When I heard about the guy who was giving free self protection classes to women and girls in Leeds I jumped at the chance. With all the attacks in the news recently I am determined that my daughters and I will have some form of defence should we ever come across any unsavoury characters. And besides, who doesn’t want to learn how to kick a bloke in the nether region!?
So, I grabbed my two daughters and drove to The Old White Heart on Town Street, Beeston, Leeds. Here I discovered that there is more to it than that. A lot more!
Maurice Oldridge, a martial arts expert, and his team of second dans were all ready and waiting to teach women how to fend off any would be attackers.
Recent events in the area have sparked Maurice’s passionate campaign to swoop in and save the ladies and girls of Leeds.
Earlier this year, on Friday 6 March, at 10:40pm, an 18 year old girl was waiting for a bus on Beeston Road in Leeds, when she was dragged in to a garden, repeatedly and viciously hit on the head with a rock and raped. The attacker then walked away, leaving the 18 year old for dead. This has left the community of Beeston severely shaken and with the attacker still at large and no signs of his identity being revealed, Maurice and his team have selflessly taken on the great task of teaching women and girls in and around the area to fight back.
With this in mind, it was no surprise to me to see over 20 women and girls waiting in the back room of the pub. Women from all walks of life (ages ranging from as young as 8 right up to senior). Women of all shapes and sizes, girls who are coming up to their teen years and have very little experience with the big bad world. Teenage girls who had more than likely been dragged to the class by their fretful mothers (and rightly so). We were all there for the same thing, to learn defensive skills from the Mighty Maurice!
With demonstrations and exercises to help train our mind and body to react fast enough to buy a few seconds to escape an attack.
They don’t hold back either, using shock tactics to really drum it in to us how affective just a small amount of knowledge (combined with knowing where the pressure points are) can be. The class is fun with low impact fitness levels. Maurice and the guys really know their stuff. We all walked away at the end of the class feeling empowered!
Maurice and his team Chris Bruce, Nathan Foster, Lisa M Mallinson, Dale Kitchen and Michael John Eastes Thacker (otherwise known as the crash test dummies!) give up their Wednesday evenings for free, they are giving the girls and ladies of Leeds all this knowledge and skill for absolutely nothing in return!
In order for the team to carry on this great work they need our help, they need the community of Beeston to come together and help save our girls.
In short they need funding. They have very little equipment and the landlord of The Old White Heart kindly allows the class to take place in the back room of the pub. There needs to be a pot in place which can help this carry on, for the sake of our daughters, sisters, mothers and any other females in your life this class needs to keep going.
I for one will be returning with my girls next Wednesday evening, safe in the knowledge that as they grow and become more independent they (me too) have been given a chance to defend themselves from any attackers, be it rape, mugging or any other form of physical attack they may face.
Classes are held on a Wednesday evening from 6-8pm at The Old White Heart Pub, Town Street, Beeston. All females welcome.
Written by Helen Kenworthy.
Mum of four, Wife of one, budding author, blogger and full time Customer Service Advisor.
This post was written by Helen Kenworthy using our Create an article for South Leeds Life page.