BEING a journalist has come with a lot of unexpected experiences.
Starting my career in 2021 I didn’t get out onto patch that often as the U.K was in and out of lockdown, so when things started lifting I started getting invited to take part in events to cover in the paper.
I’ve interviewed olympians, faced my fear of heights at a Warwick climbing centre and had the Earl of Yarmouth make me cocktails, but none of these extraordinary experiences compare to when I was invited to a self-defence class.
It’s not often that I think about self-defence.
As a young woman in today’s society of course I take precautions when walking in the dark, lock my car as soon as I get in and share my location on a nigh out, but actually learning defensive techniques had never crossed my mind.
And unlike the other fun things I’ve been asked to do, this one was an important life skill.
It’s true that everyone needs to learn how to effectively defend themselves, but women are the ones who have a raw deal of it.
According to statistics from Rape Crisis England and Wales, 618,000 women are raped or sexually assaulted every year.
That works out to 1 in 35 women. So, probably at least one woman you know was raped or sexually assaulted in the last 12 months.
Reading these statistics was a real eye opener, and was one of the reasons I wanted to attend this self-defence class – not only for myself, but for readers who might need that extra push.
Strike Back self-defence is a women’s only self-defence programme run by Gulshen Bano.
Gulshen began her Krav Maga journey after looking for an effective self defence system that would help protect her and her two children whilst out and about.
With no martial arts or other training background she was looking for a system that would be simple to learn, but at the same time deliver real effective results on the street.
She said: “As a 5’ 0” petite female, I’ve been on the receiving end of numerous real life situations such as mugging, threats and a potential car jacking.
“However each time knowing the essential self defence skills and situational awareness techniques Krav Maga, taught me to be able to get both myself and my children home safely.”
Gulshen is in a unique position as she realises and understands from a female perspective what it is like to be faced with the dangers and issues women have on the street.
From street harassment, to coming home alone from a night out and to even the risk of potential car jackings and distraction attacks when you are out and about with your children.
After realising how much Krav Maga helped her both in terms of essential skills, fitness and empowering her with confidence she decided she wanted to pass this onto other women.
Gulshen is now also pround to be working with Hopefull Handbags global charity as their Global Women’s Self Defence Coordinator.
She is also the only female KMG instructor in the West Midlands.
During the session Gulshen took us through the steps to prevent an attacker coming near.
She said: “Self defence starts before someone approaches you. If you’re walking along and you feel unsafe, or that someone is following you, don’t wait until they approach to do something about it.
“Turn around and loudly say with you hands up, ‘stop there!’.
“If they’re not doing anything wrong then they will apologise and move on, if they are following you, it might put them off continuing.”
Each time she demonstrated the techniques and we partnered off and practiced it.
We worked up to using defensive techniques like kicking and blocking and effectively learnt how to keep ourselves safe.
Gulshen came round to each of us while we were practicing and talked us through the correct form and the amount of strength we should use.
Overall it was a great session and I learnt so much from Gulshen.
Visit https://www.strikebackselfdefence.com for more information.