Interview with Noël Soares Brazao

Noël Soares Brazao: teach children to grow up with respect

Noel Soares Brazão was born on the Cape Verde islands and has lived in Rotterdam since 1986. He is a Dutch champion, Benelux champion and three times European kickboxing champion. He  has been teaching self-defense classes to police officers from the Rotterdam region for 16 years now. He has also been working as a sports instructor and activity coach at a GGZ institution for 16 years. His activities are: fitness, food, sports and recreation activities.

Not just an office job for you?

“I could never have an office job. I used to watch a lot of Hindu bollywood and karate movies. There are many action scenes in it. I imitated everything on the beach, together with my uncle who was did karate. So I slowly noticed that I really liked this. My mom didn’t let me do it because I used to be a nuisance. The reason I wanted to box was not to take someone down (eventually), but more about all the other aspects around it. You get a lot of confidence, you can defend yourself, you build discipline and your life becomes more structured. It makes you calm.”

What is really impotant for children?

“This is a way to express all energy positively and is also my underlying idea when training children now. You should not leave children at home, but you can control impulsivity by going outside more often and releasing this energy. This prevents a child from going outside with a raised feeling.”

So, you can learn discipline?

“The moment someone is late in my class, you have to do a 100 push ups. If you curse, you have to do 100 push ups. This ensures that respect builds up. This is a pedagogical way and a bit of education as well.”

Do you have any other ways?

“I started working in addiction care 20 years ago, when I saw how many people there are with addiction problems. I have gained this experience as part of my work as a youth worker and I also use this as an ‘instrument’ to train the children. This way I can keep the children on the right path. Sometimes I notice that certain parents cannot properly control children. I grew up on the street and understand the stages that children go through. This is purely from personal experience. This way I can better anticipate and get these children on the right track in time.”

How was yout own raising?

“I was raised by my grandmother. She was on her own. This left a very big impression on me. The way of life was very different, and I see exactly this in children, with divorced parents, little money, etc. Sometimes I am also surprised to see how well some young people have it. This also gives me the opportunity to show them what they have and that they can be proud of it. Because  I see that young people are complaining  about their lives and then I tell my story how I once lived. This makes them think. I think they appreciate my experience and take this with them.”

What are your most important lifelessons? 

“What is very important, is caring for a child and showing that you are appreciated. I used to get food from my grandmother and hand it out to homeless people. People often want to make money quickly and I show that in my lesson. You have to know what respect and  discipline are,  and you should take that with you every lesson. If you don’t take it with you, you have to do a  100 push ups. So they can teach this it themselves. ”

What are you proud of ?

“Last year I was nominated for the” More than sports award “and in February it was presented to me in Ahoy Rotterdam. I use kickboxing as a means and that is not the goal. I don’t want them all to become Rico Verhoeven or Badr Hari. I give them structure, health. ”

You also work together with the police?

“I have been teaching the police for 16 years, as well as self-defense. This is in collaboration with the police. And I also take those officers to class. Community officers can do this and they help me in class as well. Sometimes we also spar with each other.”

What is the purpose of sparring with the police?

“The aim is to bring the children closer to the police and to create a bond. That way they will look at the police differently and they will now become friends. It also creates respect for them. Some people think I make the kids a fighting machine that can fight the police. But that is not the purpose and purpose of such lessons at all, it is all about mutual respect. ”

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