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Yesterday we heard that Cork City Council have told their staff who deal with members of the public that they must undergo a one-day self-defence course.
This was after a spate of complaints about threats and intimidation suffered by public sector workers in areas such as traffic management, sanitation and street cleaning.
To get a flavour of what they are in for, I went along to a self defence class.
Krav Maga Instructor Patrick Cumiskey, whose centre is in Portobello in Dublin. There are also weekend courses in Galway, Cork and Limerick YOu can find their website with all the details here: http://www.kravmagaireland.com/
Patrick is also a trained psychotherapist who has studied anger management in depth. Before I had a class with him, he told me about the reasons that you might need to go to self defence classes, be it for work or personal reasons
A lot of training comes down to knowing when to get away in a heightened situation. This is where self defence classes come in. These guys are not training you to fight essentially; what they are giving you is the skills to get out of a tricky situation.
Patrick spoke to me about the scenarios that you can unexpectedly get into. One such example is if someone was to approach to and encroach into your personal space. Now, this is essentially a threat, and once you instinctively feel like you are in danger, you will want to get out of it
There was also another instructor there called Jurg, who is 6 foot 3 and by the look of him, I thought there would be no way of fighting off if he were to attack me. Patrick and Jurg taught me a couple of basic skills on to to fight to take flight
There are also a simple number of moves that can get you ou of a choke hold. The instructors taught me that if someone has their hand on your neck, you swipe their left arm with your left arm while jamming your palm straight up to their neck and face. Should you be able, a swift knee to the groin will disable them and you can get away. This is the most important part of self defence. You disable your attacker and get out of the situation as fast as you can. Staying and fighting is not an option.
Training for self defence is particularly empowering. Actually knowing what to do in a hostile situation and that you stand a chance at getting yourself away from danger does make you feel safer.
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