Martial arts academy to teach self defence style developed in Glasgow to women affected by violence

3 April 2019

A Glasgow martial arts academy has trialled a women’s combat seminar in preparation for a series of self defence classes for female victims of violence.

George Johnston, of Hybrid Fight Academy, will teach a style of self defence developed by himself aimed specifically at combating the dangers of the streets.

“Most martial art systems now are sport based – which is still good, it helps you (in self defence).  But nowadays there’s the real risk you get attacked by four or five people; if you’re just training for sport, it’s one on one – but if it’s three or four people you’re facing, you don’t have the training to deal with that.”  He says, continuing:

“There’s punches coming at you from all angles, you’re possibly getting dragged to the ground and hit on the way down – what we try to do at Hybrid Fight Academy is recreate that chaos, so it’s in your mind and you’re constantly training in the chaos. I’d say 95% of self defence is mental, and 5% is physical.”

Johnston created what he describes as a modern evolution of Bruce Lee’s JKD fight style through losses of his own in martial arts, and unprovoked attacks on the street. It involves subtle movements to free oneself from dangerous physical situations, direct offensive strikes and usage of specific arm placements to fully protect vulnerable points of the head – whilst also acting as striking methods.

Johnson demonstrating a method of defence, which can quickly be turned into an attack method.

He said: “This seminar is open to all women, but we’re doing closed seminars soon specifically for women that have been abused or faced violence, after I was approached by a group looking for training.”

“I’m not going to be training them in kickboxing, as it’s impossible to teach someone kickboxing in a short space of time – so I’m going to teach them how to do things such as getting away from being grabbed, without necessarily having to strike (what could be a much larger man).” He added.

Scottish Government statistics for 2017/18 show 2255 recorded cases of rape and attempted rape, 44265 incidents of domestic abuse against women and that 35% of females asked do not feel safe walking alone at night.

Female victims of sexual crimes and domestic abuse in Scotland. Infographic: Craig Quirie

“I create defence scenarios through personal experiences of being attacked, and also find out online what the recent methods are – so I’m not just saying ‘this is how you’ll be grabbed’, I make sure it is ways attackers will grab.

“Although what is being taught is serious, I make my classes fun.  There’s no point being regimental – I want people to smile, and not be afraid of making mistakes whilst learning.”

A training scenario on how to deal with being attacked from behind whilst seated. Photograph: Craig Quirie

In attendance at the open seminar were Fiona Sears and Katrina Maslova who prior to the class had no experience in combat training.

“There’s a mental block of not wanting to hurt another person, even when that person is trying to attack you and this sort of workshop is giving you experience in being uncomfortable and how to react in that situation – so it helps change that mindset” said Maslova.

“The initial fear (of attending) is worth overcoming, as the class has shown how strong you can be – the demonstrations are maybe a bit more rough than when we’re doing them, but it shows you that the potential is there” added Sears, before continuing:

“In my mind I had this image of a big punching match  – it was good to break that down and see how simple it can be to get out of some dangerous situations.”

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