St Albans leisure centre launches self-defence classes for girls as young as 12

Sensei Des Allen is running self-defence classes for women and girls at Westminster Lodge.

Sensei Des Allen is running self-defence classes for women and girls at Westminster Lodge. - Credit: Everyone Active

Self-defence classes for girls and women are being launched by a local leisure centre in response to a growing demand.

It follows widespread media coverage of recent violent crime cases against women which has led to many feeling less safe on the streets alone.

High profile cases involving St Albans have also featured in the media, such as the police officer who has been charged with raping a woman in a city centre hotel late last year.

The self-defence classes will run at Westminster Lodge for 12 weeks and the course is structured so that participants can pay each week, to make it as accessible as possible. However organisers are encouraging women to sign up for the whole course if possible to get the maximum benefit from it.

“We want to empower women in the local area,” said Kirsty Jones, active communities manager for Everyone Active, which runs the centre.

“We know that across London, where there have been some particularly high-profile examples of extreme violence against women recently, more women than ever are now signing up for self-defence classes to ‘take back control’. There have also been some cases reported in the local area recently and we wanted to offer this to the women of St Albans too."

The classes are taken by Sensei Des Allen who is a senior instructor of the English Karate Association. He will take participants through understanding the tools an individual has to naturally deal with a potential aggressor, which is why the centre has stipulated a minimum age of 12.

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“You can come with a friend, and mothers can come with their daughters if they like” said Kirsty. “And, as well as learning techniques to help you feel safe and confident in protecting yourselves, they are also good for fitness. You will leave feeling empowered.”

The self-defence classes are £5 for members and £6 for non-members. For more information call 01727 736080.