Hello and welcome, I’m Annabel. I am a self defence and personal safety instructor and would love to share with you my journey of how I came to start Actively Safe.
As a teenager I was always interested in martial arts but didn’t know anyone that did a martial art or the differences between the many systems and practices (there are over 170 different martial arts!) When I got to university I was determined to try something out. During Freshers Week I signed up for the first martial art that I came across, kickboxing. I had never sweated so much in my life and I loved it! I loved how good it made me feel, the confidence it gave me, and the encouragement and support from the others that I was training with. I quickly increased the number of times I was training a week.
During these kickboxing classes my instructor would spend the last 15 minutes of each class going over some ‘practical self defence moves’. This was the start of my understanding between the differences between a ‘sport martial art’ and the skills required for the everyday person to keep themselves safe as they go about their day to day life.
Kickboxing remained an important part of my life for many years. In more recent years I have been training regularly in an Indonesian silat, an all encompassing ancient art. Through practising this art I have built upon my skillset, training in broader disciplines including ground work, multiple opponents, weapons and internal training.
It wasn’t until I became a mum in 2013, that I really started considering stepping away from my 13 years of working in a corporate tax role and making personal safety and self defence my main business. I was suddenly aware that this little person who had become the centre of my world would one day be stepping out on their own and needing independence in a more and more complex world. I had also become increasingly aware through joining various parent groups (both online and in person) of the number young people and adults who experience threats to their personal safety. I was regularly hearing of concerns about the impact of bullying and social media pressure, about domestic abuse and senseless alcohol fuelled street fights. When you hear about these occurrences in your local community it instantly feels so much more real.
These days I get to work with a whole range of people, from children, to teenagers to adults, addressing issues that they consider important to their personal safety. Whether it be safety concerns about having to travel for work or working alone, walking the dog, or the risks that come with peer pressure. I love working with people and seeing their self confidence really grow.
For me, personal safety skills are essential life skills that everyone should have. Hopefully you will never need them, but they are there in case you do. I strongly believe that life is for living to the full, for seeking adventure and grabbing opportunities. I do not believe in constantly being on edge and worrying about what may/may not happen. It is about believing that you are worth keeping safe, and being prepared not paranoid.