The Polish military is launching free nationwide self-defense classes for women aged 18 or above who want to learn unarmed combat.
The techniques, provided by army instructors, will include defensive postures, how to break holds, and guard against kicks, strangulation, and assaults with a weapon.
Launching the program, Defense Minister Antoni Macierewicz said the aim is to teach women “basic fighting techniques and, above all, improve overall physical fitness”.
The classes will start at 30 military facilities, running from November 19, 2016 until June 3, 2017.
The classes will start at 30 military facilities, running from 19 November until 3 June. Polish army instructors will provide the training.
The techniques will include defensive postures, how to break holds, and guards against kicks, strangulation and assaults with a weapon.
Some Poles see the initiative more as a way for the army to promote its image.
The ministry says it is the first time the military has offered such a nationwide programme. It is open to all Polish women aged 18 or above who are in good health.
A former special forces commander, Roman Polko, told the Dziennik Polski news website that it was not the army’s job to teach citizens unarmed combat. He said it could be a way to spot potential recruits for the armed forces. But learning aikido or jujitsu moves “won’t win a war,” he said.
Another critic, Krakow journalist Marcin Ogdowski, said the lessons “have a propaganda dimension”. He said women’s self-defence classes should be run by the police, rather than the military.
Here’s how social media responded when learning about this training:
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