Empowering Self Defence by Philippa Scannell Trainee Coach

Phillipa was invited to run a workshop for a group of female students at Imperial College in London and I jumped at the chance.

It was an opportunity to test out a new format – not only focusing on the physical self defence but also on the empowerment angle. A person must believe they are worth defending before they will defend themselves to the best of their abilities.

It is amazing how we will jump to defend our family and friends but we’re not always so quick to look after ourselves.

It felt incredibly empowering for me as an instructor to use all the new techniques and little tricks I have learnt from Keith at Cross Krav Maga over the last six months.

I could teach with confidence knowing that what I was showing the ladies worked.

When the ladies first entered the room, it was a quiet vibe and it was apparent that some people were a little nervous and not sure what to expect. Chris (who was teaching with me) and I introduced ourselves and then we had a group discussion about Fear and what it means to different people. We then talked about personal safety and awareness and the fact that, where possible, the best option is always to avoid a situation in the first place.

We did a fun warm up, working in pairs and then went on to learn palm strikes moving backwards and forwards, verbal responses and put-downs, how to get out of a wrist grab and various chokes, how to make our knee strikes more effective and we worked on doing all of this with purpose and meaning.

The thing we drilled on every exercise was that the emphasis is on escaping; we are not trying to be heroes or ninjas, we want to stop them attacking us or others and then escape as quickly as possible.

To finish off the session we did some pressure testing and all the ladies were amazing – using the techniques they had learnt and dealing with the unexpected which was great to see as we kept repeating the mantra ‘doing something is better than doing nothing’.

By the time we finished the session with a relaxing yoga stretch, the vibe in the room was charged and full of energy; the difference was palpable. As a teacher, that is the best feedback.
Overall, a great group of ladies who it was a pleasure to teach.