New East Digital Archive

Polish army launches free nationwide self-defence classes for women

11 November 2016

The Polish Ministry of National Defence is launching free self-defence classes for women across the country.

Running at 30 military facilities throughout Poland, the classes will take place from 19 November until 3 June next year and will be taught by instructors from the Polish army.

Participants can expect to learn how to guard against kicks, strangulation and assaults involving a weapon, as well as defensive postures and how to break holds.

Open to any Polish woman aged 18 or over and in good health, the classes are the first such nationwide initiative to be offered by the Polish military.

According to Defence Minister Antoni Macierewicz, the objective is to teach women “basic fighting techniques and, above all, improve overall physical fitness”. “We invite the ladies, there are still places — there are no age limits,” he stated. Mr Macierewicz is also working to establish a 35,000-strong paramilitary Territorial Defence Force, which he describes as a way to promote patriotism.

Praise for the self-defence project has not been unanimous, however.

Former special forces commander, Roman Polko, believes that it is not the role of the army to equip civilians for unarmed combat. Although it might be a useful way to seek out potential recruits for the armed forces, learning aikido or jujitsu moves “won’t win a war,” he told Polish news site Dziennik Polski. Kraków-based journalist Marcin Ogdowski argues that the classes “have a propaganda dimension”, adding that women’s self-defence classes should really be run by the police, rather than the military.

Source: BBC News