Face of the day

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When a stranger sneaked up behind Amy Ross at an airport and held a knife to her throat, she felt no panic.

“I saw red,” she said – and she had him on the ground in seconds.

The Wellingtonian tilted her head back, clasped the arm that held the weapon and pulled it down as she whirled around.

She used the base of her hand to upper-cut her attacker’s nose so forcefully it broke. He fell to the ground of the airport in Nepal, and she escaped.

​The training was in her “muscle memory”, Ross said: “I reacted with anger rather than fear … I didn’t stop to think ‘my life is in danger, I’m going to die’.”

Ross had Korean martial arts training. When she was a youth worker, she converted her skills to teach self-defence to teenagers.

She encouraged others to train: “You don’t need to be strong to fight back. You need to be clever.”

Victoria University researchers Jan Jordan and Elaine Mossman have announced they are pushing for more government funding to expand self-defence programmes for women. The Ministry of Social Development-funded study was launched in Parliament on Wednesday by Justice Minister Amy Adams.

It involved thousands of girls and women who have participated in the Women’s Self-Defence Network Wahine Toa programmes, run nationwide since 1988.

…They also heard accounts of self-defence pupils using their lessons in real life.

One young woman who was being sexually violated by her stepfather performed a groin-hold on him in self-defence, causing him to leave her alone.

Schoolgirls told of yelling at a flasher to scare him off, one girl escaped a knifepoint abduction, and a woman defended herself from her violent partner for the first time.

The researchers also addressed criticisms of self-defence training.

They found international research showed that not resisting rape only made the act more likely. Fighting, fleeing or verbally resisting was more effective in avoiding violence,

Participants rejected suggestions that self-defence awareness was fear-mongering, saying they found it boosted confidence.

…Wahine Toa chairwoman Alison Broad said the programme did not teach only physical techniques. It also taught girls self-esteem, how to recognise sexual and family violence, and to get help.

…They would be trained how to target weak points such as the nose, groin, eyes and gut, and how to use confident body language, strong voices to intimidate and attract help, and strategies for trying to defuse violence.

The majority of violence was happening behind closed doors, not in alleyways…

 – Stuff

 


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