Testimonial: Emily Stormyhr

Name: Emily

The best part of knowing how to fight, is that you don’t need to.

As an example, I was walking to the parking building to get my car after working an evening shift in Croydon. It was around half past 1 in the morning, and it’s about a 15 minute walk through backstreets with nooks and crannies and the odd nightclub. A man was walking in the opposite direction, on the other side of the street, then I noticed he changed direction and was crossing the road. It took a few seconds to realise that he was coming towards me!

He came up and asked if I wanted to share a taxi, which I politely declined, saying I’d be fine walking. The next question was whether I had any money to spare, to which I replied that I don’t carry cash for safety-reasons. He got progressively more and more insistent, and I was getting uncomfortable, so decided to start looking for a way out.

Looking around, I figured that turning my back would probably be a bad idea, being completely alone. So I took a step back, looked him up and down and decided that yeah, I could take him down if I absolutely had to. Continue Reading

Testimonial: Emily Cordle

Name: Emily
Age: 13

I am a netball player and train once a week. I wanted to improve my fitness further and learn some useful skills so I thought I’d like to try some sort of self defence class.

Looking on the internet my mum found Defence Lab in Worcester Park. Although I was only 12 at the time Tahir and my mum decided the best class for me would be the 13+ adult class (being quite tall for my age) and I went to my first class in June 2016 with a friend.

I was really nervous the first session and when we arrived the group was all men which normally I would have found quite intimidating but in fact it wasn’t. Everyone was really welcoming, and having done the warm up, which was quite difficult, and we had to get into groups and the other members were quite happy to come with us beginners and help us with what we should be doing.

At the end of the session I was thrilled as it was just the sort of thing I wanted and several of the members high fived us and said well done. Even if my friend wasn’t keen I definitely wanted to come back but she also loved the class and joined too. Two months ago I even did my first grading achieving my ‘White Band’.

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Testimonial: Raphaella D’Alessandro

Name: Raphaella
Age: 17

Since I was 15 (I am 17 now) I’ve been getting sexually harassed in the street by men of all ages, on their own or in groups, and it is really intimidating. I was followed home by a man after he harassed me and that’s when I spoke to my Dad about doing self-defence and he looked around and found Defence Lab.

In my first lesson I found that everyone was really friendly and Tahir made it very easy to talk to people by introducing me directly to them.  I really enjoy the actual self-defence as it was always put into context, showing us that these things will be useful if we are ever involved in a conflict.

Another aspect I really liked was that it’s a fun way to stay fit. I don’t enjoy gyms or running, but Defence Lab has made it something I look forward to; and I can actually do a press up now! My favourite thing, is that the moves we are shown can be used on anyone, by anyone. I’m 5ft 3in girl, so being able to fight a grown man is important as pretty much everyone is bigger than me… Continue Reading

Testimonial: Mike Jackson

 Hi my name is Mike.

After 3 years boot camp style training in a nearby park I was looking for something a little closer to home that had the same level of intensity but also provided the same sense of community I found in the park.

Being in my 40’s I was quite prepared to be the oldest at the class, but that certainly hasn’t been the case. My class has a really broad range of ages starting with teenagers and moving up to quite senior students. Everyone is really friendly, Tahir and the other teachers convey confidence and encouragement. I have also been really impressed with the more experienced students who are really supportive of the novices as well and adapt their style to whoever they are teamed up against. Continue Reading

Testimonial: Fatima Alarakha

Name: Fatima
Age: 17

I came to know about Defence Lab, when the highly passionate Instructor Tahir came and did a seminar at my school for an hour. I was instantly challenged from the start, having to defend myself from a group of 4 attackers using whatever knowledge I had of self-defence – which was very little.

My instinct told me to run, but the attackers surrounding me didn’t let me go that easily – so I ended up just waving my hands around my head in an effort to protect myself. After this drill, it became very apparent to me that if this were a real life situation, I would probably have come out the other end with multiple injuries. However, after this drill, Tahir informed us of this one very easy and powerful stance, called ‘Shape 1’. Practicing this stance meant that when I was attacked again, I didn’t feel the impact of the attackers punches nearly as much as I did the first time, because all 7 points of knockout were protected. With just this simple but effective stance – I could not only defend myself, but also attack using the new knowledge we’d all learnt in the session!

Once the hour had finished – I knew immediately that I wanted to learn more; knowing just ‘shape 1’ filled me with such confidence, it intrigued me to know how much more confident I would be if I joined Defence Lab. As soon as the hour ended, I went to the nearest computer and booked myself onto a free trial for the next day! I had so much fun at the seminar; I had to do it again – bringing my younger brother (aged 14) with me too so that he could have this important and enjoyable experience too! When I arrived at my taster session, I instantly felt very welcomed as I was introduced to the group followed by a round of applause ; this sense of community has only gotten stronger since joining the DL family – which my brother and I decided to do straight after the insightful taster. Continue Reading

Testimonial: Tony Palladino

Name: Tony
Age: 33

My journey with defence lab only started in November 2016 so I am only about 5 months in. Two weeks ago, I passed my first grading and received my white band.

I’m 33 years old. Married with two young daughters. The last 5 years have been a bit of a blur but an amazing emotional roller-coaster of a ride nevertheless.

I have always been sports mad. I played football at a decent level. Anything involving hand-eye coordination came naturally to me and there was nothing I loved more than a one on one challenge.

My martial arts journey started when I was 7 years old. My parents were keen on me being able to defend myself so they brought me along to a Karate class. I went along with a cousin of mine. He was dead keen, but not very good. I wasn’t interested but found it really easy.

By the time I was 15 I was a black belt.

I suffered a really bad hamstring injury playing football. It put me out of action for about 6 months. I never went back!

To date, it is still one of my biggest regrets. To get to the level that I did, it required hard work, dedication and focus and what annoyed me the most looking back was how easily I just tossed it all away.

I was attacked! Continue Reading

Testimonial: Ibrahem Shamlakh

Name: Ibrahem Shamlakh
Age: 15

My name is Ibrahem Shamlakh, I am 15 years old and I’m from Palestine but I was born in London.  Ever since I was young I would participate in some sort of Martial Arts this includes boxing and karate. It started turning into a regular hobby and I slowly became more interested to learn more defensive and fighting skills / techniques. After I lived here for 6 years my family decided to go to Palestine for 3 years and there I learnt karate. However I always used to think if this would really help me if it comes to the worst and I end up in a street fight.

3 years after we moved back to London I started researching very good and useful types of martial arts. I came across Muay Thai, Brazilian jiu jitsu and krav maga. I liked the idea of all of them but all of the locations were far from where I lived. As I kept on researching I also came across Defence Lab and I was very curious of what it was because I’d never heard of it before. So I decided to go to a taster session and get a brief idea of what it is about.

Honestly, I was amazed by how simple techniques could protect all the places of knockout around the face and neck and this was one of the reasons I decided to join. Another reason was to not only learn useful and new techniques but also to improve my fitness, as fitness is a very important factor in a person’s lifestyle. Continue Reading

The MOST EXPENSIVE private lesson of my life and it was WORTH every penny!

Training with Andy Norman - Founder of the Defencelab Training technique

Training with Andy Norman – Founder of Defence Lab

I’ve had the privilege of training with Defence Lab Founder, Andy Norman, for 2 years now as a Defence Lab Instructor and it’s always been mind blowing for me every time. But this time, I wanted to take my training to a WHOLE NEW level and since I was visiting Defence Lab HQ in Spain, I asked Andy for a private 1-2-1 lesson just to see what the difference would be.

Now let’s just put this all into perspective first. I’ve always found Andy to be genuinely humble and with no ego but let’s not forget who he truly is? And that is an absolute genius when it comes to real life street defence, and let’s not forget that he’s also a Hollywood Fight Consultant and has even trained the likes of Liam Neeson, Christian Bale and Tom Cruise. So when I was told that the usual price for a private lesson with Andy is £500 per hour (and sometimes even much more depending on the situation), I thought to myself it’s a bargain.

Now let’s not fool ourselves here either. £500 at the end of the day is still £500! And I also know the power of Defence Lab in how it can very easily impress people even with its very basic techniques because it’s just that good, and I see this all the time myself in my own classes, private lessons and seminars. But to make this even more demanding in terms of expectations, I am not a new student for Andy but one of his existing instructors having already trained with him in groups on many many occasions.

So was there really anything extraordinary he could show me which I would not already get from my usual on-going training with him? This was the real question for me which would justify this extra cost. Continue Reading

How Important is the Role of a Parent to a Child’s Self-Defence / Martial Arts training?

As a self-defence / martial arts Instructor, this topic crops up once in a while and so I thought it best to write about it so to pre-empt the question but also to give parents a little heads up which is only the right thing to do considering what an important part they will be playing in their child’s martial arts training.

As a parent, we always try our utmost to do what’s best for our child…….I know as I too am a parent. However, our actions as parents naturally depend upon our own knowledge of things and it is not right for me as a martial arts Instructor to assume that each and every parent will already know all the benefits that martial arts training brings, especially as most parents have never had martial arts training themselves.

For many parents, a martial arts class is simply another activity which their child is doing to pass time and have fun in and is not so different to other activities. Tell this to a martial arts Instructor, and they will most certainly cringe inside. This is not out of some superiority complex or some false sense of ego. This feeling comes from having ‘real’ personal experience of both training in martial arts themselves and also in teaching martial arts and seeing the many different changes it brings into a student’s life.

To give you my own personal experience as both a martial artist and a parent, I have told all of my children that martial arts training for them is not an option. For them it is a necessity, so much so that for them to even play one hour of Xbox, they must first do two hours of training. Why?: Continue Reading

Rant Time!

Ok guys….RANT TIME!

I’ve never really had a rant before but I think the time has now come where one is desperately needed!

I just saw a post on Facebook of a father posting a video of his daughter getting beaten badly by another girl with a group of bystanders watching, cheering and even recording on their mobile phones. The father then proceeds to ask the public what they think of the attacker?

Sadly and very frighteningly, these types of videos are becoming more and more common on social media and it’s not that I’m against the videos being uploaded because they can certainly be used to help identify and catch the culprit……no, what is really beginning to bother me are the comments you find on all of these videos. They are ALL THE SAME in every video i.e.:

‘If that was my daughter getting beaten I’d…..’

‘I’d go and smash the father of the bully…’

‘I’m so sorry for you…’

‘Why are those bystanders just watching, shame on them…’

And of course…..the various name calling against the attacker. Continue Reading