Worry over violence, crime brings women to Winnipeg self-defence class

Growing concerns about violence and crime are leading to growing attendance for a Winnipeg self-defence class.

Tammy Bridelall, who teaches women’s self-defence and kung fu at Plum Blossom Martial Arts says her classes have been filling up with women looking to learn how to protect themselves.

“They feel unsafe and they want to feel safer walking to their car or to the bus,” she said.

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“Unfortunately violence happens everywhere … you have to be prepared for any situation.”

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Plum Blossom runs the self-defence for women in fall, winter and spring and Bridelall says she’s already had 10 women sign up for the upcoming winter sessions.

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Women learn about awareness and boundaries before getting into the ins-and-outs of combat during the eight-week course.

“My main thing is to react, I don’t want to stand there and not know what to do,” said Lori Taylor, of why she’s been coming back to the class for the last two years.

“I don’t think it matters what area you’re in anymore, (crime) is happening everywhere.

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“You’re never safe, you never know when and where it’s going to happen.”

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At the end of the classes men are brought in to act as attackers.

“All the ladies get to use their new skills and beat up the guys,” laughs Bridelall.

“This gives them confidence… it gives them something in their back pocket that they can use to help defend themselves or somebody that they love.”

–With files from Gabrielle Marchand

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