On the 10 October 2009, Swinburne Aikido Club organized an Aikido for Women Self Defence seminar which emphasized on practical applications of Aikido.
The kinds of attacks women face are quite different in that it tends to be more based on holds and grabs rather than striking. Furthermore, women being generally weaker than their male counterparts cannot hope to rely on strength alone. Aikido provides an ideal platform for gaining skills in defending against a stronger opponent through the use of an opponent’s strength, leverage and balance.
Sensei Desmond started off the seminar, elaborating on how self defense is grounded in being quick and efficient. He demonstrated several techniques from hand grabs and made it clear that the point of self defense is to disable your attacker so that you have enough time to get away. Just getting rid of a grip may not be sufficient if the attacker can still pursue you and showed several finishing moves to end the conflict before attempting escape.
Jack then further elaborated on this while stressing the importance of awareness which encompasses not just being aware of your surroundings but also on He also warned against trying to defend yourself against armed assailants if your life is not in danger. Heroics has no place in self defense and if giving your belongings safeguards your safety, then that should be done. He demonstrated several quick and easy techniques from hand holds and the utilization of circular hand movements to release grips.
Rear attacks were then covered by Reuben who showed a technique to regain balance when being lifted off the ground and how to appropriately ground yourself when being grabbed from behind. He talked briefly about how criminals pick their targets by observing their body gestures and stressed the importance of appearing confident and actively showing awareness of your surroundings.
At the end of the day, perhaps the two most important things to be gained from the seminar were the emphasis of awareness of your surroundings and the need for consistent training in martial arts to be able to remain calm when being faced with a self defense situation. With awareness, you can avoid dangerous situations and with calmness of mind, can you properly formulate a plan of escape.
Many thanks to Fabian and Eileen for their tireless efforts in promoting this event, the Yudansha who imparted their wisdom, the Aikido students who came to support us and also the participants who made time from their busy schedules to attend the seminar. Hope to see all of you soon!