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Hundreds respond to offer of free self defence classes for women

PUBLISHED: 17:22 17 September 2019 | UPDATED: 17:35 17 September 2019

Hazem Attia is running two free self defence classes for women in Ipswich  Picture: HAZEM ATTIA

Hazem Attia is running two free self defence classes for women in Ipswich Picture: HAZEM ATTIA

Hazem Attia

A personal trainer and international karate coach has been "overwhelmed" by interest in his offer of free self defence classes for women in Ipswich.

Hazem Attia already runs Fighting Fit personal training sessions and group classes  Picture: HAZEM ATTIAHazem Attia already runs Fighting Fit personal training sessions and group classes Picture: HAZEM ATTIA

Sixth-degree black belt Hazem Attia decided to offer basic self defence tuition, free of charge, following recent reports of an attack in the town.

The 44-year-old, who has competed and coached for the Egyptian karate team, works as a Fighting Fit personal trainer at DW Fitness, in Ranelagh Road.

Mr Attia said: "As a father, a brother and an uncle, and someone who works with the public, I wanted to take action.

"If I can teach one person to be confident and aware of how to deal with any situation, I'll feel I've given something back.

Hazem Attia is running two free self defence classes for women in Ipswich  Picture: HAZEM ATTIAHazem Attia is running two free self defence classes for women in Ipswich Picture: HAZEM ATTIA

"This is all about being able to assess a situation and deal with danger. It's not just physical."

Mr Attia, whose expertise covers a range of martial arts, including karate, aikido and jiu jitsu, said he wanted to coach empowerment, and agreed the onus for stopping violence should be on the attacker, not the potential victim.

"I've been involved in sport throughout my life and learned a lot about self defence," he said.

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"It's not easy to stay calm in all situations.

"I'd like to give one-to-one tuition and hold regular classes on the many different methods of self defence. Of course, those include running away if you need to, but sometimes it's not possible, and the key is not to panic.

"Everyone has weak points, which don't take much to use in your favour and give you the opportunity to run. Use of force should always be the last resort."

Mr Attia offered to hold a free self defence class following news of an alleged rape in Christchurch Park on Sunday.

A 35-year-old man has since been arrested and released under investigation.

The response to Mr Attia's offer was great enough to warrant the offer of another the next night.

"I was shocked by how many people were interested," he said.

"I've heard from about 200 people. It's been overwhelming.

"It would be my pleasure to run a session each week, and have give people confidence and security."

Mr Attia, who also runs a boxercise class at Riverhills Health Club, in Bramford, and is launching a karate academy in Ipswich, will be running a second class from 8pm on Friday at DW Fitness. To find out more, search for @fightingfit20 on Facebook.

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