08:00 20 May 2022
It’s not often that two co-workers meet in the dojo rather than near the water cooler.
But that’s exactly what happened when the Evening newspaper’ Francis Redwood and Ella Wilkinson got together to try out a popular self-defense class for themselves.
Here, Francis tells us about the top tips from martial arts experts and why the course is so essential.
I’ve watched countless martial arts movies, but I never thought I’d be the bad guy being the one receiving various punches and kicks.
But that’s exactly what happened Wednesday night when Ella and I went to try our hand at Choi Kwang Do.
The firm is located at the Phoenix Center at Mile Cross Road and run by the mother/son combo of Rebecca Green and Michael Lovett.
Rebecca, 45, who lives in Gypsy Lane, said: “Everyone should have the opportunity to learn how to take care of themselves.
“Nowadays, if you can give people a bit of knowledge on how to defend themselves and prevent them from getting really hurt, I think that’s great.
“As we teach traditional martial arts, we also incorporate how to protect yourself from bat and knife attacks – something that is unfortunately becoming more and more common.
“The first thing we teach everyone by doing this is that if you can run, you run – you never fight unnecessarily.
“But if someone finds themselves in such a situation where running is not possible, we hope that what we teach will give someone that knowledge so that they can get out of it.”
My colleague Ella – who seemed to be having way too much fun knocking me down – said: “I often feel vulnerable when I’m alone in town – especially at night.
“So it’s a relief to have learned these techniques to defend myself if something happens.
“It’s also a good way to let off steam and have fun.”
Michael Lovett, 27, added: “We have always learned how to defend ourselves against knife crimes.
“These techniques are now more important than ever and we hope our classes will give people a better chance to defend themselves.”
Where do martial arts come from?
There are around 170 different martial arts – from a number of disciplines – originating from all over the world.
Choi Kwang Do, taught by Rebecca and Michael, is a variant of taekwondo originating from South Korea.
Jiu jitsu originated in Japan around the 17th century and later spawned a number of arts like Brazilian jiu jitsu and judo.
A more common martial art these days is Karate which evolved in East Asia over the centuries and has four main types: Shotokan, Kyokushin, Goju-Ryu and Wado-Ryu.
Another discipline is the Chinese art of Wing Chun – which famous martial artist and actor Bruce Lee began learning when he was 13 years old.
This was however also adapted by Bruce Lee himself – later developing his own art of the Jeet Kune Do made famous in his films.