No magic tricks to self-defence
My heart is sinking slowly.
Kickboxing instructor Mohsen Rafei is taking his time crushing my dreams as he explains there are no magical self-defence tricks.
Quite frankly, he says, unless you're typically fit and quick then chances are you won't remember what you've learnt when it's actually time to bring out the big guns.
I'm at PARS Fitness and Combat Academy in Henderson, a place I've walked past many times to enviously ogle the groups throwing punches and kicks in the early evenings.
As a fairly petite girl (who towers at five foot when I've got my heels on) I'm certainly aware that in an unlikely encounter between myself and an attacker, I'm probably the losing party.
I've always wanted to learn self-defence but as Mohsen dutifully reminds me - there's no inside trick, no silver bullet, no Mr Miyagi magic.
The best defence is offence, he says.
He teaches me a few tricks anyway but I do need to practice them and get fighting fit.
First we go through the pressure points, or sensitive spots, that you should always aim for with a quick cut of the hand or sleight of fist.
Forearms, above the knees, the throat, temple and nose are all good places to zero in on, if only to surprise your attacker and give you a chance to run.
Presuming I can't run away Mohsen teaches me how to punch properly, Fight Club style.
Keep your wrists straight, use your back leg to guide you, aim with your knuckles and, for the love of God, be quick, Mohsen says.
My wrists are the smallest part of my body, I'm constantly told what tiny hands I have.
I doubt my punches are going to incapacitate an attacker but Mohsen praises my fist work anyway.
In a real life situation I would hope to daze my opponent enough to break into a quick sprint by now.
But if that's not the case then there's more.
Mohsen teaches me how to kick an offender away.
Face your body forward, raise your right knee and push your leg forward using your left arm as a propeller, he says.
If you do that well there's your chance to startle your attacker and get some distance.
On your marks, get set, go!
- Western Leader
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