Paraparaumu College Year 12 student Olivia Warner has taken it upon herself to see her fellow female students learn to effectively defend themselves.

Having attended a day long self-defence course at Paraparaumu College last year Olivia found this did not provide them with enough techniques to defend themselves properly if a situation arose where they needed to repel an attacker, regardless of their size or athletic ability.

"The course we did was good but I felt it lacked enough physical components and technique," Olivia said.

"The instructors just said 'hit them as hard as you can' and we practised on pads doing just that."

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However, Olivia was concerned what would happen if they lacked the physical strength to fend off the attacker.

"We train in college to learn the skills and values that will help us overcome the challenges we will face in our lives, so why shouldn't we have opportunities to learn how to defend ourselves from situations that we may face in our lives like abuse, sexual assault, toxic relationships and other problems?"

After some research Olivia approached Kapiti Karate hoping they would be willing to help.
Impressed with Olivia's initiative, Allan from Kapiti Karate agreed to run the classes free of charge.

Bridie Webb getting instruction from instructor Allan Youl.
Bridie Webb getting instruction from instructor Allan Youl.

"Olivia has done this through her own initiative and not as any part of a school requirement," he said.

"I'm quite impressed."

Along with physical training, Olivia is keen to stamp out negative stereotypes placed on women and their physical ability.

"It would also be great if the classes were able to spread awareness for the need of self-defence skills in women and to lay the foundations for positive values and beliefs in the girls of our college," she said.

"One insult that boys use is 'you fight like a girl'.

"It is ideas like this that only reinforce the beliefs in young women that they will never be able to defend themselves effectively and they should just wait for others to save them.

"While huge progress has been made in combating these negative ideas in the past decade they still linger in society and it is important to not stop trying to erase them.

"By providing girls with the opportunity to learn self-defence skills we can help improve confidence in their own abilities and their self confidence in general."

Around 20 students attended the course which covered statistics about surviving attacks, situational awareness, using your voice and how not to behave like prey along with practical work on kicking and striking, weapons and striking points of the body, household or general items as weapons and escaping holds.