Cassie Day, a Toronto fitness instructor, shows how important it is for women to learn how to protect themselves.
A high kick makes contact with a sparring partner. It’s an emphatic statement about what women have to do sometimes to protect themselves, she teaches.
“Kickboxing improves street awareness,” Day said as Humber College hosted a large self-defence class late last month in downtown Toronto.
About 200 women of all ages came to the FightForHer event held at the Mattamy Athletic Centre at Maple Leaf Gardens and all were eager to fight for themselves and for each other.
“I am very passionate about the movement, nutrition and empowering women,” Day said.
Charlotte Millar, a volunteer for FightForHer, feels that it’s important for girls to learn how to reduce risk of physical altercations and how to take certain precautions.
“It’s important for women and girls to understand the position they sit in society today,” she said. “There’s a certain reality that women and girls face that men don’t, including heightened risks of sexual and physical attacks.”
This is why the Event Management program at Humber Lakeshore focused on building this event.
Brenna Spademan, an Event Management student, wanted to take part in creating an event that gave women a sense of empowerment.
“Many women do not feel comfortable walking down the street at night,” she said. “While there’s more to it than just women knowing how to defend themselves, having the skills and strength to do so will also help build confidence.”
Millar believes that kickboxing classes are a fun, energetic way to equip women with techniques and strength.
“It shifts attention away from fearfulness and towards empowerment,” Millar said.
Day and Miller agree that kickboxing is an effective self defense tool that also makes many of these women feel sexy, strong and safe.
Millar said women who don’t feel comfortable or know where to start to learn to defend themselves should research what self-defence program works for them.
“I want to educate as many women as I can on how to feel their best,” Day said.
FightForHer worked directly with local charity Sistering, which provides support to homeless and marginalized women. As well, the organization works with the Humber Scholarship Fund to help ease school tuition costs.