'Nice if it wasn't needed' - Trainer offers free defence classes to women

A man in his boxing gym

Craig Lewis from Ryburgh has set up the class to help teach women self-defence after the recent rape of a teenage girl in the village. - Credit: Aaron McMillan

A martial arts trainer is offering free classes in self-defence for women after being rocked by a recent event in his village.

Craig Lewis, 46, from Ryburgh, has set up the class to help teach women self-defence after the recent rape of a teenage girl.

Mr Lewis - who has 37 years of training behind him in many different styles including judo, jiu-jitsu, taekwondo, and boxing - has hosted classes like this before and felt compelled to do something.

A man punching a punching bag

Mr Lewis has 37 years of training behind him. - Credit: Aaron McMillan

“I woke up at half 4 this morning and thought I needed to do something about it,” he said.  

“I feel like everyone in the village is scared at the moment after this and I am prepared to host however many people want it to do it.

“I’m quite fortunate to have the skills that I do, and with them, I want to offer something for people to protect themselves.

“It would be nice to live in a world where we don’t need this sort of thing. It would be nice not to have to teach this and live in a world where this is not needed.” 

Outside the gym of the industrial estate

Life Skillz and Martial Arts Training Centre on Fakenham's industrial estate. - Credit: Aaron McMillan

He has competed all over the world and represented the British Army as a boxer. He now runs Life Skillz and Martial Arts Training Centre in Fakenham's industrial estate. 

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Back in 2005, a friend of his told him that she took part in a female protection course but the training they were offering was ‘Hollywood self-defence.’

He said this set him down a path of wanting to create his own program to help women. 

Outside a boxing ring

Craig Lewis is offering a free class in self-defence for women. - Credit: Aaron McMillan

After hosting a class in Norwich he got a call from one of his pupils seven months later who told him she was attacked and was able to get away after fending off the attacker.

“If I can stop someone else from getting attacked then I would have done my job," he said. 

He hopes to host the classes in April when his gym can reopen, but with restrictions, this might not be possible.

a gym with a boxing ring and punching bags.

He plans to host the lessons at his gym on the Fakenham industrial estate. - Credit: Aaron McMillan

“For you to be able to do this you have to be in contact with them, you cannot do it two metres apart,” he said. 

“I will host it as soon as I can, even if that means I just wait until full restrictions are lifted and they can come and train as normal."

You can sign up for the class here.

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