The sound of punches and kicks landing on pads echoed through the room while about two dozen Winnipeg women came together for a free self-defence class Sunday, learning how to fight back — and empower themselves.
The session was organized by the Shameless Circle, a volunteer organization meant to help women seeking belonging.
The instructor, taekwondo black belt Linda Postma, took several self-defence classes at her martial arts club. When Shameless Circle co-founder Sara Usman attended one too, she asked Postma if she could come teach the free classes.
Postma jumped at the opportunity.
“You’ll notice, when we start, the women are all, ‘Oh, well, I’m coming here because I want to learn self defence,'” Postma said. “But when they leave, they walk with their shoulders back like they could take on the world. I feel it just really empowers them.”
“It felt that it was important to us to hold free events like self-defence for women to give them that self-empowerment feeling, knowing that if, God forbid, a situation arises, they’re able to defend themselves,” Usman said.
Keziah Toews works at the Shameless Circle as programs manager, but took Sunday’s class as a participant.
“I find it really useful, it’s really useful to have self defence skills,” Toews said. “It’s just really great to connect with people around the community and get to know each other.
“It helps build confidence and when we have more confidence, it’s easier to go out and do things for ourselves.”