A recent spike in sexual assaults here means city women need to know how to protect themselves should the need arise, said a local self-defence instructor.
“I think every single young woman should take a class like this,” said Laurent Mougeot, who held Ottawa’s first-ever, women’s-only Krav Maga class at Carleton University yesterday. “You never know what might happen. It’s like in the Jennifer Teague case — you never know, but it could have made a difference.”
A certified Krav Maga instructor, Mougeot taught the self-defence technique that is employed by the Israeli Army, the FBI and the Los Angeles police. It is considered ideal for female self-defence, since it relies on instinctive reactions to danger, rather than routine.
Its moves are based on the body’s natural reflexes, something that Carleton student Tasneem Damen likes because it makes her defensive reactions more spontaneous.
“When you’re in a situation, you don’t have time to think. You just have time to do natural movements,” she said.
Now she knows what to do if someone ever grabs her, chokes her, pulls her hair or threatens her with a knife.
“I learned basic things, like where to hit a person — you use your knees and elbows to hit the nose, face, groin,” said Damen. “The idea is to cause enough damage quickly enough to get away.”
Although Krav Maga mostly attracts men, the workshop teaches women how to react to real situations that happen on the street, said Mougeot.
There have been six attempted abductions or attempted assaults, many involving young girls walking alone during the evening, in Ottawa so far this year.