the Dog Unit, Crime Prevention Unit, Patrol Unit, and Training Academy.
On an international platform, he has been trained by the US government, specifically the FBI, DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency), USSS (United States Security Services), and ATF (Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives). Nationally he has been trained in SWAT by the South African Police Services.
He is currently the charge office commander at metro police.
He said he decided to start the COPS Combat Academy to end victimisation through crime by equipping civilians with basic skills and strategies.
“Our purpose is to teach survival. Plain and simple.”
Metro Captain Robby Mahabeer, left, teaches students how to escape from a hostile situation.