Self-defence classes launched for Hampstead residents after violent crime spree
12:30 05 August 2014
A self-defence expert is hoping to toughen up her Hampstead neighbours after a wave of violent crime which has left sections of the community reeling.
Some have complained of feeling under siege in recent months following a string of school-run muggings and moped attacks – and Johannesburg-born Dalia Terret believes she can help.
The kick-boxing and self-defence coach, who lives near Finchley Road, says she has simply “had enough”, prompting her decision to lay on special classes for anyone in Hampstead.
She resolved to act after one of her close neighbours was attacked.
The woman was jumped on by two men in her driveway, who tried to steal her ring and left her with bad bruises and scratches.
Ms Terret, who used to train Met Police officers in personal safety, said: “People are scared and I would say the need is definitely there. I want people to gain a little bit of security and feel safer – I just decided ‘enough already!’
“People need to be able to protect themselves.”
The classes will involve crime prevention advice and techniques including weapon defence, grab releases, strangle releases and what to do when pinned to the ground or up against a wall.
Ms Terret was hoping to run the sessions at her home, but has switched to the more spacious hall at Maria Fidelis School, in North Gower Street, Somers Town, due to high demand.
The classes begin on Thursday, August 7, and will run every week from 7pm, with a discount rate of £10 for Hampstead residents, compared with her usual £15 fee.
“Unfortunately, people usually wait until they have been attacked before they think they could have done something beforehand,” she said.
“Self-defence is about being aware of your surroundings – sometimes people around here are not very aware.
“If an attacker tries to approach someone, they will be deterred when the person is more alert.
“Something in their behaviour stops them from doing it – it’s kind of an ‘aura’ of keeping their wits about them, which will stop them being attacked.”
Ms Terret’s skills stem from her South African upbringing. She was sent on her first marital arts course as a six-year-old, as her parents wanted her to be safe in a country of high crime.
She added: “I think everybody should learn self-defence in this day and age – I don’t know one city that doesn’t have crime.”
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