Rome bus drivers get martial arts training to deal with unruly passengers

Self-defence instruction for ATAC drivers to help them enforce covid-19 rules in Rome.

Rome bus drivers are being trained in self-defence, including martial arts, as they continue to face aggression for attempting to ensure that passengers wear masks to contain the spread of covid-19.

The initiative, organised by trade unions representing employees of the city's public transport company ATAC, comes amid increasing cases of violence against drivers who are attacked after insisting that passengers adhere to the mask-wearing regulations.

The classes will focus on martial arts including Krav Maga, a military self-defence and fighting system developed for the Israeli security forces derived from a combination of Aikido, boxing, wrestling, Judo and Karate techniques, reports Rome newspaper Il Messaggero.

Lessons have reportedly already started in Thai boxing and Chinese kickboxing, at a gym in the Nuovo Salaria area, with plans to expand the martial arts offer even further.

ATAC drivers begin with a workout, including push-ups and sit-ups, before entering the ring for training with Maestro Ennio.

"What will I teach the bus drivers? Above all, kicks: some are fundamental in driving away a dangerous person," Maestro Ennio told Il Messaggero, launching his newly-coined slogan: "The best defence is ATAC!"

Photo Il Messaggero