Confidence for the WIN

Confidence for the WIN

Two weeks ago, our Women in NetSuite (WIN) committee hosted two self-defence sessions with Sensei Mary David and Sensei Alex David. Sensei Mary is a 5th degree black belt, who has been studying, teaching, and coaching karate for over 30 years. Sensei Alex is also a 5th degree black belt and a member of the Waterloo Regional Police. The purpose of the sessions was to teach the participants how to defend themselves against common grabs, hugs, chokes, and other attacks.

We showed up to the Thursday afternoon session barefoot and in comfortable clothing. Sensei Mary and Alex were already there along with one of our co-workers, Christine McKarney, in full Karategi. Each session started with a few warm-up exercises to make sure we didn’t accidentally hurt ourselves. Once warmed up, we started practicing all the self-defence techniques from the simplest of punches to chaining up techniques with distractions then escapes. During our practices, Sensei Mary and Alex came around with pads to let us practice hitting actual targets. We split off into groups of two to take turns being the attacker and the defender.

Main Takeaways:

  1. Be confident.
    -  Always look someone in the eyes to show that you are ready for whatever comes at you. Attackers are less likely to attack someone who is aware of their surroundings and appears confident.
  2. Protect your face, neck and chest area with your hands.
  3. First thing to do when being grabbed is to ask to be let go – it doesn’t hurt to ask, right?
  4. Distract your attacker with anything you’ve got.
    -  Step on their toes, strike their nose and eyes, anything you can think of!
  5. Remain calm during a confrontation.


Overall, the class was exciting, fun and very educational. However, more than just learning how to defend ourselves against physical attacks, Sensei Mary and Alex taught us lessons that can be applied throughout our day to day lives. The number one takeaway from the class was that confidence is key. Exuding confidence, even if it means faking it at first, can mean appearing less vulnerable as a target for conflict in the everyday. Creating a sense of confidence and calmness, even in the face of adversity, can make all the difference.

Thank you WIN for hosting these sessions!


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