With crime stats on the rise, self-defence is not only a useful skill to have but classes can also build confidence, improve physical and mental fitness and provide healing from trauma. Self-defence doesn’t have to be about winning a fight. On the contrary, the goal is normally to avoid a fight, or how to react when a situation does become dangerous.
There is a wide range of practices, options, and techniques for learning self-defence. From once-off introductory sessions to regular classes, and traditional martial arts to practical situation-based training, here’s a round-up of local options.
ELITE DEFENCE ACADEMY
Elite Defence Academy is an independent South African-based training group offering ongoing courses and workshops in Krav Maga – a combined-martial-arts self-defence system originally developed for the Israel Defence Forces.
Elite’s instructors have been trained by several high-ranking Israeli Krav Maga authorities as well as well-respected, international combatives and martial arts instructors in the past. But they emphasise the need to adapt their training to local challenges faced by ordinary women and men.
“For example, you may be concerned about home invasions, muggings and carjackings as opposed to dealing with homemade rockets and suicide bombers blowing themselves up,” they say. Promising to teach the most effective, realistic and practical ways possible, the team is constantly improving their techniques to keep up with changing urban contexts.
In addition to regular weekly classes, Elite Defence Academy offers kids workshops, corporate workshops as well as women’s workshops to teach participants how to avoid life-threatening situations, and what to do if they can’t be avoided.
The environment is friendly, with a focus on confidence-building and practical advice and training on anti-rape, as well as gun and knife attacks.
Classes: Ongoing classes and workshops. Find out about upcoming dates here.
Location: Classes and workshops are held in various locations, such as Blouberg, Bellville, Eversdal, Melkbos, Milnerton, Tableview, Somerset West, Rondebosch, Pinelands and Seapoint.
CJA JIU-JITSU ACADEMY
Led by Alex Herbig – 1st Dan Black Belt – CJA teaches Jiu-Jitsu to children, teens and adults.
Beyond working on physical skills such as endurance, flexibility, core strength, balance, coordination, and agility, students develop vital life skills, such as confidence and effective self-defence.
CJA‘s programmes welcome people of all ages to “de-stress after a hard day, and relax in a comfortable atmosphere while getting fit.” The academy’s instructors promise to create a safe and fun learning environment, free from egos.
Classes: Ongoing. Find out about class schedules here.
Location: Courses are available in Table View, Durbanville, Kenridge, Langebaan and Melkbos
THE CHINESE MARTIAL ARTS AND HEALTH CENTRE
Founded in 1986, The Chinese Martial Arts and Health Centre’s teaching system is based on highly-regarded, pre-eminent martial arts masters who have exemplary track records and have left a deep legacy.
Beyond teaching traditional styles of Kung Fu, Tai Chi and Chi Gung, they offer The Tactical Kung Fu Training (TKT) programme. Participants learn no-nonsense, practical self-defence applications for real-life situations – such as knife and gun attacks – in a relatively short time. The course can be taken at one of their centres or at home, and tailored self-defence workshops and seminars are also available.
In the centre’s Kung Fu classes, students learn effective striking, weaponry, throwing and locking techniques, focusing on self defence, fitness and nurturing health.
Tai Chi is a complex “soft-style” martial art that focuses on the body’s energy circulation, using ‘weakness to defeat strength’ principles as opposed to muscular force. Because it takes longer to learn, it is recommended that Tai Chi is learned in combination with hard-style martial arts.
Chi Kung is a practice that involves movement and meditation, and The Chinese Martial Arts Centre teaches a style called “The Purple Cloud System”, as well as a specific form of Chi Kung to develop methods for self-defence.
Classes: Mondays-Saturdays. Find out about schedules and ongoing tactical training courses here.
Location: 1st Fish Hoek Scout Hall, 58 Upper Recreation Road and 85 Station Rd, Observatory.
WOMEN’S SELF DEFENCE IN OBSERVATORY
The Women’s Self Defence team focuses on providing basic training for women to defend themselves in various situations.
Although there are dangerous scenarios that women and men are likely to encounter, these introductory courses aim to cover the possible or likely situations for women, in the event of being attacked. Though it may be best to avoid situations that require self-defence, their instructors believe it’s important for women to have some training in how to protect themselves in specific situations.
Students learn how to kick, knee, strike or elbow powerfully, with coordination and speed if they have to. They’ll also learn about various ground situations and attacks, how to respond quickly and effectively when on the ground, and how to get up quickly if necessary.
Effective kicks, knees, strikes, elbows, and efficient combinations of these, shifting efficiently, getting up off the ground, using pepper spray, and key self-defence principles and concepts are taught in a challenging, fun and empowering environment. The techniques are designed to work against a stronger person, taking into account the inherent weaknesses in various situations and then rapidly responding to those with a set of counters and escaping.
The training, which also uses various strike and movement combinations, improves balance, coordination and speed. Students’ techniques are checked and fine-tuned where necessary. The classes are suitable for women who would like to improve their self-defence abilities, speed, coordination, and fitness.
Classes: On-going. To find out about upcoming introductory courses and workshops, follow Women’s Self Defence on Facebook or check their website regularly.
Location: Please check Women’s Self Defence’s website regularly for updates on workshop locations.