This week's Newsmaker is Leighton White, chief instructor at the School of Self-Protection, who has been encouraging Rotorua people to take up self-defence classes.

Tell us a bit about yourself?

I am 35 years young, single and was born in Rotorua. I have spent a large part of my life living, training and working in Rotorua. I enjoy meeting new people and spending time with my friends.

What motivated you to get involved with self defence?


Initially, through my combat martial arts training, which I started when I was still at high school.

Then it was extended through specialist training and involvement with military personnel, various security roles I have had, and when I was a prison officer and instructor with the New Zealand Public Prisons Service.

Tell us about your role at the School of Self-Protection?

My role as chief instructor at the School of Self-Protection is to oversee all training and instruct all courses to ensure we are using best practice methods, ensuring the training is intensive, realistic and also safe.

Why do you think teaching people to defend themselves is important?

I believe having real-world self-protection skills is such an important life skill to have today for both men and women, given the level of violence in today's society.

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4 Jun, 2014 3:00pm
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You can just happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, and be a victim of circumstance. So given this, I believe that you should arm yourself with real-world knowledge and skills.

Some self defence moves come from forms of martial art, are you involved with any martial arts?

I am also a 4th Dan, 4th Degree, black belt instructor in Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu, otherwise known as Ninjutsu, which is a Japanese based combat martial art.

I actively teach classes in Rotorua. I am also qualified, ranked and continue to train in Military Close Quarter Battle, military hand to hand combat.

What do you do when you're not taking classes?

I am involved in risk assessment and management. I am also constantly upskilling and trying to learn more about my trade and improve my current skillsets.

What's your favourite thing about Rotorua?

I like the fact Rotorua is central to so many activities, and I have made some good friends here.

Tell us three things about yourself most people wouldn't know?

I am a hardcore "metlar" metalhead, (heavy metal music enthusiast), and play heavy metal guitar.

I collect World War II regalia and paraphernalia.

I am an avid non-fiction reader of military history and the history of warfare.