Twelve women recently took part in a self defence workshop to learn crucial skills to keep themselves safe.

The event took place at Zest Women’s Fitness, Strength & Pilates Studio in Oswestry and was led by 5th degree black belt instructor Carl Rudolf and his assistant Emma from the Whitchurch, Malpas & Oswestry Tae Kwon Do school.

The group got to try out practical self defence techniques like throwing punches, elbows, kicks and blocking attacks, as well as learning tips to avoid dangerous scenarios and stay alert. Advice included walking with a friend or family member wherever possible, letting people know when and where you are travelling, and sticking to well-lit areas. There were also things to avoid, including looking at a phone or listening to music in headphones, as these can distract you from your surroundings.

Carl also advised setting up the car key to only unlock the driver’s side door, and locking all the car’s doors as soon as you get in. “Sometimes you may take some time before driving off to set up your phone with your route, or put on music, or text someone you’re heading off. It’s worth locking the doors even if you don’t think you’ll be that long.

“If you’re walking and you feeling unsafe and concerned about someone following or attacking you, find a place with people and light, for instance a shop or café, and ask for help. More often than not people will want to be helpful.”

As well as learning plenty of practical skills and danger avoidance theory, the group had a great time and there was lots of laughter and letting off steam. One attendee said “Great afternoon. I’m so glad I came. It was a bit of confidence building for me as well.”

Zest’s Business & Communications Manager, Louise Aust, has been invited to speak on BBC Radio Shropshire twice about the workshop and the importance of self defence.

She said: “There are stories in the news that unfortunately remind us how necessary it is for women to know how to protect themselves. We heard a lot of conversation about self defence in our gym’s community and people were really receptive to the announcement about the workshop. I think women tend to already be hyper aware of their personal safety. This was about helping them feel confident that they would know what to do if a threatening situation ever arose.”

The next workshop will be held on Saturday 19th March 2pm-4pm at Zest in Oswestry, £20 per person. Please email if you’d like to learn more or book your space.