The Z1 Brazilian Jiu-jitsu Academy Namibia, known as the Z1 Academy hosted its self-defence classes to equip Namibian women to defend themselves against potential rapists, especially with the current wave of violence against women and children.
Led by Tertia Klazen and Nilson Coelho, the programme’s whole concept was created five years ago and put into action since last year for all the women out there.
Coelho mentioned the first session was last year in April where a group of women signed up not knowing what to expect or what was the whole programme about but after two months, their mindset changed to a whole new level. The action, reaction changed their percerption of a potential aggressor or rapist. They knew exactly what to focus on.
“As a brother of two young sisters and knowing that I can’t be there to protect them all the time, I decided to teach them so they could stand for themselves from bullies or potential aggressors. They were small and used to tell me “they are all bigger than us” but Jiu-Jitsu gave them the tools to do what was necessary for them to defend themselves,” shared Coelho.
He said the goal of the classes is to empower women with enough knowledge and confidence to stand by themselves and if it is a case of physical aggression, they will immediately know what to do.
“The classes are a continuous programme specified for women’s self-defence, as they need to attend the classes as much as possible to ensure that they develop the muscle memory to use the techniques they have learned,” detailed Coelho.
He said self-defence is not beating someone to the ground until they can’t move. “Self-defence is avoiding conflicts, arguments, knowing when and how to address an aggressor/rapist, it is evaluating a situation before you act. It doesn’t need to get physical. Be smart, fight smart,” he cautioned.
A participant Mildred Joaquim said due to the increasing cases of GBV, she wanted to acquire a few skills to be able to defend herself should the need arise and not live in constant fear and that is the reason she decided to be part of the programme.
“Acquiring new skills, discipline, mental and physical strength and forming new friendships for a support system are some important reasons I wanted to be part of this. So far, I have learned to be aware of my surroundings, ground control and how to escape from being chocked,” expressed Joaquim.
She admitted that she wanted to quit her first class because she is too soft. “I’m excited and look forward to class every week because of the coach’s passion for what he does that’s why I’m signing up for kickboxing as well. He is such an amazing instructor, even with a big group, he makes sure that you get the technique right and learn it from a realistic point.
Another participant Elke Keil said constantly reading about violent crimes committed against women is what pushed her to be part of the programme.
“One reads in all newspapers that women are attacked every day and I want to be on the safe side when attacked and how I should react. You learn a good deal of self-confidence, especially young girls and teens should be on guard. It can happen to anybody so you need to know how to react and defend yourself. Nilsen has a lot of patience to show you how to defend yourself. He is simply the best,” said Keil.
The Academy was created on 18 May 2018 and the main martial art is Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, also known as BJJ or “The gentle art”. The art is based on ground control used to pin down opponents despite their size or strength and also using joint locks and chokes.