A NEW style of self defence is sweeping the country.
Pure Krav Maga uses techniques from martial arts such as Wing Chun, Judo, Jujitsu and Aikido as well as fight training and sports such as boxing, wrestling and grappling.
And instructor Darren Ansell, 39, said the new self defence technique is attracting more than just women who want to protect themselves from attackers.
He explained: “At Vault Defence our aim is to train, teach and give confidence to any student who comes through the doors.
“Our students not only learn a whole new set of life saving skills but get fitter and lose weight in the process.
“Pure Krav Maga, which was originally developed in Israel, has been described as the most realistic self defence system in the world today.
“As a result of that it means it’s suitable for everyone. The clubs across Northern Ireland have students who are male and female and I’ve seen ages range from 18 to 72.”
Krav Maga rose to fame when it was featured in films such as The Bourne Trilogy and Taken in recent years.
But Darren, from Banbridge, puts Krav Maga’s growing popularity down to the martial art’s suitability for a wide range of communities who require self defence skills.
He said: “We are very proud that our classes are suitable for people of all abilities and we can tailor them to suit.
“Self defence is no longer about teaching women how to protect themselves against potential attackers. It’s about everyone learning a skill that could keep them safe and maybe save their lives.
“We are very proud to be teaching the system to members of the LGBT community and well as members of the disabled community from those who are blind to those in wheelchairs.”
Having had an interest in karate and kickboxing in the past Darren says he believes Krav Maga is a technique that offers “realistic training against all common assaults designed for the street these also included defending against attacks with weapons such as knives, guns, bottles and bats”
He added: “With street crime becoming a more common news story when I heard about Krav Maga classes they sounded perfect for me. Protecting myself, family and friends was of utmost importance.
“With the unfortunate situation that we all face today with knife crime, muggings, rape, domestic violence, robberies, car hijackings and rise in common assaults out on the street the skills learnt at a Pure Krav Maga class will help people deal with any of those situations.”
Darren admits that there have been times in his life where he wished he had have known the skills he’s learnt in the last four years.
He said: “There have been many occasions in the past where I wished I had of know a form of self defence. I have been in violent situations where others with too much to drink have been out looking fights and I’ve been in those situations with multiple attackers.
“Many people who come to our classes have been a victim of crime in the past and want to learn something that will defend them and their loved ones should those situations ever arise again. Others come because it gives them confidence that perhaps they didn’t have before.
“And then there are others who use it as a great way of keeping fit and losing weight while learning a complete new set of skills.
“We are always delighted to hear of stories of how the training has helped students in various different situations.
“Some students have reported back to us about how they have had to use their training. One girl had to use it to defend her boyfriend while others have been faced with drunken thugs while making their way home from a night out.
“The aim of our training is the safety and well being of our students and if anyone can walk away from a situation then that is always the first option. Using any skills gained is always the last resort.”
Darren himself has only been practising Pure Krav Maga for around 4/5 years and last year after gaining his black belt he became an instructor.
Now, although continually learning new skills himself, he regularly teaches his skills to new people.
And he is also putting together a women only self defence proframme as well as security service and groups training.
As part of the Vault Defence group with clubs in Banbridge, Holywood, Belfast, Larne, Lisburn, Newtownards, Newtownabbey and the North West Darren believes Pure Krav Maga will continue to gain momentum throughout the country.
To take part in Darren’s classes in Banbridge and other areas contact him on 07834719079 or through www.nikravmaga.com