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Women & Men Working Together to End Violence

A half day workshop with the Chief Coach of CROSS Krav Maga in our Taibach training room, Port Talbot.

“Love this group, never want it to end. Keith was brilliant, not frightening, more cuddly. Thank you.”

“A wonderful session, recapping and learning new skills. A positive experience.”

“Opened my eyes and heart to a new path, thank you!”

“This was a great workshop, I would do it again and recommend it.”

“I really enjoyed the session, I learnt a lot.”

“Really enjoyed today, I learned a lot and am looking forward to learning more in the future.”

“Wonderful session. Learned lots of useful principles in the company of fabulous, inspirational women.”

Physical Empowerment workshop group

These are just some of the positive feedback comments we had from ladies who attended the workshop in early May 2023. For the majority of the women who attended, this was the first workshop run by a male coach that they had been to. Many of them were nervous beforehand and unsure if or how they would manage being taught by a man they had never met. However, as soon as Keith Collyer (Chief Coach as Philippa calls him) walked into the centre, he set about making everyone feel as welcome and comfortable as possible.

The session was really informative and Keith reiterated to everyone present that all self-defence starts with the inner belief that “you are worth protecting”. Keith also explained that he likes to teach principles rather than techniques as this keeps the self-defence simple and makes it easier to apply in reality. Within minutes of the workshop starting, laughter could be heard around the room as the women practiced new moves and started to relax.

Some of the women are based in Port Talbot and we also had some ladies from Llanelli who had completed a Physical Empowerment course up there. There was a representative from South Wales Police Commission and also a lady who runs her own Body Balance Business in West Wales. What was lovely is that every woman that walked into the room was immediately welcomed by the other women and made to feel at home.

Keith told a story of when he was walking down the street behind a female years ago and she turned, took one look at him and ran. As he said, for a moment he felt vaguely insulted but then he thought to himself, “fair play, she’s done what she thought she needed to do to be safe.” He pointed out to us that any decent bloke would think exactly the same, they would not feel offended but instead would understand and respect the woman’s decision. It is important for women to hear things like this directly from men. #goodmenstillexist

When Philippa introduced Keith, she explained that she would never have set up Physical Empowerment CIC if it wasn’t for meeting Keith, training in CROSS Krav Maga and becoming one of Keith’s instructor team. She pointed out that without the male instructors who have worked with her on her journey, she would not be in a position to teach what she does now. It is so important that males and females work together to end violence so we have a better chance of tackling it successfully.

Some courses and organisations, working with survivors of physical abuse, promote “man-hating” but this is a short-sighted thing to do. Fifty percent (give or take) of the population is male and we do not want to encourage women to live in fear and assume every male is a potential danger because this is simply not true. Instead, teach women to listen to their gut instinct and to believe it when it tells them something is amiss. Run workshops like this one where women who have been hurt in the past can see a male and female working together, showing mutual respect and trust and teaching them how to be safer.

As it says on a graffiti wall in Llanelli, “Alone we are strong. Together, we are stronger.

Philippa Scannell, May 2023

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