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Important knowledge about self defence

After the attacks in Örebro and especially on campus, exchange student Alex Maier, 26, studying Business, from Mannheim, Germany, organized a self-defense course to teach students how to protect themselves in emergency situations. Lösnummer talked to him about his experience as a bouncer in Germany and how the course Went.

When you meet Alex you can see already that he´s nobody you want to mess with – he´s wearing a dark jacket, a dark head and is not smiling until he starts talking. He has a lot of experience when it comes to self-defense and combat sports: he is working as a bouncer in Germany since five years and has tried different kinds of sports, ranging from judo and thai-boxing to Krav Maga – an Israeli combat sport invented to be practical for both genders – men and women, since it is mandatory for women, too, to serve in the army in Israel.

I have to say that these kinds of sports don´t really help you when it comes to self-defense. Of course, you know how to move your body, but real self-defense out on the street is not comparable with combat sports. The most experience I gained during my work as a bouncer in Germany.

A few years back, the students and the University of Mannheim had to deal with a security issue as well and Alex offered his help and knowledge about self-defense to invent several courses to teach the students how to protect themselves. He explains that he had the idea of giving a course for self-defense already in the beginning and now with the background of the attacks happening in Örebro the idea became a real plan.

I was mostly concerned about the security of the exchange students. My idea is to teach the students three, four effective methods at once, because we don´t have the opportunity right now to offer more courses. That the students know how to protect themselves in case of emergency was the main goal of the first session. The attacks in Örebro gained nationwide media attention: Aftonbladet reported about it and even the famous TV show “Efterlyst” had this topic. Asking Alex, if the media attention could influence the behavior of the offender, he answers reserved:

I don´t really want to speculate, but I would say no, it doesn’t. Observing the pattern it seems like they don´t differentiate between women or men and they enjoy more generally the act itself. But it shows as well that you cannot generalize a country for instance. I´ve often heard that people were shocked, because something like that doesn´t happen in Sweden. And therefore, I must say that there is no absolute security – anywhere. But how about typical clichés: If you imagining getting mugged as a woman the first thought is usually to hit the men into their testicular. But Alex explains that this could be even more dangerous for two reasons: It is difficult to assess the offender´s background, you cannot know, if he has experience in combat sports and furthermore, as the word cliché assumes a hit into the testicular is expected.

Also, if the person has taken drugs, he wouldn´t feel anything and therefore doesn´t care. It is very important that you use the element of surprise. Alex also doesn´t recommend to run away, as long as you are not a very fast sprinter:

Running away does only work effectively, if you know your surrounding: Is there a restaurant nearby where I can find help? Where is the next police station? How can I find a big amount of people fast? But especially, in the student areas the house doors are locked during the night, where and how would you get into a house fast enough? All these things are reasons to get to know at least the basic methods of self-defense. In the course he organized, people got to know which parts of the body can be hurt most effectively – for instance the nose, the eyes or the ear, but they also practiced verbal training.

It is important to control your mimic in dangerous situations and even screaming can help, since most offenders don´t expect a woman to scream. I also showed them how to escape out of a head lock – very important. The head lock is a popular method to keep a person calm and unable to move. In the end Alex tried to simulate a situation where people needed to protect themselves. He tried to attack somebody and they had to apply the newly learned methods. It would be more effective, if we could organize it more often. The best methods are the ones you don´t need to think about what you´re doing, that you have internalized the exercises.

/ Luise Röpke Skribent

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