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A series of classes offered by a local jiu-jitsu den wants people to practice safety and avoid conflict when confronted by an armed attacker. 

Bissett Jiu-Jitsu Den Winnipeg hosted the first of a series of self-defence events on Sunday, March 11, 2018.

"Facing the Blade" focused on what people should do when confronted by a knife-wielding attacker. 

Sensei Kevin Kummerfield is the Head of Bissett's Winnipeg den and says while most self-defence classes focus on what to do after a physical confrontation has begun, they want to focus on how to avoid physical contact all together. 

He says their jiu-jitsu training focuses on real-world situations more than preparing people for competition. 

"We look more at what is going to happen on the streets and unfortunately that includes armed attackers and knives," Kummerfield said. "Like any confrontation, it's much better to not be in one than to be in one and use a technique that you think is going to work." 

"We're teaching people to deescalate it and avoid it all together. If worse comes to worst you may have to engage in physical self-defence, but we want people to really try and not get to that level." 

Kummerfield says a common misconception about self-defence is that it's only about being able to physically protect yourself. But, he says no matter how experienced you are, events in the real world happen too fast for someone to apply a technique to avoid harm.

He says violent incidents can result in injury in an instant. 

"In a knife fight you're going to get stabbed and in a gun fight you're going to get shot," Kummerfield said. "Real knife wounds are dangerous, so to think you'll be able to get in there, take a few cuts and disarm your attacker? That couldn't be further from reality.

"There's not a lot of time to step in and perform a fancy block or put a wrist lock on. Real life is more chaotic than that." 

Kummerfield adds if you do get into a physical confrontation with an armed attacker and get injured, it makes survival that much harder. 

"If you do have to engage with someone, their weapon is the key psychological factor now and you have to get ahold of it but you will probably get cut during that," he said. "How hard do you think it is when you're bleeding to not put your hand over that wound and keep focusing on the attacker? If you think it's going to be a one, two, three technique and you're safe, that's just not reality." 

Kummerfield says a big part of avoiding situations like this is to be aware of your surroundings. When walking in any part of town, keep an eye on people around you and if you have music playing in your earbuds, make sure it's quiet enough for you to hear things around you. He also says just like texting and driving, texting and walking can impaire someone's awareness. 

"Facing the Blade" is part of Bissett Winnipeg's Resistance to Edged, Armed & Lethal Attacks (R.E.A.L.) series they will be hosting over the coming months. 

For more information on future events, visit Bissett's Facebook page, website or contact them at 204-802-5306.