Self-Defence Seminar with Professor Paul Hartley

Last Sunday, at Gracie Barra Fulham we invited members and their friends to come and learn some of Chief Instructor Professor Paul’s techniques in how to keep an attacker at a safe distance and what to do when that distance is no longer there. Here at Gracie Barra, we believe in working as a team to keep us strong and in turn, safe.

“Even if you consider yourself the most peaceful person on earth, you don’t pick the fight. The fight picks you.” - Rener Gracie

As much as we all like to believe we are immune to being attacked, or that if we follow the right precautions we don’t have to worry about the worst case scenario, this is sadly not always the case. Yes, many people go through life without ever needing to defend themselves, but wouldn’t you rather go through life knowing you can, if you need to?

From a young age we are taught that safety comes first. There are even laws that enforce this, such as fire drills, which we all happily abide by because we want to make sure we all know what to do in an emergency. The same rule should apply to self-defence. 1 in 5 women in the UK have experienced some kind of sexual assault from the age of 16, and, although statistically, women are more often targeted, it is also estimated that 138,000 men have faced similar situations in the past year alone. Along with this, over 6 million people have experienced some form of domestic abuse from the age of 16.

You might be thinking that you’re the kind of person that would be unlikely to be in these situations, and that if you are, you can use your physical attributes to overpower the attacker. But what happens if the other person is fitter, stronger or knows how to throw a punch? Let’s not forget about unprovoked street violence. No matter how tough you are or how much you do to make sure you’re not in a position to be attacked, you could still be a target. In 2017, over 20 people a day were reported as being taken to hospital for injuries caused by kicks, hits, and even bites, which is why we think it’s worth knowing how to defend yourself, and having some tricks up your sleeve.

“Whilst on a night out with my wife, we enter a bar and immediately my senses went to red alert!!! I could feel it, I could taste it the air, the tension was immense. Before we could turn around and leave the place erupted!!! I went straight into protection mode and when one of the guys barged into my wife I quickly spun him around and made his back hit the floor at extreme speed with a powerful Osoto Gari and applied an arm bar, breaking his arm while I was still standing over him. I then left the bar.” - Professor Paul Hartley

It can take years to master a martial art, particularly one like Brazilian jiu-jitsu, which is why Professor Paul Hartley teaches only the most simple and instinctual techniques at his self-defence seminars. This is to ensure that if you’re ever in a position where you need to protect yourself, it will come automatically. Though it may not sound as James Bond as Paul’s story, you’ll still be given the best chance to stay unscathed in an attack.

So why Brazilian jiu-jitsu? Over the past century, jiu-jitsu has evolved in many ways, the most prominent is that it is no longer exclusive to those who are large, flexible or strong. This is where Hélio Gracie came into the picture. Being much smaller than most of his opponents, he had to study the positions and find ways in which he could use leverage over strength. In doing this, he opened up the world of Brazilian jiu-jitsu to people of all sizes, ages and genders. Even today people are making adjustments to their techniques to make them more efficient.

Just last week I was told a story of a woman who was walking home one night and was confronted by a man who wanted to overpower her, using the dark, quiet street to his advantage. Unfortunately for him, his plan hadn’t factored in the possibility that this particular woman had a brother who was a world champion Brazilian jiu-jitsu competitor who had made sure his sister would be able to protect herself… Needless to say, that night he was the one left broken - two arms in fact - and carted straight off to the police station.

The way modern jiu-jitsu is taught means no matter your size or physique, you no longer are at a disadvantage. The importance of self-defence, especially living in a big city like London is ever-present. If it was within your grasp to give someone you love the tools to protect themselves, wouldn’t you?

To find out more about our upcoming seminars and courses, contact us via email, phone call or through our website.