Calgary·Video

Calgary jiu-jitsu instructor offers free, online self-defence class after series of attacks on women

Jiu-jitsu instructor Diana Trang has had enough of hearing about assaults on women in Calgary. She wants to help.

Diana Trang was troubled by reports of attacks on women in Calgary

Why this Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt is offering free self-defence classes to Calgarians

CBC News Calgary

3 months ago
2:37
After a series of gropings in the city, some of which happened in her community, Diana Trang is offering some free online classes to help women protect themselves. 2:37

Jiu-jitsu instructor Diana Trang has had enough of hearing about assaults on women in Calgary. She wants to help.

"We're worth defending … one part of self-defence is knowing that you're worth defending," said Trang, a black belt Brazilian jiu-jitsu instructor.

Trang recently offered a free, online seminar to share some basic self-defence moves with the women of Calgary. It was so successful, she's doing it again — the next seminar is Feb. 6 at 10 a.m.

Trang operates Satori Wellness Studio, and she recently showed the CBC's Monty Kruger a few of her moves.

  • WATCH | Diana Trang explains why she feels the need to offer free classes in the video above, or watch her demonstrate a few moves in the videos below

"I've always thought there was a need," Trang said. "Having 15 women and girls in the city get assaulted, one in my community that I live in, one in a past community that I lived in, and just throughout the city — yes, absolutely there's a need."

One of Trang's techniques involves getting away from an attacker who grabs you from behind.

With a few moves, she demonstrates how to break the grip, keep your arms free, and be able to turn and face the attacker.

How to get out of a hold when attacked from behind

CBC News Calgary

3 months ago
1:13
Diana Trang, a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, demonstrates just one of the many self-defence moves she is offering in a free class to Calgarians after a series of gropings in the city. 1:13

"When you start to shift your mindset on that it's not OK, and that you don't accept that, that's the very first step you take toward self-defence," she said.

From a tight front grip, Trang showed how to duck out of the hold, duck down and throw your attacker off balance.

How to get out from underneath an attacker

CBC News Calgary

3 months ago
0:41
What happens when an attacker knocks you down? Diana Trang shows you how to get out from their grasp. 0:41

"It's about knowing how to fall safely," she said. "It's about knowing how to stand in a way that's going to allow you to not get taken down. It's about being mindful about always looking at your surroundings or always having that subject, that attacker, in front of you."

How to stop an attack from the front

CBC News Calgary

3 months ago
1:02
Diana Trang shows us, with her black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, the way to stop an attack before it starts if the attacker comes straight at you. 1:02

Trang said she feels women need this instruction now, even as the pandemic keeps people away from in-person gatherings.

Classes free online

Trang's studio, in which she also offers yoga, meditation and shiatsu therapy, is now closed due to provincial COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.

"I don't want to wait until the time comes for us to open things up to run these kinds of things," she said of the self-defence training. "So what can we do? We can do it online, so people can get a taste of what self-defence is and also learn things that they can take away."

Trang said some key things she likes to teach are how to get out from under an attacker, how to stay balanced while throwing an attacker off balance, and how to position yourself to always face the attacker. She even shows how to place a choke-hold on a much larger attacker. 

Trang said a few basic self-defence moves may be enough to help you get away from an attacker, regardless of size.

"That is the most empowering thing I think anybody can do. Whether you're a woman or a man or a girl or a boy, is that it's absolutely possible for you to do these things as a smaller person … to somebody who's much larger than you. You use momentum, technique, body leverage, control, positional awareness, lots of different elements."

Stay aware

Trang said it's important for women to stay aware.

"When you're out walking late at night or wherever, don't be distracted looking at your phone, not being aware of what's around you, those kinds of things," she said. "Having somebody escort you and telling people where you're going, choosing optimal times of day to do these things.

"I'm not somebody that promotes violence, but I am somebody that advocates for protecting yourself and doing what you need to do so that you can be safe."

With files from Monty Kruger

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