First Published: January 2005
       This is an OutUK Archive Item and so some of the links and information may be out of date.
One of the most tragic events of the past year was the killing of Admiral Duncan barman David Morley, who was attacked on London's South Bank at Waterloo. Now gay men and women are being offered free self-defence classes, with the first on Sunday 15th January.
They're being run by Kelly Bunyan (right) and her partner Dalia Terret from the KB Fitness Academy who are both experienced black belt instructors.

Each two hour session will offer many practical techniques that may work in any number of different situations, whether it be an unwanted grope on the tube or something more serious. The class will be interactive, giving participants the opportunity not only to try out these techniques and gain confidence in using them. OutUK's Mike Gray asked one of the school's assistant instructors Dawn Thorpe more about what the session will offer.

Dawn: The most important thing we can teach people in one session is to not be in a situation in the first place, having said that we understand that some things are unavoidable. The next best thing is to get away from the situation as quickly as they can. We wouldn't want anyone leaving the session thinking they are invincible or that they can now out do any attacker; Street fighters and muggers do not play by the same rules as the rest of us but what we do know is that most attackers do not want a huge battle, most victims freeze, not knowing what to do. So, an aggressor, when faced with someone who has got a few practical techniques may be taken by surprise. That split second of surprise may be enough to get away. I have been kickboxing 4 years and I am under no illusion about what can happen in the street - I would still run, rather than fight.

OutUK: But if you're faced with a mugger with a knife, can you really do much to defend yourself?
Dawn: Firstly, we can teach a couple of techniques to reduce injury if the worst were to happen and again we can things to try.

It's true that to have a really deep understanding of knife defence, you would need to look deeper into training, but you must remember that rather like first aid if there is no other option - it's better to do something than nothing - but I can't stress enough the main philosophy of all good self defence is that physical contact is an absolute last resort.
The KB Fitness Academy demonstration at Pride.
OutUK: How important is physical strength in defending yourself?
Dawn: The techniques that we teach will show that it is not the physical strength of a person that is the most important ingredient. It is the use of body dynamics and kinetics. We teach how to use the body weight of the other person to your own benefits sometimes going against what is instinctive.

OutUK: It was the attack on David Morley which prompted you to offer these sessions...
Dawn: We, like other members of the lesbian and gay community were sickened by that death and the other reported attacks on gay men in London. Many of us either have ourselves been the victim of or know someone who has suffered at the hands of some bully somewhere along the way. I was attacked 4 years ago - after being called a Batty Boy (yes!!! I am a woman - it's those blinking combat trousers!!) I turned to ask a group of young people what their problem was, I was head butted in the face and spent the night in A&E getting my lip stitched back together: I signed up for kickboxing soon after. We have a number of students who join us after homophobic attacks, sadly it's an all too familiar story.

The first of these classes will take place on January 15th at The Black Cap, 171 Camden High Street, London, NW1 7JY between 2 and 4pm, There'll be further sessions in February and March. For more info or to book a place call Dawn on 0208 527 3095 to book a place or email


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