Self-defence class teaches empowerment

| 30/06/2017
CNS Local Life

Renata Kecskes demonstrates a move in her self-defence class

(CNS Local Life): A diverse group of Cayman residents recently participated in a free introductory lesson on self-defence, with the main messages that physical confrontation is the last resort when faced with a potential attacker, people should be aware of their surroundings, and a loud, forceful voice can be a powerful deterrent. Renata Kecskes, who teaches the COBRA Self-Defense System, explained “the absolute best self-defense skills are 90% mental.  It is ‘what you know’ that will protect you and your family”.

Held at CrossFit Cayman in Camana Bay, the session was open to all ages and both men and women.

Kecskes has been a bodyguard for the last five years and has taught self-defence for 18 months. Noting that many people in Cayman travel abroad and to areas that may not be safe, she pointed out, “But we don’t even have to get on a plane and go to a Third World country. Danger can be anywhere. So the main goal of our training is to remember situational awareness, most importantly.”

Her words particularly resonate in Cayman, where the community has not forgotten the shocking 2008 kidnap and brutal murder of Estella Scott-Roberts, longtime advocate for survivors of gender-based violence, who was the first director of the Cayman Islands Crisis Centre and played an integral role in its establishment in 2003.

Over the hour-long class, the group learned basic self-defence moves and took part in role-playing with an “attacker” and a potential “victim”.

In addition, Kecskes offers a two-hour foundation class (psychology of self-defence, hand-to-hand combat, basic cover of knife/edged weapon and gun defence).

She also holds training tailor made for teens, “who are always occupied with their technical devices and social media. Plus I have a class especially for women.”

However, Kecskes said she “would like to highlight that my classes are open for men and women. I would like to encourage more men to come because it’s good training for both sexes”.

CNS Local Life

Kecskes explains how to break a hold

First-time participant Kristina Bryan, who works in an office in Camana Bay, said she found the class “amazing and really useful”. She added, “I am a single female so I travel around the island a lot by myself. And I am actually going on vacation alone, so it came at the perfect time.”

The most important lesson she learned at the class was to use her voice. “I am a very soft-spoken person and so that’s something I will definitely keep in mind – to yell, either for help or at the person to scare them.”

University student Lottie Kingham came to the class with her mother and stepfather, who are friends of Kecskes.

She attends school in England, she said, explaining, “I go out quite a lot and there always are situations where there are lots of people around me drunk and being a bit silly so I feel like at some point I may need to learn how to defend myself.”

Like Bryan, she got a lot out of the one class.” I had no clue about any kind of defence tactics or anything so it’s been really good to be here. I’m learning different moves and that your voice can be the best thing in situations,” she said.

She added that what she learned has made her feel more secure. “I think I’ll be a lot more aware of my surroundings and what’s going on around me to help prevent any kind of situation that might happen.”

Kingham’s stepfather, James Hill, who was one of the men attending the class, said it was helpful from his perspective as well. “I travel quite a lot and you can never know when these scenarios are going to arise so actually in particular things like learning how to deal with knives and things like that is really important.”

Noting the recent attack on London Bridge, he said he crosses that bridge regularly, “so if somebody comes at me with a knife, knowing how to react in that circumstance will be really helpful.”

Attending the course with his wife and stepdaughter, he said the class was great for families as well. “You want to know that your kids are going to be safe.”

Acknowledging that it’s always a worry because parents can’t always know where their children are, he added, “Lottie is 20, she’ll be off having an evening with her friends and it’s nice to know that at least she’s got some basic training if somebody were to attack her.”

Kecskes stressed her aim is to impart that knowledge and help people feel more secure. “Everybody is welcome,” she said. “My main goal is to create a community of strong men and women.”

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Category: Training

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