Chris Futcher-Coles strives to create a safer community for all. He is the founder of the Sydney Self Defence Centre, leader and graded Shi Gong of Yi Quan Kung Fu Australia and creator of STAY SAFE Personal Safety Australia workshops and programmes.

Chris is a White Ribbon Ambassador, Australasian Martial Arts ‘Hall of Fame’ Lifetime Achievement inductee, on the Nominations List for Australian of the Year 2017. His organisations have won over many National and International Business Awards.

His Sydenham Academy Yi Quan Kung Fu has over 300 Kung Fu students. He and his wonderful team trains 20-25,000 people per year as part of the STAY SAFE Australia Programs at Schools, Colleges, Community Centres, Safe Houses, Women’s Shelters and various centres for the Disabled and as well as Council’s & Corporate Businesses who feel their employees may be a risk.

Chris is driven by and believes that every woman, man and child should be able to feel safe in their own homes, in relationships, on the street, at school and at work. This is his calling and if he and his team can assist you, your community or your employees please get in touch.

Below are a few questions answered by Chris to get a better understanding of what drives him to do what he does.

Why did I begin the Sydney Self Defence Centre and STAY SAFE Australia? 
My wife, Jodie and I started the Sydney Self Defence Centre 30 years ago. I had a pretty aggressive upbringing and developed a clear and personal understanding of the destructive qualities of domestic violence and bullying. It inspires me to watch people grow using our influences, you see it right in front of your eyes.

We’ve influenced children whose lives and futures were being destroyed by relentless bullying and over time, with our help, they became stronger and effective in their lives and relationships. I saw front line employees like parking officers, rangers, social workers, nurses, health professionals, security personnel going home safely to their families and loved ones where before our STAY SAFE training they were more likely to be worried about being in hospital than getting home safe to their families at night. Who wouldn’t be motivated?

Why did I become a White Ribbon Ambassador? 
Over the years, I starting training women and their families so decimated by the horrors of Domestic Violence that I had to be involved. I was nominated as a White Ribbon Ambassador 5 years ago by those very women we helped. Domestic and family violence is a cancer we must all cure, both men and women. I have a beautiful wife, daughter and grandchildren what world do I want to leave for them.

Now days I am very active with a large number of speaking engagements and so many Personal Safety Programs at schools and to front line staff in corporate organisations, we give women, children and men a feeling of safety, fitness and belonging. We help change people’s ideas and ideals, sometimes we even save people’s lives. Now that’s why I am a White Ribbon Ambassador.

What can we do to help reduce domestic violence? 
Domestic and Family Violence is a problem created for women predominately by men. Thankfully most men are non-violent but sometimes we remain silent when we should scream out against this outrage. The spotlight is firmly on this issue, we all have a voice and we can all make a difference, if we are willing to Stand Up and Speak Out. The true solution to me is to open discussion across all levels of violence from physical aggression in children [we wrongly call bullying] [I have a lot to say about that], to aggression in teens [over stimulated in movies, MMA, social media], to adult aggression [road rage, domestic violence, etc]. Then we should strive for a community based, long term solution over 2-3 generations. Without it we will chase our tails while nearly 2 women die per week in Australia from Domestic Violence and over 500 women are hospitalised weekly. Then add to this human cost, financially Domestic Violence costs our society over 17 billion dollars per year and climbing.

We can all influence the attitudes of ourselves, our children, our friends and our community into understanding what effects violence has on us all and that violence is simply not the answer.

I never lose sight of the influence we have as the Sydney Self Defence Centre and Stay Safe Australia.