Lessons in self-defence are now on offer at the Fitness Factory in Larne, every Wednesday evening, f rom 8.30pm until 10pm.
The class is called Krav Maga and tutor Michael Johnston says it is a “practical, highly effective, easy to learn, no nonsense self defence system for men and women of all shapes, sizes and fitness levels”.
Currently, students range in age from 18 years to forties but there is no upper age limit.
There are students with no previous experience as well as those who have studied various martial arts.
Michael said: “Classes cover everything from how to deal with simply being threatened and how to deal with that particular situation right through to anti-rape defences.
“We teach our students how to protect themselves and their loved ones from single and multiple threats quickly, effectively and within a very short time frame.
“The majority of any violent attacks are of the fist throwing variety but nowadays there’s an increasing amount of attacks being carried out with the use of weapons.
“So along with helping people to learn how to defend against a typical haymaker and every other type of punch you can think of, we also include in our syllabus, defences against knives, guns, bottles, batons and even machetes.
“We train in how to read our opponents, their size, how it can be used against them as well as how to out think them so as to react in ways that instead of wasting precious time second guessing what to do next.
“Our students are taught to instantly go from being attacked to go on the offensive to incapacitate and overcome an assailant to ensure our ability to walk away safely. “
Michael also outlined a number of additional benefits.
These include awareness for every day situations such as using a cashpoint or socialising in a pub or club.
“By this we are able to identify potentially dangerous and threatening situations before they even arise”, he explained.
“We do this so as to minimise the chances of our students having to put into practice any of the physical skills they have learned but should a physical confrontation become inevitable they are more than ready for it, and are able to ultimately emerge safely from such a confrontation. “
Michael claims that one of the main advantages of Krav Maga form of self-defence is its adaptability.
“ Our female students work with other students of similar size until they have gained confidence in the technique, when they are more comfortable they then move on to honing their skills against larger more experienced opponents.
“This type of reality based training means if any of our students are unfortunately put in the position were they have to call upon their skills, they will have confidence enough in their own ability and what they have learned so that they will not freeze up and whatever they do they do something that is effective and in case potentially life saving,” he said.
Michael also claimed students are able to deal with stressful situations more confidently and have improved personal interactions.
I can provide countless testimonials from once shy and unassuming students who tell how much it has enhanced their abilities to interact with people and deal with stressful situations with a new confidence in themselves. Even if that’s just in a simple disagreement with someone who is trying to intimidate them into their way of thinking, whereby in the past they would cow down they find they are able to assert themselves with a new quiet inner strength they hadn’t had before.