Last weekend I attended a two-day workshop in self-defense. Thirty-five women from all across the country, with various backgrounds, gathered outside Stockholm for forty-eight hours of authentic assault simulations. I can say that it is by far one of the most intense things I’ve ever done, both physically and mentally.
In Sweden, women between the ages 16-24 are overrepresented in the statistics regarding victims of sexual assaults (reported assaults of 2017). Half of the reported assaults occurred in public spaces, and in sixty percent of the total number of reports, the perpetrator was previously unknown to the woman. Ninety-eight percent of the perpetrators were men.
If these numbers weren’t enough to convince me that I have to learn how to defend myself, then the stories of some of the women I met this weekend definitely were.
This workshop was not like many others, where you mark your strikes and avoid impact. No, we struck to hit. During the warm-up Saturday morning we slapped each other’s faces without defending ourselves, just to get into the right spirit and build motivation.
Sounds too tough? Well, I’d lie if I didn’t say it’s not for the faint-hearted. But let me tell you something; we’re not made of porcelain. We can take it. And in the case you’re faced with a perpetrator, he won’t be gentle. The sooner you pull up the blinders and realize that, the better prepared you will be if the situation would present itself.
I urge all women to check the opportunities to learn self-defense in their local communities. The worst (read BEST) thing that could happen is that you’ll never have to use it, but then you’ve still gotten yourself a hell of a workout. The methods I learned were based on Krav Maga, which I can strongly recommend. I trained with The Swedish School of Self-Defense (Självförsvarsskolan), which in my opinion is the best alternative in Sweden, focused on keeping the exercises as close to real-life situations as possible. They’re based in Stockholm but do workshops all over the country.
This post’s been written from the perspective of being a woman, but my writer-self whispers from deep within that I’ve also gained a whole new file of fighting-experiences to use in my writing.
Take care of yourself and don’t worry you’re being paranoid, you’re just taking reasonable precautions.
That’s all for now,
hej så länge!
(Credit: The rights of all images belong to Självförsvarsskolan)