“Refusing to be a victim is the sensible choice for all women in South Africa today.” These are the words of self-defence advocate Karen Koen.

“We can’t expect our men to protect themselves and us in a potentially dangerous situation. After a horror crash left my husband man-alone on a deserted road when I was transported to hospital, I decided there and then to take up gun-handling training lessons.”

Karen said choosing Geoffrey Coetzee and his team at Marksman’s Nest for the self-defence gun training was one of the best decisions she’d ever made. “There’s no masquerading here. Just incredibly good training and imparting years of knowledge to trainees. Professionalism is tops and importantly, the environment is 100% safe.

The psychology of self-defence training

Psychology researchers have found that self-defence training can increase confidence in women. It also improves mental health and decreases feelings of vulnerability.

What distinguishes self-defence classes at Marksman’s Nest is the focus on boundary-setting, assertiveness and dealing with everyday situations. It’s not just about the best way to shoot at close range, but also things that happen in everyday life. These range from street harassment to an overly boundary-crossing co-worker.

When refusing to be a victim, it’s also important to have the ability to “own your space.” Many people’s go-to response to harassment is to ignore rather than confront it. Boundary-setting is an important piece of feminine self-defence because it can help women avoid situations in which assault could occur.

Personal growth

“I’ve just grown and grown as a person since starting my training in safe gun handling. This has given me the confidence carry a concealed weapon, knowing that I’ll be able to use it in life-threatening situations,” Karen said.

“Apart from all the basics, such as gun maintenance, handling and anti-hijacking skills, every time I visit the range, I learn something new. So far, I’ve completed my first certification and will be doing all the remaining modules.

“And the most remarkable thing is how Geoffrey ingrains the power of muscle memory in each of us.

“I simply can’t rave enough about these life-altering courses – for women and men alike. Refusing to be a victim has certainly become the mantra for many a trainee.”

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