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Sachs Harbour women learn self defence
RCMP officers combines Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and defence moves

Kassina Ryder
Northern News Services
Monday, August 7, 2017

Women in Sachs Harbour learned self defence techniques on July 25 as part of an RCMP initiative about domestic violence.

Cpl. Jon Cormier and detachment commander Const. Mike Brown delivered the workshop, which included teaching participants how to defend themselves from a physical attack.

"Mike brought up a good idea that an education component for this would be to proactively teach self defence courses to women," Cormier said. "It was actually very well received."

Cormier has a background in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and said the techniques are perfectly suited to self defence.

"Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is mostly about using leverage against bigger opponents, it's usually techniques for a smaller opponent to subdue a bigger opponent," he said.

"It really translates well to women's self defence. It's being able to subdue somebody else and get away to safety."

Sachs Harbour resident Agnes Amos participated in the workshop. She said she learned a lot about how to escape from a violent attack.

"There was lots of stuff that we learned that I didn't know," she said. "There was a lot of techniques for if somebody bigger than you has you in like a choke hold, you can get out of it easily."

The youngest of the workshop's five participants was 13 and the oldest was 38.

The officers also dedicated a portion of the session to talking to participants about staying safe in larger communities. Students leave Sachs Harbour to complete high school in Inuvik, so Brown said the officers wanted to educate youth about ways to mitigate potential dangers.

"We wanted to go over some scenario-based training and some personal safety options and discuss stories with the participants," Brown said. "If they start at a job, they can ask somebody to walk them out to their vehicle. They can call the police if they need anybody."

Building on the idea of safety and preparedness, Brown said he and Cormier plan to visit Inualthuyak School on a monthly basis throughout the upcoming school year.

The visits will allow the officers to share information about street drugs and other issues youth could face, while providing youth with an opportunity to ask questions and share stories.

"We can kind of come up with a monthly topic we can go over and discuss," Brown said.

Visiting the school regularly will also help officers build relationships within Sachs Habour, he added.

"We're not just there when we get called," he said. "We want to just be open and out in the public and let the students and community members know we're always there."

Though there isn't a date set for a follow up to the self defence workshop, Cormier said he hopes to facilitate another session in the future.

Amos said she believes learning self defence techniques can be empowering.

"In case you're in a bad situation where you can't help yourself, there's still something you can do," she said.

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