Zanshin Tech: the martial art teaching people how to defend themselves from digital threats

Maurizio Germano's story

In Zanshin Tech we teach people how to become "digital warriors": competent, respectful and always ready to help others in their time of need.

Zanshin Tech isa digital martial art. It teaches young people and adults techniques and strategies to protect themselves from any kind of digital aggression, such as: cyberbullying, scams, phishing, online grooming, and others.

Zanshin Tech means "alerted mind in the technological world". This martial art, just like the others, teaches self-defence and behavioural rules aimed at educating the people who practise it. In an atmosphere of mutual respect, the "digital warriors" learn how to build their digital image while keeping their minds alert to prevent any risk.

Anyone, whether young or adult, can join the lessons. However, different methods are adopted depending on the age of the person and the context in which Zanshin Tech may be put into practice. Everyone immediately learns the behavioural rules underpinning the discipline, which are supported by defence techniques derived from the principles of cybersecurity. All of this allows people to recognise the dangerous behaviours one should avoid and to become aware of the pitfalls of the digital world.

After this introductory phase, the educational paths often part: adults learn how to safely use their devices by properly managing social networks, accounts, passwords and relationships within the digital world. Young people, instead, focus on improving their cybersecurity-related computer skills, often with the aid of games and physical activities.

In the framework of the Sport4Equality project, Zanshin Tech represents a valid tool allowing people to observe how certain types of phenomena, such as cyberbullying, are prone to happen within contexts featuring cultural differences. Keeping a watchful eye on these behaviours helps us to develop a collective consciousness based on mutual respect which is, as the Martial Arts teach, the only way to pacify a conflict.

The workshops on Digital Education and cyberbullying offered by the sport4Equality project are led by Maurizio. This is how he describes the activities addressed to young people:


The method is based on games, motor activation and observation. Each meeting consists of a theoretical-informative part and a practical-experiential one. For the Sport4Equality project, we developed a gradual three-step itinerary: the first step is unveiling the dangers of the internet, then we tell true stories, and finally, we report how experienced people effectively faced online aggression.


In the context of this project, the parents’ role is emphasized. During the meetings addressed to families, the main topics of discussion are the risks young people unknowingly run into, together with the signals suggesting issues related to their online activities. Internet addiction, the rules for using devices shared within the family, the example and social network sharing are topics that always spark great interest in parents. Thanks to these meetings parents realize that problems often deemed as insurmountable may have solutions within everyone's reach.


Emotional education is a fundamental part of the educational process. The difference between the real world and the digital one lies in the tool used rather than in the human reactions. For this reason, it is fundamental to understand the mechanism underlying anxiety and the responses triggered by aggression in order to learn how to recognise those reactions and control them.


For everyone, we have just one, very important message: many of the problems characterizing the digital world and its dysfunctional use, appear to have no way out. Internet addiction, cyberbullying, online grooming, and stalking sometimes seem like nightmares from which there is no escape. On the contrary, we say that this is not true: there is always a way out. In Zanshin Tech we teach people not to surrender, to ask for help, to support each other in the time of need and, most of all, to believe in ourselves and in our teammates.