Wing Tsun Navan's head instructor, Daragh Breathnach, was delighted to be invited to take part in Well-being Week in Eureka Secondary School, Kells. Over a number of sessions Daragh spoke to the girls from 5th and 6th years about the difference between Self Defence and Self Protection and worked on a few simple techniques with them.
After introducing the only rule of Self Protection - get home safe - the topics covered were the 5 Stages of Self Protection - Awareness, Avoidance, De-escalation, Tactical Escape and Aftermath.
Awareness covered awareness both of likely threats in whatever area we happen to be in and awareness of our immediate surroundings. We covered the need to be a meerkat rather than a phone zombie and the benefits of thinking like a criminal to both identify likely ambush points and make ourselves a harder target.
Avoidance was all about using that awareness to help us move away from, rather than towards danger. Daragh spoke about the Threat Triangle of Intent, Opportunity and Ability and how removing one side of the triangle removes the threat. Usually the easiest one to remove is opportunity which can be done by keeping distance. At this point the girls worked on the fence and on pre-emptive striking when the fence was breached.
De-escalation was about having three options when faced with a threat (Comply, Compromise or Assert), the importance of setting the ego aside when trying to de-escalate a situation and simple things we can do to break the Bystander Effect.
Under Tactical Escape the girls heard about the importance of not just running away, but having a plan on where to run to and knowing where safety is, even if that means going back they way they came in the first place. The girls also worked a drill for defending against someone trying to grab them and immediately escaping. This reinforced the concept of only fighting to affect an escape.
Finally in Aftermath we discussed the impact of Adrenaline and the way it makes the body feel when leaving the system, how the law in Ireland deals with a self protection situation and how to deal with the second guessing that happens after a violent event.
Highlighted throughout the sessions were the right to bodily autonomy, the risks of boundary testers, how the human brain naturally identifies suspicious behaviour and the need to overcome a lifetime's programming to be nice and not hit people.
Daragh really enjoyed his time working with the girls who made for a very enthusiastic audience. Wing Tsun Navan would like to thank the school for giving us the opportunity to talk to their students and especially to thank Rebecca, Erica, Niamh, Eoin and Richie for being such willing training partners.