MEDICINE HAT, AB — It was last month when police issued a warning to the public, after discovering a possible threat to “cause death to unknown citizens” in our community.
One person has been arrested in connection to the threat, but officers are still asking residents to remain vigilant.
A group of women have been learning how to protect themselves, just in case they’re ever caught in a scary situation.
“The techniques are designed to be used by smaller people to overcome the strength and power of a stronger person,” said Bryan Anderson, owner of Now and Zen Martial Arts Studio.
Anderson has spent the last several weeks teaching a women’s self-preservation class.
“Self-preservation is a lot more than just your self-defence,” Anderson said. “They’re concepts and ideas that we incorporate into the training program. Once you understand, the techniques for example, how the technique works, you can apply it in a number of different situations and it doesn’t have to always be the same.”
The class also teaches the ways to read a person’s body.
“We also get into how your body language should be, how your voice should be, as far as making intentions known,” he said. “That’s one of the first things we go over.”
Many of the techniques are focused on balance, being able to hold yours while manoeuvring to throw someone else off theirs.
“They deal with leverage-based techniques, being able to manipulate an attackers or an assailants balance and take advantage of their size, [their] strength,” Anderson added.
“I’m someone that travels a lot and I’ve been put in vulnerable positions in the past and so I just decided it was time to make sure that I know how to protect myself if I was to be put in a position like that again, said Mary Enns.
During the Thursday night class, Anderson pinned Enns to the ground so she couldn’t move.
His grip tightened with every squirm and wiggle she tried.
“I give up,” she said, stopping herself from any movement. “I’ll do whatever you want.”
It’s a key message for an attacker, a sign their victim has given up.
Anderson loosened his grip, just enough for Enns to slide out from underneath him, but he kept his hand on her left ankle.
Enns went through the motions as if Anderson were attacking her. She swung with her right hand, and kicked with her feet, until he let go.
“It’s important for women to know and have these techniques because it gives them that confidence,” Anderson said.
Confidence is something Enns has already seen grow in herself, now knowing she can control a situation, even if her attacker is bigger and stronger than she is.
“Section 27 of the Criminal Code allows people to use force to protect themselves, protect somebody else, protect real property,” said Inspector Brent Secondiak with the Medicine Hat Police Service. “So you’re allowed to defend your house, your vehicle. But it has to be reasonable.”
Secondiak said there are numerous factors when determining what’s reasonable and what isn’t if a situation is ever brought to court. He said the decision may lie in the hands of a judge.
“They may be able to use weapons in certain circumstances,” he added. “It just depends on the entire circumstances surrounding the event.”
“I’m able to walk my dog without having to feel like I need to look over my shoulder,” Enns said. “And it’s given me the confidence to be able to continue to travel by myself.”
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