I went along to a Bristol University self-defence class to help women stay safe at night

It’s part of ‘Reclaim the Night’ month

The idea of walking home alone at night is a terrifying prospect for a lot of women. Cat-calling and unwanted physical contact is something all too familiar. So, I decided to go a Jiu Jitsu based self-defence class to feel safer.

The event was run by Kerry Buckland as part of Reclaim the Night, and taught women the importance of reclaiming our power. The first part of the class focused on shouting ‘no’ authoritatively, which was surprisingly the hardest part for a lot of women. Sometimes, this is all we need to say safe, and we shouldn’t be embarrassed to take back control.

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The rest of the class ran through how to physically get out of a variety of different holds, this involved scenarios where you were held by the arm or from behind. Learning how to take control in these situations was empowering for everyone there.

Sally Patterson, one of the organisers of the event, said: "Reclaiming our power is all about joining together in the face of hatred."

"The self-defence class was an incredible reminder about the strength of women at Bristol – we are a force to be reckoned with, and we’re not willing to be silenced any longer."

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The class ended with everyone practicing what they had learnt on Jiu Jitsu pads; a great way to channel your inner feminist and mid-term stress.

It shouldn’t be necessary to learn how defend yourself on the street. But it is necessary to exercise your power. Whether that’s through your voice, body or beliefs, all of us have far more physical and mental strength than we may think.

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