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Frequently Asked Questions

From understanding conflict to nonviolent intervention and the physical defence of self.


We understand you may have questions pertaining to our courses as they cover a broad range of areas within conflict management. Here are some of the most commonly asked questions. Should you not find the questions or answers you are seeking, simply connect with us and we look forward to answering your specific questions.

Norton Arts provides education in IDENTIFYING, AVOIDING & MANAGING conflict.

Norton Arts Conflict Management and Self-Protection PEI

What do you offer for workplace environments?

Norton Arts believes in taking a very tailored approach to workplace training as we understand and appreciate that every environment offers its unique challenges. We take the time to listen to the specific needs and custom build a course suited towards that environment and those that work in it.  Our focus is always on preventing physical conflict and our Modular-Based (CMT) provides a truly wonderful step-by-step approach to suit those specific needs. We also offer a special Mix n' Match plan which provides a designated time slot to suit the needs of the workplace environment while covering sections of your chosen modules.

I like the idea of self-protection training for my staff, but I’m worried about the liability issues. Do you provide any training that focuses on nonviolent crisis intervention?

Norton Arts provides training from the very understanding of conflict all the way through to the physical defence of self. So yes, we most certainly do! Our excellent Modular-Based (CMT) provides you with separated modules in order to build or improve your knowledge of conflict. With the Understanding Conflict module, we delve into areas such as emotions, perception, personalities and more. Additional modules such as Personal Safety and Verbal Engagement are also non-physical and lay the groundwork to become comfortable with the direction Norton Arts takes. Even the highly popular module on Personal Space Management is perfect as it truly focuses on integrating the verbal and nonverbal aspects of conflict management. Even though this particular module includes some physicality to it, it does so in full cohesion with the Criminal Code while addressing potential liability issues. It also goes far beyond what is taught in many other nonviolent intervention courses.

Whatever your needs are, we tailor what we do to you. Simply connect with us and let's discuss.

What is Self-Protection?

Self-protection is a life skill and focuses on IDENTIFYING, AVOIDING and MANAGING conflict situations. It is learning the skills to reduce the chances of violence against us but also focusing on managing conflict should it turn physical. Self-protection focuses on prevention first and foremost. It provides a balanced education that starts with identifying potential threats through to the physical defence of self.

What’s the difference between self-defence and self-protection?

It is a matter of perception and terminology often used to describe the same thing. However, it is how others may come to understand what they are. Many perceive the term “self-defence” as solely learning the physical aspect. In many cases, it is perceived this way due to martial art clubs promoting what they do as self-defence. Martial arts and self-defence are very different. The term “Self-protection” is more commonly associated with a heavier emphasis on violence prevention but also teaches the physical defence of self.

How is Self-protection part of conflict management?

Depending upon where you live in the world, conflict management can be viewed in different ways. Some see conflict management as mediation or arbitration and they would be correct. Others also use conflict management to describe a more thorough picture inclusive of all elements of conflict from simple disputes to warfare. So in the big picture of conflict management, self-protection is indeed part of it.

Do you address important issues such as the legal aspect?

Absolutely! We place heavy emphasis on teaching people their legal rights and responsibilities when it comes to self-defence. We fully educate on aspects of the Canadian Criminal Code or those pertinent to the country we are teaching in at the time. Learning your rights is so much more than reading the words. It is also understanding how knowing your rights, impacts you on a psychological level. We teach you what we term as the "Psychological Permission Slip". This helps you to truly understand your rights and how to effectively communicate within a conflict where communication is a possibility.

Many self-defence classes only teach physicality. Why is this?

For many instructors, their background has been in the traditional arts. As a result, they may have only learned the physical aspect of defending oneself. If you arrive at a self-defence course and the instructor is wearing their gi, then it is a fair assessment that you are about to learn martial art based techniques taught in a martial art based way. No practical self-defence class should be teaching the physical element before educating in the non-physical. In addition, the physical element should be built upon reality, therefore non-complicated in nature.

What should I expect to learn?

Unlike many other courses, we cover many aspects of self-protection from understanding your legal rights all the way through to the physical defence of self. Our courses include role-playing exercises to better understand situational awareness and engagement. You can expect to be guided through various elements of self-protection inclusive of learning effective verbal and nonverbal communication. The courses are also tailored towards you, so it is important to bring your needs and or concerns to our attention to better suit you.

Why should I learn self-protection when I take martial arts?

A great question! Martial arts are disciplines learned over a long period of time. As part of these disciplines, we learn multiple techniques in both slow and fast forms. Depending upon the discipline, different aspects are learned. However, in most cases the focus is heavily on physicality and areas such as control and breathing. The major areas of self-protection are not typically taught within the martial arts, especially the traditional systems. Look at it as continued learning. Learning self-protection helps you to develop further skills outside of what you are already learning. By learning self-protection, it can only add to what you already know and nobody knows everything.

Martial arts and self-defence are the same thing, right?

No! This is probably one of the biggest misconceptions when it comes to the physical defence of self. Although both teach physical defensive methods, one is highly technique-driven and at times sport orientated, while the other (self-defence) is not. It is true that there are modern martial arts that focus more on the realistic approach but what most people see as martial arts, this being the traditional systems, are not. Martial arts are disciplines taught over a prolonged period of time becoming more and more complicated as you progress through the ranks. Self-defence is kept real and simple to ensure it can be used in real-life encounters. In addition, most martial arts only focuses on the physicality aspect of self-defence and do not focus on the all-important elements as taught in practical self-defence. This being prevention.

When someone is looking to take a self-defence class they should ensure it provides a balance between the physical and nonphysical elements and is not taught through a traditional martial arts perspective.


I live in a safe place, so why should I learn to protect myself?

Although living in a lower-risk environment may reduce your chances of being victimized, it does not completely prevent something from happening. Violence can happen at any time and to anyone. This could involve strangers and also domestic violence. Another thing we should not forget is that many people travel outside of their safe environments.

As there are no guarantees in life and no one can predict the future, then it is proactive to learn the skills to become preventative. Let’s not forget that self-protection covers much more than just physicality. Simply learning your rights, what signals you are emitting and knowing how to identify danger is learning effective life skills to protect yourself. Not everything should be reactive in life. Think of learning self-protection in this way. It is a life skill. The more you learn, the safer you become.


What age groups do you teach self-protection to?

Typically we teach self-protection to all over the age of 12. Our courses are adapted to become age appropriate whilst still focusing on the realities of danger. We do offer non-physical education classes to those under the age of 12. These classes focus solely on identifying and avoiding danger. They also focus on educating in managing bullying.


Shouldn’t we focus more on those that commit violent acts than teaching others how to protect themselves?

In a perfect world, I would agree with that euphoric thinking, however, we do not live in a perfect world. There has been violence since the beginning of the human race and it will not cease anytime soon. Personalities, learned behaviours, environmental and emotional stressors among other things, drive the desire to harm others. Serial killers typically do not care about being caught as they are more focused on meeting their own needs. In many cases, those that commit violent acts against others are not thinking or even care about potential consequences. So by learning self-protection, you are taking your personal safety into your own hands. By doing so you become proactive. Should you have to? No, but that is reality!


How long does it take to learn self-protection?

There are so many aspects to learning self-protection hence why martial artists, for example, see their learning as an ongoing discipline. It is true that the more we practice, the more proficient we become at things. However, the main point of learning self-protection is to become educated in ideally preventing physical conflict. As a result, a single class can provide valuable information in identifying and avoiding danger. The physical aspect can be also be taught in a short time frame as what is taught is kept simple. In addition to the stand-alone courses that Norton Arts offers, we also have a Modular-Based (CMT) option. This provides an excellent insight into conflict at a steady progression and provides education from the psychological aspect through to weapon-based defence.

Do you honestly believe these fancy techniques will work in the real world?

Norton Arts does NOT teach fancy techniques. We are teaching practical self-protection skills that are not from the movies or those taught in many martial art classes. Firstly we are teaching you how to identify danger and then avoid it. Should you have to manage physical conflict then what we teach is kept simple, practical and real. We also teach towards YOU and not just what works for the instructor, or is part of a set curriculum.


I’m a nice person, so why would someone try to harm me?

Unfortunately, the world can be a violent place. Based upon many factors you may simply fit a need for those that choose you as a potential target. Violence can happen at any time and to anyone. Just because you are nice, doesn’t mean everyone else is. By learning skills in self-protection you become more aware of your surroundings. As a result, this reduces the chances of being assaulted.

Is this suitable for law enforcement officers?

Although law enforcement officers are trained in self-protection from the academy, we do provide additional training to go deeper into their specific needs. This training focuses heavily on communication styles within an engagement. Our training in personal space management is extensive and can be a great asset to those in law enforcement, healthcare, security and more.

What happens if they have a weapon?

As the saying goes “The safest place to be when a crisis occurs is nowhere around!” As obvious as this sounds it is amazing how many do not remove themselves from a potentially dangerous situation at the first sign of danger. Norton Arts does teach how to protect yourself from some of the most common weapons in our Advanced Module. We do not cover this in basic training as to do so would be dangerous for the participant. Teaching defence against weapons when participants have no or very little insight into self-protection is not only dangerous it is also negligent. Teaching weapon defence at a novice level could instill a dangerous level of self-confidence that would be putting them in more potential harm than good.


Do I have to be fit to take a class in self-protection?

Please remember that this is not a martial art or fitness class and that a fair percentage of what we teach is non-physical in nature. In fact, 50% of our Modular-Based (CMT) modules are non-physical. Although it certainly helps to have the stamina to run, our courses are built to suit all. Even those that may have physical disabilities can learn much from our courses. If you feel there are reasons why you or others in a group may not be able to participate, then please reach out and let’s discuss.


I have been attacked before, how do you help with emotional healing?

This has got to be one of the most powerful questions received and something brought up on a frequent basis. Emotional healing is a huge part of self-protection. Although we try to educate on becoming proactive, there is and always will be the reaction based component. In fact, I have come across those that have learned martial arts for over 20 years become emotionally withdrawn after an assault as they had never trained or become educated in the realistic nature of violence.


All our courses take a steady progression through the process of conflict management to ensure that those who participate feel comfortable with what they are learning. No one is coerced into participating in areas they feel uncomfortable.

Through the years of educating in self-protection, I have come across many that have been previously assaulted. They either understand the importance of future prevention or are introducing someone they love to the training in order to prevent them from going through the same hardships. All participants are urged to be open and the material is taught in a relaxed and friendly manner.

The courses are about you! Be sure to read up on the Testimonials from other participants as they would help put your mind at ease.


Do you also teach men?

Although the larger audience is typically women, we absolutely do teach men. In many cases, men do not see the need to learn self-protection and are more interested in learning how to fight. The biggest thing that gets in the way of men learning to protect themselves is their ego. What we teach in the men’s classes is certainly different than the women’s. Our School-Based curriculum, for example, focuses heavily on managing conflict versus fighting. It educates on the need for pushing ego aside and seeking a peaceful resolution but also on the realistic physical defence of self.

I’m shy; how can you convince me to take a course in self-protection?

Our courses are extremely empowering. The courses are taught in a friendly manner and all participants are made to feel relaxed during the opening minutes. We also touch base on many emotions and personalities within the courses from both an aggressor and defendants perspective. At NO time are you coerced into participating, but do understand that you are learning self-protection. As much as you are a nice person, those that choose to attack others are not so nice and these people quite often see shyness as an easier target. Don’t worry… We shall help you to find that warrior inside of you!

I have a physical disability, how do you compensate for this?

All our courses are tailored as much as possible towards those taking them. Physical disability or not, there is much to learn throughout a large percentage of the course that is non-physical in nature. Even though a physical disability may present certain challenges, they’re just that… challenges. We work with you and for you to help you manage and hopefully overcome as many of these challenges as possible.

Is there a chance of getting injured while learning self-protection?

There is always an inherent risk of personal injury in almost all physical activities. Participants may get minor bumps, bruises and possibly scratches at time. The chances of serious injury are minimal as the instruction provided is extremely thorough. Should participants not listen or follow the instructions provided then the risk of injury certainly increases. Due to the nature of the material taught there is an emotional aspect that is stressed. These reactions will differ based upon the participant and their respective history. The courses are built to empower but also deals with the realistic element of conflict.

I’ve taken a self-defence class before and it was unrealistic. It was all physical and based upon karate. What makes your course any different?

Karate like most other martial arts; especially the traditional systems, are disciplines. These disciplines are taught over a prolonged period of time and seldom teach the realistic aspect of the conflict. These disciplines involve everyone learning the same thing in order to progress through the respective ranking system. They are also based solely upon the physical element of conflict and are therefore extremely reactive in nature. The physical techniques taught are complex movements and many years of practice are required for them to be potentially effective.

Our courses are not only reality-based but extremely practical. Our primary focus is on preventing violent encounters hence why we go into great length surrounding the identification and avoidance of danger. Unlike what you may have already taken we also focus on verbal engagement as part of the prevention skills. The physical element is built to provide you the greater chance of them being effective by focusing on you versus what works for an experienced martial artist.

Whether you have taken another self-defence course, train in martial arts or have never learned any form of defence, then our courses provide you with life skills to be safer. We are not in competition with anyone or any club, as what we teach is not based upon martial art philosophies.

How should I prepare for a self-protection course?

Great question! Everyone is unique and has different reasons for learning self-protection. My advice would be to look at it as a huge session in becoming empowered. If you are looking to learn it to prevent violence or feel the need to learn it as a result of violence, then these courses provide you with many valuable life skills. I would encourage you to read through the testimonials from those that have already learned from Norton Arts, as these people will offer some truly wonderful insights from their personal perspectives.

One last thing… Should you have any specific apprehensions about learning self-protection, simply contact us and we will be more than happy to answer your questions.

What should I wear to a self-protection class?

Whatever you feel comfortable in! These are not martial art classes so there are no gi’s, belts or bare feet. If you are participating at one of our community-based workshops, then we ask you to bring a suitable pair of indoor shoes to respect our partners' flooring. Other than this, simply wear what you are comfortable wearing.


Do you teach privately?

Yes. Norton Arts is a mobile-based company and as such we can come to you. Simply connect with us to discuss your specific needs. Rates vary based upon location, duration, and the number of participants. We also offer great rates for our Home-Based group training.


Are your courses better suited to men or women?

Both. Although more women choose to learn self-protection than men, we have specifically designed courses for all. The material taught is very different as men and women have different needs. Even our mixed classes are designed to provide different perspectives.


I see you are based in P.E.I. Do you travel to other regions to teach?

Yes indeed! Although P.E.I. is our main base of operation, Norton Arts is a mobile-based company. We, therefore, travel to other regions and countries to teach. Simply reach out to discuss this.


Does Norton Arts offer any online programs?

We pride ourselves on the personal connection as we want to make sure what we teach is about you, not the income that can be sold from generic information and techniques. We do offer consultation and education through Skype should you desire it. This will only focus on our Modular-Based (CMT), modules 1-3. We do offer module 4 through a number of Skype sessions. Please contact us to find out more.


Are there refresher courses available?

Absolutely! Workplace courses can be done at any time to fit the specific needs of the organization. In many cases, these are organized every few years. There is also the Home-Based option and we put on community refreshers from time to time. Reach out and let’s see what we can do.

What discipline of martial arts do you teach?

Self-Protection is not or should not be discipline-specific. What we teach is not ego-driven. It is not about a specific style/system or who teaches it.


Yes, I personally have a martial arts background starting in the traditional arts then founding a modern system that focuses on conflict management versus any sport orientated nature. The art I founded is called Shoto-Chi. Shoto-Chi specializes in a realistic approach to conflict management through the understanding of human behaviour. There are no belts, katas or other areas typically associated with martial arts.

What Norton Arts teaches is practical self-protection and removes itself from the martial arts industry based upon people's perception that martial arts are predominately about fighting. We do not focus on fighting, but getting people home safely to their families. Does this or can this involve physicality? Absolutely it can, but we do not focus on the techniques commonly associated with many martial arts but more on keeping-it-simple.

I hear the terms “gross & complex/fine motor skills”. What’s the difference?

Simply put and not to over complicate things, Gross motor skills involves very little thought process regarding movement. Complex or fine motor skills as some refer to it involves a complex thought process of executing those complicated techniques. The fact of the matter is, is that for most people the human mind cannot compute complex movements in a time of crisis. So keeping it simple is essential to reduce even more stress in an already stressful situation.

I’m a very small woman with hardly any physical strength. How could I realistically protect myself against a man much bigger?

This question comes up more than any other while teaching women how to effectively protect themselves. Although a smaller frame may make you a greater potential target, in most cases it is the smaller frame that is dramatically underestimated. Firstly, our focus is on identifying and avoiding danger. By the time we even get to the physical component, you have already been instilled with a great amount of knowledge in self-protection.

Our courses are extremely empowering and because we do not teach complicated techniques that in most cases don’t have a chance of being successful, we are able to instill a real level of confidence because we work to your strengths. There are so many instructors that teach techniques that work for them, but not necessarily for others. Our focus is on YOU and what can work for you. Let’s not forget, we keep it simple. You will be pleasantly surprised at how much you learn but also how much you retain.

If someone tried to abduct me, wouldn’t I better off going with them than trying to fight them off?

Absolutely not! It is a statistical truth that the percentage of people that survive being abducted is extremely low. In most cases, you are always better off doing everything you can to prevent being taken. Abductors will threaten you and try to convince you to go quietly, but focus on one thing... Getting away at all costs! The biggest mistake most make is submitting to the threats in the hope they will be let go for cooperating. If they were planning on letting you go, they wouldn’t abduct you in the first place.

All Norton Arts Self-Protection courses focus on Preventing Violence versus solely reacting to circumstances.

We would love to hear from you. If you are interested in taking a course, booking one or simply want to connect, we look forward to it.

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