News – Manchester – The two Manchester mums on a mission to help women across the country defend themselves

It was just six years ago when two Manchester mums decided to take up self-protection classes.

Jessica Moreland, 48, had found herself in a situation where she said she felt ‘nervous’ and ‘helpless’ as a woman and wanted to protect herself.

Her friend had recently come out of a long-term and abusive relationship and Jess had been asked to babysit her children.

But threats from her friend’s ex-partner left her fearful of him and made her determined to learn how to fend for herself.

And close friend Clare Bennett, a single mum of two, also wanted to learn self-protection techniques.

Jessica added it is ‘more important than ever’ to learn self-defence, in light of the death of Sara Everard and the recent reports of nightclub spikings across the country.

Now, Jessica and training partner Clare are hoping to teach women across the county how to protect themselves.

They are two of just ten women in the world to become Krav Maga instructors within the Global Kapap International Federation.

They currently teach weekly classes in the the self-defence fighting system, which was first developed by Israeli special forces, in Mossley and Denton to people of all ages.

They have more recently been approached by a national rail company to host self-protection training sessions for staff and hope to extend this to all public transport.

And a Manchester-based women’s refuge has also asked them for help in supporting victims of domestic violence and abuse.

They have also written to Mayor Andy Burnham calling on more to be done to protect women in the city.

Speaking to the Manchester Evening News , Jessica said: “My friend had come out of an abusive and coercive relationship and her ex was threatening her.

“He hated me because he didn’t like that I had dusted her off and helped support her.

“When I was babysitting her children one night, there was a concern that he was going to come up to the house and I realised I had no power to keep them safe but to lock the doors.

“It made me furious and I made sure that I knew exactly what to do with my strength going forward.

“I had been to the gym and saw posters advertising Krav Maga self-protection classes. I went to a session and was made to put the mitts on and get straight involved.

“That was six years ago and I trained and trained alongside Clare. We instantly bonded and grew on this journey together.

“We opened our school of self-protection in July and have been teaching people the skills ever since.”

Jessica and Clare are on a mission to encourage both men and women across the county to learn vital skills in self-protection.

Currently, people as old as 70 attend their weekly sessions, as do women escaping domestic violence and people with disabilities.

They teach over 30 students every week but they are hoping to spread more awareness about self-protection techniques which ‘should be available to everyone’.

Jess, who works as a therapist and has two teenage sons herself, added: “We don’t teach people they can get the best of anyone, as that would be irresponsible.

“Pound for pound, muscle for muscle, some people are just stronger than others.

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