November 16, 2014 by Emma Bentley
Another late night last night and another early start this morning. (Why do I put myself through this again?!) This time, though, I was heading to the rue de Babylone in the 7th for a three-hour women’s self-defence class.
Three hours very well spent. We learnt how to maintain distance from someone and how to execute effective blocking movements with our upper and lower body, in case of attack. We did some situational work (i.e. putting down the pads and pretending we were on the streets for real) and then there was a lawyer who spoke for twenty minutes, advising us of what French law considers to be “legitimate defence” and of the importance of going to the police and porter plainte, as soon as possible after an assault.
The attendees ran the whole gamut of sizes, ages and abilities: from two petite girls (in early teens) who’d come with their mum to a couple of ladies who were fifty plus but could really pack a punch.
What was also really cool was that our instructors were actual policemen who spend their weekends giving these classes empowering women. There was also a kick-ass lady Bénédicte, who, let me put it lightly, well, may Hades have mercy on any man who tries to have his way with her in a dark alleyway.
It’s also worth watching this video to get an idea of what the class is like and the practical uses of what you learn. (Obviously, we were at a much lower level and limited to women only, but there’s no harm in aspiring to something else, right?)
At 30 euros for the session, it may seem like a fair bit of moolah for something that won’t ever happen to you… but let me say, it was worth every centime and not only that, but I strongly recommend it to any and every woman. Even just having a basic training in self-defence is hugely empowering and it’ll hopefully make me less of a target in the métro and on the streets of Paris. And yes, I’ll be going back for another class next month and in the meantime, much to my (male) housemate’s discomfort, I will keep practicing those defensive jabs to the genitals around the flat.
This post was not in any way sponsored by the Paris Ladies System Defense. It’s just something I feel very strongly about.