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Women fight with voices, palm strikes

Learning how to fight feels awkward.

It’s not so much the palm strikes to the nose or the blocking techniques that put you out of your comfort zone. It’s the yelling.

The 20 students at the first women’s-only Krav Maga class on Sunday learned to fight with their voices more than their fists, telling their pretend aggressors to “back off!” with a fast palm strike.

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“I teach women to go from passive to aggressive with no transition,” said instructor Laurent Mougeot. “Very aggressive and fight, fight, fight, no matter what’s going on.”

While students learned how to block hits and strike back, the emphasis was on reacting quickly. Mougeot had the women wander around the room and try to touch each other on the head and back, without getting touched themselves. The courses will progress to knife attacks later in the course.

Mougeot said he’s heard many stories of women – either from his class or in the news – who have been attacked. He told a story about one woman who moved to Winnipeg after taking his course and put her Krav Maga skills to use during an attempted mugging. He uses such anecdotes to recreate more realistic scenarios.

For University of Ottawa student Kassandra Cameron, the self-defence course is about prevention. She said she’s heading to Mexico for six weeks to study Spanish and she’s planning to travel to Europe someday.

“I just don’t want anything to happen,” she said.

Carole Faucher, 50, said she’s taking the course to get in shape, but for practical purposes too.

“It’s a good thing for any woman to have,” she said.

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