Grunts, panting, wheezing were some of the sounds that emanated from the vast training room at the Korean Cultural Centre, Abuja as over 70 adults took lessons in Taekwondo, a defensive martial art.
There were about seven smartly knitted ‘masters’ of taekwondo, who took the adults, a few of them over forty, on basic defence moves to escape physical attacks and also to defend loved ones under attack.
Taekwondo, Tae Kwon Do or Taekwon-Do is a Korean martial art, characterised by its emphasis on head-height kicks, jumping and spinning kicks, and fast kicking techniques.
The organisers said the aim of the event was to introduce the defensive arts to Abuja residents in the midst of attacks on them by pick-pockets, armed robbers and kidnappers in the capital city.
In recent weeks, there have been cases of robberies and ‘one-chance’ crimes in Abuja that have led to injuries and even deaths.
A young reporter with one of the electronic media houses was killed in a one chance robbery in Abuja some weeks ago.
At the Korean centre, the trainees, comprising of professionals from diverse fields, were shown basic moves in unarmed fighting and how to escape an attacker’s grip and save one’s lives when confronted by unarmed bandits.
”Remember to play it safe. Self defence is more about doing everything possible to avoid fighting someone who threatens you,” said Abdul-Malik Mohammed, head coach, Korean Cultural Centre. ”Use your smartness, not your fist. If it happens you have to go physical, then be in control and be prepared to use these techniques effectively.”
The trainees were also taught tips on how to stay safe in a city gradually becoming dangerous.
Mr Mohammed said self-defence helps someone to remain safe in the midst of danger.
”Knowing self-defence skills helps us to build our confidence,” he said. ”It teaches us discipline and this discipline plays out in other areas of our lives.”
”It also helps us to learn about our environment. it teaches us how to relate with other people we meet in our daily activities,” he added.
Ugo Martins, one of those that attended the training, said he has enrolled two of his kids at the Taekwondo lessons organised for kids at the centre. He said he was pleasantly surprised when he got an invite to come for the training session, adding that the tips he learnt were useful
”At least I now know how I can defend myself a little bit. We all know how Abuja has become dangerous. The tips will surely become useful,” Mr Ugo, who was the reporter’s ‘sparring’ partner during the training, said excitedly.
”I hope I can remember the tips when it comes to the real life situation when I am confronted with danger. Nevertheless, the tips are useful,” enthuses another participant, Vivian, as she playfully attempts some of the moves again on her way out of the weaving exodus of residents, ”who had just learnt Taekwondo.”