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Mitchell's Plain women empowered by karate after workshop held in Westridge

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The women who participated in the free one-month self defence classes in Westridge. PHOTO: supplied
The women who participated in the free one-month self defence classes in Westridge. PHOTO: supplied

A group of local women have been empowered through self defence classes offered during Women’s Month.

Trevor Rustin of Trevors Kyokushin School of Karate hosted the workshop in Westridge.

One of the participants, Tanya Williams says she was informed of the classes through her son, who is enrolled with Rustin.

“This class definitely made me more aware of my surroundings whether driving, walking or taking an Uber. Simple things that I’ve learnt that would easily change a situation, so yes I do feel better equipped,” she says.

“Being shorter than the average sized woman, I always felt a bit intimidated by anyone walking around me when I’m alone, always feeling nervous. The skills I’ve learnt now taught me that no matter your size, you’re capable of a lot more than you think. This class was empowering and gave me the confidence to be aware and alert in my surroundings and not be scared and nervous.”

She thanked Rustin and his assistants for their time and efforts and their passion towards helping and uplifing the people of their community.

Another participant, Shona Wentzel joined because of a very personal reason.

“I heard about the class through our community WhatsApp group. I joined because I had a very close friend, Dawn Fillies, abducted a street away from her home a couple of weeks earlier. Her disappearance has really been difficult to deal with, especially for her kids and husband. It made me feel powerless,” she says.

Fillies is still missing, she says.

“The self defence course I felt was going to give me my power back. I was going to feel protected and acquire some skills in the process. I do feel I can protect myself. Sensei T and his helpers really gave us personal attention. He passed on some very useful tips and we all got a little bit fitter in the process. I would definitely recommend this class to all women of all ages. What he teaches is extremely useful. This class has made me aware of my surroundings I feel in control of my life and I’m able to take care of my life. And that’s empowering.”

Tasneem Hendricks heard about the classes from her husband and children who are part of the dojo.

“Sensei Trevor has been doing this programme for a few years now and I decided to attend his classes to increase my knowledge and skills,” she says.

“I definitely feel more confident and as i walk around or sit in public, i am more aware of my surroundings. I never realised how strong I am or how loud my voice is. I reduced my weaknesses, but at the same time, I also improved my strengths.

Awareness is definitely key and Sensei Trevor has enlightened us about this major factor as it enables us to be prepared for any approach, making us identify and recognize any sort of threat.”

She says this programme comes highly recommended by her.

“It is time that we empower ourselves. Self confidence and safety is of utmost importance when being outside your comfort zone. Also, it is a space where friends and family members should attend together, as apart from the knowledge and skills, value comes in as well. This experience has bonded family and friends who spend quality time having fun whilst learning at the same time.” Rustin says the group of women enrolled into this course had little to no self-defence classes prior to the programme.

The course was offered free of charge in August to mark Women’s month.

Since then, a self-defence workshop has also been held in Tafelsig.

“From a women empowering perspective, we know that these ladies entered the programme with zero self-defence skills and leave feeling more empowered and skilled to perhaps be more prepared for the cruel reality of gender-based violence,” says Rustin.

“They will have a heightened sense of awareness which is key to self-defence and most important. They now realise what is their most import weapon. They know what is the first thing to do when they sense danger is coming.”

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