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To be quite impressed re the 'self defence' advice dd was given at school today.

(56 Posts)
NorthernLurker Mon 25-Jan-16 19:31:55

Dd is in her last year at school and today in their personal and social education type slot they had a class that they all enjoyed enormously and which has rather impressed me.
Basically the head of sixth form turns out to be very experienced at martial arts and on the basis of feedback from students re preparing for life beyond school, he has run a class for the last few years just giving them some very basic self defence tips.
Dd said more than half what he talked about was prevention, advising the lads in particular to walk away, not get involved in aggro and yes that did also involve advising specifically the girls to be careful where they walked alone, which from a 'reclaim the night' type pov is a bit grating because the problem with that scenario isn't what the girls are doing. He redeemed himself entirely though when showing them how you might break the hold somebody has on your wrist. He said something to the effect that 'now if that's your partner or your boyfriend and it could well be, then that's a sign you need to get rid pronto'
I have already spoken at length to both my big dds about DV and red flags but I am just so pleased that all the girls in that class heard that message today from somebody they like and respect. A clear and unequivocal message that abuse is not ok and they can see the first signs and act. I think that it's no exaggeration to say that with just those few minutes today he could have saved somebody in that room so much distress and helped them help other people too.
I knew very little about DV until I was at university and involved in womens campaigns. My school would never have equipped me and my peers like that. AIBU to be really pleased they've covered this.

PinkFondantFancy Mon 25-Jan-16 19:34:13

YANBU, that's brilliant. Unfortunately I think being careful where you walk alone is also good advice - it's not how it should be but it's how it is now.

Pretendingtobe31 Mon 25-Jan-16 19:36:01

YANBU. Equipping teenagers with information about red flags is key. Sounds like he did it in a way that made it informative, not lecturing.

shebird Mon 25-Jan-16 19:43:32

Sounds like a very useful talk, should happen in all schools in Y7 IMO.

redexpat Mon 25-Jan-16 19:48:10


YouAreMyRain Mon 25-Jan-16 19:51:37

I agree that's good advice - but surely "walk away from aggro" and "be careful where you walk alone" is equally applicable to both sexes

foxessocks Mon 25-Jan-16 19:58:35

We had a great self defence class when I was in about year 9 or 10 I think it was. It was about 4 sessions and we learned some really useful stuff which I still remember now. How to knee someone in the nuts rather than kick as you can get more force. Use the base of your palm upwards on the attackers nose rather than attempting a punch. Use your elbow. And if you do punch thumb on the outside!

It really stuck with me and also we had a long chat on DV and what to do and support that's out there. Thankfully I've never needed it but I really did think it was useful and should be taught to all (girls and boys).

NorthernLurker Mon 25-Jan-16 20:03:35

That's what I think Youaremyrain and in fairness it was a mixed sex class so everybody got to hear it all I suppose. I am just so pleased this message was articulated though. I suppose all the 'random attacker' stuff sounds quite removed for something that could actually happen to you but he was making the point that it might not be a stranger, it could well be somebody they know and it's not ok.
Also pleased dd came home and told me about it because she knew I would be impressed. I guess what I've said to them did sink in grin

Noodledoodledoo Mon 25-Jan-16 20:11:20

I agree - be careful where you walk is something I think we, both male and female, should think about.

I have a right go at my husband if he walks the quick way home from the station as its across an unlit park with lots of 'pockets' where people can hide.

eastwest Mon 25-Jan-16 20:14:21

YANBU, that's great. So pleased to hear about it.

Doobigetta Mon 25-Jan-16 20:16:10

I did martial arts for several years, and the two biggest lessons I learned were:

1) the best self defence is being aware of your surroundings and getting away from trouble before it starts
2) unfortunately from experience- a thousand lessons in releasing from this hold and that hold don't help when it actually happens

cardibach Mon 25-Jan-16 22:16:24

Pink . Unfortunately I think being careful where you walk alone is also good advice - it's not how it should be but it's how it is now Now? Do you really think this is a new thing? And what are you suggesting has changed since the 80s when I thought about where I walked (and all the years sine the 80s when I've done the same thing)?

AnyFucker Mon 25-Jan-16 22:18:32

that sounds great

well done that school

IoraRua Mon 25-Jan-16 22:20:45

I support telling them not to walk alone - not just because of fears of rapists in alleys, but of muggers or gits looking to start a fight. And that could happen to anyone.

OfaFrenchmind2 Mon 25-Jan-16 22:26:10

That's a great class and advice! I wish we had this kind of self-defence class when I was at school!

zipzap Mon 25-Jan-16 22:50:25

We had a self defence session when I was in the 6th form (nearly 30 years ago now - gulp!) and I can still remember it...

There were several things that still spring to mind as being important.

The first (which I have rarely come across elsewhere) was to explicitly give people 'permission' to hurt other people when they attack you. It sounds strange when you first hear it - but we (particularly girls!) are so conditioned by society to be nice, not hurt people, to play by the rules and so on, that apparently when people (not just girls) are attacked, they try to fight back 'nicely' and find it difficult to actually start to hurt somebody, even if they are hurting you...

So knowing this in advance is useful, because you will already have thought about it and given yourself permission to really hurt somebody who is attacking you, not just trying to hurt them a little bit so they'll stop attacking you but actually to really hurt and incapacitate them so you can stop being attacked and escape. And if that means 'fighting like a girl' and gouging eyes or pulling hair or whatever it takes rather than turning into some amazing jujitsu ninja that can fight 'properly' and win then that's absolutely fine.

The next was the phrase 'Grab, twist and pull'. Basically if you're attacked and the attacker is a bloke, if you're in a position to grab his nuts then do - but grab, twist and pull to really hurt him and stop him in his tracks. try mentioning this as a tactic when there are any men around and watch them all rapidly cross their legs and wince - and confirm that this would be an effective tactic!

Another was giving yourself time if you are caught in a chokehold with somebody trying to strangle you in their arms. If you can, twist your head around and down and into the angle of the crook of their elbow - it will stop them from being able to crush your windpipe as quickly and give you a chance to breathe again.

Doesn't matter how strong the attacker, they'll still have things that can be hurt. But go for things (in addition to the ones mentioned) like trying to bend back (and break) the little finger rather than the whole hand if somebody is gripping you - much easier to do - and in most cases will cause the person to release their grip. Eyes are vulnerable too - squeezing your fingers and thumb together into a point is strong enough to hurt eyes quite badly when jabbed into them - without using just one or two fingers to gouge at them which are then vulnerable to being hurt themselves. Same finger arrangement also good for jabbing in the kidneys at the back. Oh and stamping on the achilles tendon at the back of the leg/heel is good too if you can - as it will slow them down or stop them from running after you. (not so good if they are wearing boots though).

Sorry just realised this is a bit long. And also writing some of the things has made me wince - the Grab, Twist and Pull, the eye gouging etc - because you do end up thinking I shouldn't be doing that because they could be hurt for a long time or I could damage them permanently - which comes back around to the first point. Yes, you could damage them permanently. But they are the ones attacking you - not the other way around. If they wanted to stay in perfect condition they shouldn't have attacked you. It's perfectly reasonable to do whatever you need to do in order to survive - and your survival certainly comes above their right to remain undamaged!

Mmmmcake123 Mon 25-Jan-16 22:52:26

Nice that they also told boys how to avoid issues. Sounds great all round!

whois Mon 25-Jan-16 22:53:33

I think being careful where you walk alone is good advice for men and woman! No need to shortcut though an unlit park etc or down a side street when there is a nice busy main road you can take.

TheExMotherInLaw Mon 25-Jan-16 23:00:29

Also, if you knee someone in the nuts, bow your head, otherwise, when their head flings forward with the pain, their forehead would hit your nose. With your head bowed, their nose more likely to smash on your forehead.

hefzi Mon 25-Jan-16 23:05:39

That's brilliant! There were self-defence classes at my school (20 + years ago) and it gave me a lot more confidence (probably too much, in retrospect blush) thereafter. I also did another course, specifically for women, about ten years ago - our instructor was brilliant but did stress that though she had taught us about disarming someone with a knife or gun, the first course of action, where possible, was to run like hell.

I agree, though, with PP that you don't always put these skills into action when you've been attacked (especially, of course, if drink has been taken) - but the skills I learned at my school course prevented me from being stabbed with a sharpened screwdriver: it was overseas and in broad daylight, and I was on my way to an oral exam. I wasn't even concentrating on my surroundings, but instinct in that case kicked in, and the attacker had a broken arm and went to prison (he got a longer sentence because it was a nationalist crime - he wasn't trying for me, but for someone of the religion he assumed I was. He was wrong on that as well grin). The police were very impressed that a mere woman (very patriarchal and misogynist country) without a weapon could disable an attacker - I did attend to their feminist education, but I'm not sure much went in!

unlucky83 Mon 25-Jan-16 23:08:01

We never had classes like this at school - but I picked up lots of tips from other people
I used to live in a 'rough' area - I was always very aware of my surroundings and who was around me when out- on my own and especially after dark etc.
(And I was followed twice...did the cross the road, cross back, slow down, speed up etc - then run like mad without warning - but only go home if there is someone there or you have enough head start to make it into the house before the person following you and preferably so they don't see exactly where you live etc - otherwise go to a well lit more populated area...)
I also still keep my keys in my hand and actually if somewhere really creepy I will have a key sticking out of my fist in my pocket...
But men should also be made aware of how they need to behave to make women not feel threatened - a couple of days ago I was walking in our local city in daylight but in a quieter, more run down area just out of the centre -two men walked up behind me and then stayed on my shoulder the whole the time ....I tried to slow down and step to one side to let them past but they slowed down too, couldn't really cross ...I ended up having to speed walk to get a distance away from them. I sure they were perfectly innocent and completely oblivious - but I came very close to rounding on them and telling them how uncomfortable they made me feel ...

lorelei9 Mon 25-Jan-16 23:17:00

Sounds good
I can't find practical self defence courses apart from during my working hours!

How do you break someone's grip on your wrist, I was actually just thinking about this yesterday.

I have debated carrying an alarm for late night public transport but I always think of the issues if it's let off by accident.

LurcioAgain Mon 25-Jan-16 23:17:16

One of the most sobering things I came across in self-defence lessons came from the teacher of the Tae-Kwondo lessons I went to briefly. He asked who was interested in self defence. At least half the hands went up. He said, "So, suppose I was walking down the high street on a Saturday afternoon with my wife and someone came up to me and tried to punch me in the nose. What do you think would happen next?" Cue lots of the more experienced students (mostly the men) saying "try xyz punch/block/counterpunch..." The teacher replied, "No, what would happen next is this: I'd end up with a broken nose just like you, because I wouldn't be expecting it. Because we can't all live our normal lives in a state of hyper vigilance. And the best self defence of the lot is to run away, as fast as you can."

zipzap Mon 25-Jan-16 23:21:49

unlucky I remember being terrified once when I was about 10 and could hear footsteps following me and catching up with me...

It was a small village and I was walking home alone having visited my gran who lived at the other end of the village.

Turned out it was the headmaster of the village school who was a brisk walker at the best of times and who also thought he'd catch up with me and have a chat as he knew where I lived and that it was on the way to where he was going (one of those everybody knows everything type villages, especially somebody like the headmaster!) so figured there was a very good chance I'd be on my way home.

He completely didn't realise quite how terrifying it was and that was only for a few minutes in a relatively safe village.

I can't begin to imagine how terrifying it must have been when there were two strangers who were following you and catching up with you! sad

ComposHatComesBack Mon 25-Jan-16 23:33:05

How to knee someone in the nuts rather than kick as you can get more force

Interesting because I did a self defence course and the advice was that trying to knee someone in the nuts was a bad move as

a) it takes you off balance
b) the distance that your knee has to travel to their groin means that it is relatively easy to anticipate and avoid (bit like headbutting someone)
c) It is a relatively small target area to hit.

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