Here is our latest interview with Urban Escrima student, Hamida, enjoy!
Please introduce yourself, who are you and what do you do?
My name is Hamida and I work as an advocate for women who have survived sexual assault. The perpetrators range from men in the family to dangerous gang members.
What self defence / martial arts experience have you had previously and do you currently train in any other martial art/self-defence?
Previously i have trained in Freestyle Kungfu, Shotokan Karate and Wing Tsun. Currently – I’m only studying Escrima.
How long have you been training in Escrima Concepts and what grade are you?
I just recently passed Grade one – I’ve been training for a couple of months.
Why did you choose to train in Escrima Concepts and how does Escrima differ to what you have done before?
Whilst living in San Francisco – i came across some Filipino friends who told me about Escrima; i love the self defense element. Especially as a woman and the society we live in. Escrima is different to previous martial arts I have trained in, in that we use sticks and knives. And that some training is done in dark, in nightclubs, in small spaces, to give you a realisitic understanding of attack.
What is the one thing you most enjoy about training at Urban Escrima?
I like my teachers and i like my class mates. Is that two things?……..
You recently attended the Urban Escrima Women’s Self Defence Workshop, how was that? What did you find useful? What did you take away from the day?
Its always useful to see how one reacts to surprise; and surprise with the main focus being on attack! How do you react to violence or the threat of violence? In the workshop – we repeated certain skills, that i will never forget. We trained in self defense against those physically stronger than us and learnt to use their strength against them and other options like how to disarm and run. It was useful to see how i would react to being chased with a knife. I also took away a great little certificate which was a lovely gift and a group photo. I also feel more confident about defending myself against an attacker, or more than one. I really enjoy training in a woman only space sometimes; its a unique feeling.
As a woman, how do you think that Escrima Concepts benefits you? And why do you feel it’s important to learn realistic self-defence?
It feels like Escrima was made for women!
I’ve already learnt how to defend myself against a man or a stronger woman. I’ve also learnt about vulnerable parts of the body – which is not attached to a certain sex, but just anybody with flesh or muscle. Escrima Concepts feels natural for me to study – it feels right.
Realistic self defense could be the difference between me living and feeling confident – or becoming another survivor of violence. I feel like i have more control over how i live my life and where i choose to go.
You also recently attended the Knife Awareness seminar with GM Steve Tappin, how did you find that? What did you learn / enjoy from the day?
I learnt that Steve is a great martial artist. I also learnt that i can become proficient in knife handling and use my skills to defend myself against all the odds. If i train hard, i have a good chance at defending myself – in any context. that’s really empowering.
What advice would you give to someone thinking of coming to train with us for the first time?
Relax in the knowledge that this class is warm and friendly. No-one will judge you; just try your best and I’m sure you will wanna return.