I went to a self-defence class and this is what happened

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Last Sunday morning, I dragged myself out of my warm bed and headed to my local gym, Intrepid Fitness and Nutrition. I’ve never been to the gym in the morning in my entire life, I’m more of an afternoon workout kind of gal, but Intrepid teamed up with The Wholesome Heart and Fight Back Women’s Self Defence to offer a class for us ladies. Umm, learn to kick butt with a group of women? Sign me up!

But after listening to our instructor for a while, I quickly realised that self-defence is less about kicking butt and more about getting the fuck out of the situation. This realisation comforted me, because, let’s face it, when it comes to kicking butt, I’m all talk. I mean, look at Anita lay into me!

It was made clear to us that a woman could easily attack us too, but the focus of the class was defending against a male assault. There was some pretty heavy info, so my GIF use is not to make light of the situation, but instead to offset the heaviness. So what did I get out of this class?

It’s good to know

Obviously I hate the fact that I need to know how to avoid being attacked. Wouldn’t it be nice if people just stopped attacking others? And wouldn’t it be nice if the world was Cadbury, also? I know that’s super naive, but it was certainly a thought I had as I stumbled in the dark to find my runners.

Everything our instructor showed us was useful and to the point. And pretty much every explanation ended with him saying “and then get the fuck out of there.”


We learnt how to get out of all sorts of compromising positions from grabs to chokes and all the way to being pinned on the ground.

He also shared the frightening fact that women in Australia are more likely to be attacked by someone they know. After checking out the Australian Institute of Criminology, I was horrified to find that 81% of women attacked in 2015 knew the perpetrator. 81 fucking per cent.

We were paired up to try out the moves and admittedly, some of them were a little uncomfortable. I’m not used to pretending to choke my old mate (and our beauty blogger) Anita, but I had to do it. In fairness, she is not used to straddling and pinning me down either. But as sisters, Anita and our fashion blogger Nat, seemed happy to attack each other.

I know that I may not remember all of the instructions if (*touch wood*) I am attacked. But I’m reassured by the knowledge that I have some ideas on how to get the hell away from the situation.

It felt empowering

Hearing the statistics is scary stuff, but the fact that this group of women got together to learn how to prevent an attack was empowering. I’d rather accept that there is a chance that this could happen to me and do something about it, than stick my head in the sand. And believe me, I stick my head in the sand about PLENTY of things, but I can’t about this.

Our instructor put it simply, if someone is attacking you, you must make an immediate decision to fight. Once that decision is made you will do whatever is necessary: bite, kick, punch, pull, slap, elbow, eye gouge, yank fingers and grab balls. This is not MMA fighting, there are no rules when you are trying to defend yourself, so fight dirty if necessary.


It was also strangely empowering to hear that if you are confronted by someone, getting away will most likely hurt. But if you’ve decided that you will fight then it’s clear: If you’re not going down, then your attacker has to… well at least for a few seconds while you run like the wind to safety.

And it was really fun

As much as the subject matter of the class was a bit dark, it was actually really fun. We laughed at all the weird positions we had to get into and I was seriously impressed with my newly acquired skills. There were also yummy treats to eat afterwards. Check out our smooth moves:



I can’t recommend this class enough. The fact is we live in a world where we might find ourselves in a spot of danger, so we should take a few hours to learn what to do. Keep an eye out for the next session at Intrepid!


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Fi is a writer and editor for The Merry Go Round. She enjoys sunshine, singing in the car and viewing the glass as half full (of wine)