A strike to the wind pipe will buy some time to escape.
A strike to the wind pipe will buy some time to escape.

Get a kick out of self defence

TAKE a three-hour session with self defence instructor Suzanne Daley and you’ll be oozing street confidence that could rival Lara Croft or a Charlie’s Angel.

Attending my first self defence class on Tuesday night, I was admittedly dubious as to how relevant the skills would be in a low-crime community such as Warwick (my class-mates possibly picked up on that when I turned up in ugg boots).

But I soon learnt, along with another 30-odd women, that self-preservation is not just about back-flipping a would-be attacker when he makes a grab for you – it’s about feeling confident and standing up for yourself.

So, being the journalist I am, I thought it my duty to share just a fraction of what was taught to a lucky group of women this week.

Ms Daley – who has an incredible resume, having worked with police officers, industry groups and offenders and victims around the world – stressed that physical defence should be a last resort of self-preservation.

Ms Daley has interviewed between 8000 and 9000 sexual violence offenders over her lifetime.

When she asked them about what type of person they were likely to target or not, the vast majority told her, “I don’t do crazy”.

As a result, she told her attentive class that to ward off attack it could be just as effective to have audible conversations with yourself, or to suddenly yell out expletives if you felt threatened by someone.

Other means to divert an attack, she said, could be buying yourself time, negotiation, running away, confusing the attacker or in certain situations, “waiting for the cavalry to come”, which could be just as effective. These options are truly the tip of the iceberg.

For situations where there is no other option, Ms Daley said aiming for three vulnerable body parts would temporarily hold back an attacker.

First, she said, target the eyes.

Second, strike at the wind pipe. He’ll get his breath back soon enough but it will buy enough time to hurry away.

Third, a solid kick between the legs (remember to follow through for extra oomph) would bring any male attacker to his knees.

The most important thing I took from the class was to know there is support for those who have been the target of any form of assault.


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