Regina residents are becoming more prepared to defend themselves against potential attacks with the help of police offer and Blauer Tactical Systems (BTS) SPEAR coach Tanner Maurice.
Maurice claims that being able to defend oneself is the single most important skill a person can have.
“In that moment, when you need those skills, nothing else matters,” said Maurice.
According to their website, the BTS SPEAR System “focuses on learning how the body and mind are already hard wired to deal with threats”. While some self-defence classes focus solely on the physical defense mechanisms, BTS SPEAR classes also address the psychological and emotional components of being attacked.
Maurice also admits that learning to defend oneself mentally and emotionally may not be as enticing as learning to do it physically, but that doesn’t make it any less important.
“If you’re using your emotional self-defense skills, you are making it so you don’t put yourself in a position to be physically attacked in the first place.”
While BTS SPEAR training is available internationally, it is especially important for Saskatchewan residents. Although a 2017 report from Statistics Canada shows a decrease in crime for the last year, Regina still places third on the list of Canadian cities with the most crime per capita. Saskatoon takes first place.
Amanda Stefiuk attended the latest BTS SPEAR workshop. She said the decision to take the class came from knowing the crime rates in the city.
“I live in a bad area of Regina,” Stefiuk said. “I just want to feel safer. Even if I’m out in public, I just want to feel like I have control of the situations I’m putting myself in.”
Another first-time self-defense class attendee was Alejandra Cabrera, who said the most useful part she learned was how to trust her instincts in certain situations.
“I am a small woman,” Cabrera said. “I work and live downtown. I walk everywhere. I have worked with the public in all of my jobs. I just want this extra precaution.”
“I think everyone should have some sort of self-defense training,” Cabrera continued. “It has taught me how attackers go after you emotionally first before attacking you physically. I know now how to trust my gut-instinct, and how my body is going to react in those situations.”
At the workshop, Maurice claimed that if everyone was to pay attention to their surroundings in public, the chances of an attack would go down significantly.
“The only people who truly pay attention are cops and bad guys,” said Maurice. “If I go to a public area, I can probably spot who is either an off-duty office or a bad guy. They are always paying attention to everything going on around them. Bad guys are always looking for the weakest link.”
Increasing one’s awareness, Maurice said, is one way to guarantee they will not be the weakest link.
“Imagine going into a store on a hot summer day, and seeing someone walk in with a giant coat on,” Maurice said. “Your instincts tell you that something is out of place. That man could have a gun in the coat, for example.”
While Maurice trains people in the psychological elements of being attacked, the course also teaches skills on how to defend oneself physically if a situation is to come to that. Students went through practical drills where they applied moves Maurice taught them that could potentially save their lives.
Maurice said that he hosts about four training workshops a year. Although the next one is not yet scheduled, he said it will likely be in April. The cost of a one-day workshop is $169.00 per person.