Joy Carroll, The Chronicle October 9, 1991
With four rapes reported in the West Island over the past few months, more and more women want to learn how to defend themselves.
“I get calls everyday from women who are looking for something to protect themselves,” said Greg Reid, sifu at the White Tiger School for Tai Chi Chuan in Pointe Claire.
Tai Chi Chuan is a martial art that is done slowly with great concentration, like a meditation. However, recently Reid’s classes have been focusing more than ever on self defence.
“We’ve had women come in and ask what they should do in specific situations and we will practise it,” he said.
“We simulate street attacks, grabbing situations. We teach them how to neutralize that.”
Reid teaches what he calls the psychology of self defence. The first priority is to get out of the situation by running away if possible, the I second is to defuse the situation by talking. Fighting is a last resort .
He also says that people who practise Tai Chi seem to be less likely to get attacked.
“The only time I had to use it was against two men who were threatening a woman in a metro car,” he said. “It was over in 30 seconds, and the woman could walk away, and I could walk away.”
One of the benefits of Tai Chi is that you don’t have to be very strong to use it because you use your opponent’s energy instead of your own. Reid is very interested in teaching the art to women and the elderly because he feels they are being preyed on.
An 82-year-old man recently signed up for classes because he’d had two bags of groceries stolen out of his hands in a parking lot. He decided to learn Tai Chi to avoid similar problems in the future.
Reid says that if students practise regularly, .1•.’ most should learn enough to defend themselves . well within six months.
A more aggressive type of self-defence I course is offered at the YMCA in Pointe Claire. i ‘The method I’m teaching is a no-nonsense, II hands-on course for women,” explained :’ George Manoli, the instructor. “The beauty of I hands on is they get to see what works and what doesn’t for them.”
The five-session course is designed to prepare women for all possible eventualities, from i attacks in a parking lot to their bedroom. The women taking the class get attacked at the end I of each class, and twice each at mid-term and on the final day. He says the biggest request from his students is for more attackers.
L Manoli, who is a police officer at Station 15 rl in N.D.G. and a former teacher, devised the course himself and taught it in Edmonton for a few years before he moved back to Montreal. He now teaches the Manoli Method of HandsOn Women’s Self Defence and Personal Safety at Concordia University and the Walkley Association in N.D.G., as well as the YMCA.
He is Iwilling to offer it to any groups and associations who are interested. He has also published a manual on self defence, the expanded edition of which will be out at Christmas.
There has been a great demand for selfdefence courses at Club Fitness Today in Beaconsfield as well, so a one-evening course has been arranged for Oct. 18.
“You can see the need for it,” said Joanne Taylor, co-owner of the club. “We have members who leave classes at 10 o’clock at night and need something like this.”
The course is called self defence with key chain holder device. Instructor Terry Ratycz said that it was developed in the mid-70s for the California police force by Master Takayuki Kubota. The female police officers were having trouble controlling people, so Kubota invented a small stick called a kubotan. It goes on a key chain to make a self-defence tool.
“If you hit someone with it, it really hurts,” he said.
The key is to know where to hit, so Ratycz, who has 26 years of experience in the marital arts, teaches 11 pressure points where everyone, no matter how strong, is vulnerable. When hit with the kubotan, these spots are paralyzed for fi ve seconds, giving the victim an opportunity to run away or attack again.
“The aggressor will probably go away because he’s been shocked,” Ratycz said. “He’d rather go after someone who doesn’t give him a problem.”
During the two-hour course, the women get to try out their new skills on a heavily-padded instructor, which gives them confidence.
“When they are confident, they radiate energy,” Ratycz said. “An aggressor looks for a victim. He won’t bother people radiating confidence.”
Tips on how not to be a victim
George Manoli, an MUC police officer who doubles as a self-defence instructor, offers some basic guidelines to follow to avoid being a victim of crime. Aside from the specifics keep in mind that people who radiate confidence are less likely to be attacked.
– Be aware and conscious of what can happen. Manoli compares it to getting into a car and putting your seat belt on. You don’t expect to have a car accident, but you are taking sensible precautions.
– Make sure your home is secure. Put a deadbolt and a peephole on the front door. Jam patio doors closed with a hockey stick laid across the bottom of the inside. Put screws at the top of the patio door frame so it cannot be lifted out.
– If you’re home alone, make it look like you have company. Have timers to turn lights on and off throughout the house to make it look like people are walking through.
– Leave a radio on when you leave the house, so it sounds as if someone is there.
– When walking, keep your keys in your hand and walk with a sense of purpose. Wear a pouch on a belt instead of a purse if possible. Keep your money in several places on your person.
– As you get to your car, make a 180degree turn to see who’s around. This will let a potential attacker know that you are aware of possible danger. Look in your back seat before you get into the car.
– If you are followed, try to go toward other people. Run to a house and ring the doorbell. Try to get people involved. If they want to slam the door in your face, Manoli says, throw something through their window. Make them call the police.
– If your car breaks down in a deserted place, put the hood up and the hazard lights on and hide nearby if the weather is good. This gives you the opportunity to choose your rescuers. If you stay in the car, you are a potential target because car windows are easily broken.