Free self-defence class for women in wake of Sarah Everard death
- Credit: Charlotte Bond
A Brantham couple who run a martial arts business are offering a free self-defence class for women, as the issue of female safety remains a national debate.
Laurence and Nicky Schofield met 29 years ago, just nine weeks before Laurence joined recruitment training as a Royal Marines Commando which took him on missions all around the world, and they've been together ever since.
The marine retired from service as a colour sergeant in 2017 to join his wife in running SMART Dojos (Schofield Martial Arts & Real-Defence Training) — rebranded from the former name of Peninsula Martial Arts.
Nicky said: "The Martial Arts came about as my son, Luke, needed some help with his focus and self discipline at school so he started Karate in 2007 and I decided to join him.
"We really loved training together and I got my first Dan Black Belt first in 2012 and he got his in 2013 — we then roped Laurence in too and he got his Karate Black Belt in 2019."
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Now, the family hold black belts in a number of fighting styles; Krav Maga, Karate and Kickboxing.
Dubbed 'the most deadly family in Brantham' they settled in Suffolk to provide Luke with a stable base while his father travelled around the country and world.
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Self-defence is a speciality of Laurence's having done unarmed combat and close-quarter battle in the Royal Marines, where he was a Platoon Weapons and Tactics instructor.
Before the pandemic they were training over 120 students aged between three and 73, but have lost around half of them due to restrictions.
Despite coming up against some challenges, the company has continued to grow and after the death of London woman Sarah Everard they knew they could help by offering a free self defence class for women.
Laurence said: "I've seen the very best and very worst in people during my time and I know there are always some who will try take advantage.
"This class is a way we can empower people and give them an advantage."
The session is open to all women aged 12 and above, begins at 2pm on Saturday, March 20, and can be booked by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ideally, participants need a partner from their own household or support bubble on hand to help, click here to find out more.