Coach Jackie Paquette demonstrates a strike. Photo credit: Andrea Kennedy

When Jackie Paquette was at a bus stop when she was 16 years old, someone came up behind her and tapped her on the shoulder. She wasn’t ready for it.

“My first instinct was to elbow him in the face because I didn’t want to be a victim,” she said.

Although Paquette’s would-be assailant turned out to only be interested in the bus schedule, this incident left a lasting impression. With encouragement from her mother, Paquette decided it was important for her to learn practical techniques to defend herself, techniques that she now shares with others.

Today, as a coach with Silver 7 Martial Arts, with locations in Barrhaven and Kanata, Paquette teaches people that knowing a few basic self-defense moves is valuable for women and men alike.

Students and staff participated in Street Smart: A Virtual Self-Defense Class, hosted by the AC Hub on Sept. 29, and led by Paquette. She emphasizes that paying attention to your surroundings and being aware are two of the most important tools in self-defense.

“The point of this class is to teach you how to avoid danger by being vigilant and aware, and how to act to remove yourself if you end up in a bad situation. I want you to get away, not teach you how to end a fight.”

Intended as an interactive class, attendees were invited to turn on their cameras and to create space to practice some of the moves that Paquette demonstrated. Punches, open-hand strikes, and knee strike techniques were broken down step-by-step for the attendees to learn and to practice at home.

According to Samantha Therrien, an events programmer at the AC Hub, hosting virtual events has been challenging because “there can sometimes be a disconnect between attendees and hosts.” Response was very positive to this session, however, with many participants showing off their skills on-camera and asking questions in the chat.

“Jackie was definitely able to connect with the attendees and break down the ‘virtual’ barrier,” explained Therrien. “She was very engaging and fun to watch.”

Key takeaways from the session were:

  • Pay attention to everything and everyone around you.
  • Practice the techniques at home.
  • Protect your person, not your possessions.

If you missed registering for this virtual event, the class was recorded and will be made available online for students to watch at their convenience.