Pick up some self-defence skills in a safe environment with Self Defence Hub. Taught by Andre, a woman with a kick-ass sense of humour, the class equips you with some basic techniques in getting yourself out of a potentially dangerous situation.
I was lucky enough to be invited to attend an introductory class, with a friend, courtesy of Self Defence Hub. The hour long session covered several different manoeuvres. We started with how to extricate yourself when someone grabs your wrist, with either one or both of your hands. After getting the hang of this, we progressed to learning how to hit your assailant if your attempts at freeing your wrist were unsuccessful. We also practised kneeing the assailant if both hands were free.
Kneeing your attacker.
Next, Andre taught us how to avoid getting stabbed. She emphasised that the most important thing is to get the hell out of there, but if you're face-to-face with a knife-wielder, you need to move your body out of the path of the knife, then grab their wrist to direct the knife back towards themselves.
Learning how to take control of a knife situation (don't worry, it's a fake knife).
Finally, we learnt how to defend ourselves from someone holding a gun. This may not be the most useful skill considering the scarcity of gun incidents in Australia, but it was interesting to learn.
The class was quite fun. It was physical, but certainly not sweat-inducing. There was no presumption of previous training in martial arts, and physical fitness was not required. The focus was on technique, rather than strength.
While the class was held in a martial arts centre, and instructed by a fifth Dan black belt, it was not at all intimidating to someone uncoordinated and completely bamboozled by the terminology used by martial arts fanatics.
It wasn't necessary to be wearing sports clothes. While I was dressed in my exercise finery, my friend wore a loose top and denim shorts, which did not present a problem for her at all.
Andre's method of teaching self-defence is practical and engaging, and doesn't induce a heightened sense of fear of street confrontations. About one in three women will experience physical violence (which is defined to the exclusion of sexual violence) in their lifetime (source). It is certainly worth having a basic understanding of how to avoid or defend yourself in situations involving a random attack, even though this comprises a minority of cases.
I enjoyed the experience and now feel much more confident in defending myself, even though it was only one session. I highly recommend it to beginners.
For the more committed, there are four week courses run by Andre, which cover other defence techniques such as how to defend yourself if you are on the floor. Find out more information on the four week course here.