Perdeby experience: self-defence class

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Every week Perdeby sends its journalists to experience something out of their comfort zones. This week Perdeby attended an MMA (mixed martial arts) self-defence class.

Knowing how to physically defend yourself is a necessity. Doing an MMA class is something I needed to tick off my bucket list, which is why this opportunity was great. The only downside of the class was an awful lot of aching afterwards.

MMA is a combination of karate, muay-thai, taekwondo, wrestling, judo and boxing. Marino ‘The Scorpion’ Cutendana, a MMA fighter and number 11 in Men’s Pro Bantamweight, was the coach for the session I attended at the CIT MMA gym in Hatfield. The lesson began with warm up of 10 sprints, 20 burpees, and then launched off into 100 kicks and 100 punches. After this, Marino taught us six self-defence techniques (listed below). I must admit, learning how to kick correctly was difficult. Even though I have experience in activities that require flexibility such as yoga, it was hard to NOT hurt my toes when kicking the punching bag. Each technique was demonstrated by Marino and one of his students.

Thereafter, I had to use these techniques to defend myself in a real-life situation. This was daunting because neither of us had protection gear. Although it was daunting, it was helpful as it provided me with a real-world scenario. I’m not always going to be wearing protective gear if I need to defend myself. I was put into a hexagon (an MMA fighting ring) where I would walk casually until the attacker (Marino’s student) would pop out of nowhere and grab, tug, or throttle me and I had to defend myself correctly. If I failed to do so, it was burpee time! It was a sweaty and intense session that left me feeling good inside, even after kneeing someone in the genitals (he had a ball box for protection). The experience was definitely worth it, and I recommend that everyone attends at least one class in their life.

These are the six self-defence techniques taught in the class:
1. Protect your face
Always protect your face by placing both your fists on each side of your chin.

2. Kick
Balance on your strong leg, swing your body using your hips, and kick with the bridge of your foot to avoid hurting your toes while inflicting damage.

3. What to do if the attacker comes for your throat
Grab their wrist with one hand, and use the other hand to pull them down to the ground. Press your knee into their chest and force their palm outwards, then elbow them in the face and run.

4. What to do if the attacker grabs both of your hands
As soon as the attacker clasps your hands together, push your hands outwards while kicking their genitals. Elbow their chest and run.

5. What to do if the attacker tries to abduct you
While your attacker is grabbing you, intertwine your leg with theirs, locking them, and then bring them to the ground by pulling their leg with yours. Elbow them in the chest, grab their hand, and position it into an L shape. This will allow you to easily break it. After this, run. You can also use the palm of your hand to push their nose or chin backwards while they are trying to lift you up. Dig two fingers in the space between their collar bones and the beginning of their throat, kick their genitals, elbow their face and run.

6. What to do if the attacker grabs you from behind
Lock your leg with theirs and turn your upper body towards their face. Elbow their face and knee their genitals.

Written by: Pooja Pundit
Originally published: www.perdeby.co.za/online-content/5657-perdeby-experience-self-defence-class