Gym in Northampton offers free self-defence training for women and girls

Classmates pictured at the Sol Central gym taking part in evening self defence sessions.
Classmates pictured at the Sol Central gym taking part in evening self defence sessions.

Free self defence classes for women and girls over 12 are being held at a gym in Northampton twice a week.

The classes held at BST Martial Arts Academy in Sol Central are kickboxing-based but cover various self-defence techniques, including Brazilian Jujitsu, to boost confidence and awareness of surroundings.

The owners of the gym, Danny Batten and Greg Lunn, set the class up to care for the community and the welfare of women in the town centre following the death of India Chipchase.

The classes that are held twice a week are held on the first floor of Sol Central and participants need not book a place, just sign in at reception.

Instructor Claire Reilly has been teaching martial arts for 20 years and teaches the class of up to 30 women twice a week voluntarily.

She said: "The owner of the academy wanted to do something for the care of the community so he set up the free ladies classes because he thought it was something that was needed in Northampton.

"They will learn basic self-defence moves, kick boxing based. We do a lot of technique, defence, pad work and how to get out of strangle holds: the simple things where we would freeze over in a situation.

"It makes them more aware of their surroundings and improves their confidence and fitness."

The classes, held on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7pm, are free to all females over the age of 12.