Canada

Whitby assault sparks self-defence program at a martial arts academy in Oshawa

Mamute Martial Arts Academy in Oshawa has created a program geared specifically for women. It originated after demand grew following a recent assault in the region.

Denise Laframboise is now training two times a week. The mother of three is doing so in order to learn how to defend herself.

“Pre-COVID I was going into people’s homes, maybe people I’ve talked to on the phone but people I don’t know. Anything could happen, you’re in a situation where you’re vulnerable,” said Laframboise, who is learning self-defence.

Read more: Arrest made in random assault of Whitby woman while on a walk

The self-defence program is something the mortgage broker helped create after a 50-year-old woman was assaulted in her neighborhood and left for dead while out for a walk in the summer.

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“I worry about my kids and bullies and stuff, [but] until that attack I really never thought about myself,” said Laframboise.

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“Self-defence isn’t something you do for one day and boom you have it,” said Igor Mamute, Mamute Martial Arts Academy owner and head instructor.

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Mamute wanted to establish a women’s self-defence class before the pandemic but was forced to close for three months. It wasn’t until Laframboise approached him that the class came to fruition.

“It’s one of those things you do continuously because you need to build muscle memory. The moment you build muscle memory now you’re walking with all the confidence in the world and you feel good about it and whatever happens outside you know that you will take care of yourself,” said Mamute.

Mamute has been involved in martial arts for 20 years. He says he doesn’t take it easy on his students because potential attackers won’t.

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“Working out at a gym and lifting weights will get you a good physicality and you’ll be in good shape but you’re not learning the techniques or the knowledge or the confidence to be able to put it out in case something like this does happen,” said Mamute.

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The program started at the beginning of September with two women and has doubled in the last month.

“As women, as moms, we need to know how to protect ourselves,” said participant Nicolee Evans.

Evans wants to be able to know she can defend herself in her own neighborhood, particularly while walking her dog at night.

“I needed to do something that made me more self-confident that I would be able to react in a certain situation like that because I don’t think I have those skills right now,” said Evans.

While it’s only been a few classes, Laframboise says she’s not only seeing — but feeling — the results.

“It’s really empowering to know that you have an idea of what you can do to get out of a situation you don’t want to be in,” said Laframboise.

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