Gym class in New Jersey has gotten really boring, according to many of the students I've asked, including my own 15-year-old sons. Here's an idea that could make gym class life-changing: teach the kids self-defense.

Self-defense builds self-confidence, and it also teaches discipline and respect.

Teaching students self-defense will also help reduce bullying. At some point in every child's life, they're going to be in a bullying situation. How they handle that will determine the rest of their lives.

Putting kids in a controlled situation where they have to defend themselves, and teaching them how to do it will give them an advantage that they do not have now.

I put the question up to my social media following as well as my New Jersey 101.5 listeners. My Twitter poll was overwhelmingly in favor of teaching self-defense in New Jersey schools.

There were many positive responses.

Carlo Bellario:
"Should have been implemented decades ago. Teaching self-discipline as earlier as possible would be highly beneficial to young kids"

Tina Marie had a great idea:
"I would gladly sponsor that idea and have great suggestions on how to get local area gyms involved. Donate 5 hours a week to teach your future rich or poor how to defend and what to do in case of emergency. Better yet, use retired military who need a break from their issues. Or hire a vet."

David Lupowitz had mixed feelings:
"While on the one hand, I believe that it is important for everyone to be able to defend themselves, on the other hand, I'm not sure I like the idea of teaching kids anything that might lead to violence. While some kids will go on to only use what they learn as a (means) to defend themselves when necessary, there will always be a percentage of kids who will use what they learned to perpetrate violence."

To that, I say: Granted, there are so many options outside of school, but inside the school is where the most students can be reached. Anyone with kids today knows how hard it is to motivate them to do anything outside of school. That is unless we come up with a self-defense video game.

As for how they would use it, you need to make sure you have the right way of presenting the class with the influence on defense and not offense. Regardless of what you teach, there will always be kids who want to fight, but if there are more who are taught to defend themselves, that number will be drastically cut down.

This is not about telling kids they are on their own, this is about teaching them the ability to protect themselves when they actually are on their own.

Of course, the state would have to agree on the proper course for everyone to follow, and the teachers would then have to learn it. Perhaps they could contract out to a local self-defense school to design a 30-minute class to teach in phys ed.

Teachers are now going to have to learn how to teach sex ed to second graders. Isn't learning what to teach children part of being a teacher? If your child were in a situation where they might have to defend themself either in school or out in the street, wouldn't you want them to be taught by professionals how to do it?  It could save their lives.

Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Steve Trevelise only. Follow him on Twitter @realstevetrev.

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