Female-led, trauma-informed courses in real-life self-defence & martial arts for women and girls
DESIGNED FOR WOMEN
The real-life, pressure-tested techniques are designed to work for women, given the difference in size and strength between them and men, and the likely types of attack we might face.
When faced with danger, our cognitive functions slow down and we are forced to rely upon our gross motor skills, so the practical techniques taught are simple to learn and easy to recall.
The courses also take into consideration the common 'freeze' response experienced by many victims of sexual assault and teaches methods to help overcome this.
Our aim is to equip women with a new confidence and perception of themselves, as well as practical defence skills that can be adapted to a wide variety of situations.
Self-defence is not just about learning physical techniques to ward off an attacker; much of it comes from being aware of the environment, understanding how to de-escalate the situation and learning to read other people.
In addition - particularly with sexual assault - we often respond by freezing. Dissociation is a natural response of the brain to protect itself when feeling trapped: separating our minds from what is happening physically is also the reason why traumatic memories are so fragmented.
To help with triggering our fight-or-flight response over the freeze reaction, we examine different breathing and grounding techniques that help increase our tolerance to stressful situations, think more clearly about an event as it occurs and allow us to respond in a more proactive way.
We also place a lot of emphasis on pad work – learning different strikes and practicing them safely against a hand-held strike pad with partners. Sometimes the biggest obstacle preventing us from fighting back is the assumption that we are not strong enough or somehow deserving of abuse. Pad work allows us to practice and develop techniques for effective striking so that they become instinctive when under threat, and challenge the self-perception that we cannot fight back.
Some women choose to learn self-defence after experiencing a traumatic attack themselves. This could be a recent incident or abuse that happened many years ago, but the body has a way of holding onto trauma by responding to certain stimuli like noises, a touch, or smell, as if the attack were happening all over again.
However, we now understand that the neural systems in our brains are plastic, and we can, with care, re-structure those pathways to aid trauma recovery. In learning self-defence, we can replace traumatic memories of defeat with new memories of successful outcomes, gradually building back confidence.
Extra care is taken in delivering the teaching, taking into account how a student is responding and adapting the work as needed. We incorporate techniques for anxiety reduction that can be implemented if a student feels panicked, and we spend time building up to the techniques that involve contact so students become comfortable working with each other in a safe environment.
Each student is different and the aim is to respect their trauma-based needs whilst empowering them with new skills to defend themselves. These skills challenge our self-perceptions and gradually reinstate the belief that we don't have to play the role of victim; that we are strong enough to live our lives as we choose to.
MEETING YOUR INDIVUAL NEEDS
We have worked with a wide range of clients, from local businesses such as the NHS to a Muslim women’s group, from women's charities to victims of childhood abuse, from one-2-ones with school-age girls to university courses for student groups.
Whilst the foundations of self-defence are the same, every trainee is different and requires a different approach. We specialise in designing courses that meet the specific needs of each group or individual.
So whether you are looking for an introductory session or want to qualify for a BTEC Level 2 in self-defence - or anything in between - do get in touch and have a chat about your personal requirements.
Group workshops provided for clients include:
- Strengthening Faith Institutions
- NHS Blood Donor Service
- Girls' home education groups
- Muslim women's groups
- Nottingham Trent University
- Quetzel women's charity
- Gartree High School
- Leicester City Football Club "In the Community"
- Taekwondo4All martial arts club
One-2-one sessions provided for clients include:
- Survivors of childhood abuse and domestic abuse
- Victims of school bullying
- School-leavers preparing for university
- Sexual assault victims