safety concerns | 

Martial arts trainer ‘overwhelmed’ with demand for self defence classes since Natalie McNally murder

The murder of Natalie McNally shocked the whole country but has left women in Lurgan feeling anxious and scared to got out according to Martin.

Natalie McNally© PA

Martin with a class

Steven MooreSunday World

A martial arts expert from Lurgan says he’s been “overwhelmed” by the interest shown in free self-defence classes for women in the wake of the Natalie McNally murder.

Martin O’Neill held his first class last Thursday night at the Kyoujin BJJ Gym in Lurgan, Co Armagh which is being gripped by fear following a second murder in the space of four weeks.

The murder of Natalie McNally shocked the whole country but has left women in Lurgan feeling anxious and scared to got out according to Martin.

So he offered his expertise as a trained martial arts master to help give women the confidence to go out again.

And on Thursday night around 50 women turned up to learn a few basic tricks of the trade which could help save their life.

“After the terrible murder of Natalie women were telling me they were feeling anxious and had lost some confidence, which is a terrible state to be in,” he said.

“It’s such a delicate time and everyone is thinking of Natalie’s family but I decided I’d do my best to try and do something to give anybody who was worried a bit more confidence and reassurance.

Martin with a class

“I offered a free class in basic self-defence and it didn’t take long for 50 people to sign up and I had to cut it off at that.”

Social media has been awash with women sharing their concerns about safety, not least because not only has nobody been charged with the murder of Natalie but also the brutal nature of her murder.

What made it even more shocking was it happened while she should have felt safe, in her own home.

Martin is grateful to the Kyoujin BJJ Gym in Church Walk for letting him use the space for the class for free.

And following the interest shown he is offering a second class this coming Thursday at 7pm in the same gym.

“The stuff I’m teaching them is very simple and straightforward,” says Martin.

“It’s not martial arts, it’s just a few simple techniques which might help outsmart an attacker. But it’s not an exact science. There’s no 100% method that will work in every situation.

“However, hopefully it will teach them some skills and also give them some confidence to go out on the streets and maybe teach them about fear and how to cope with it.

“Self-defence is about keeping distance and awareness of your surroundings and not walking around looking into your phone. It’s about being aware of where you are going and what you are doing. Body langua

“The thing to remember is hopefully they will never have to use it but it’s more about making them feel more confident when they do go out.”

Check Martin out on social media for more details about his full range of self-defence classes.

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