My psoriasis began when I started secondary school and the kids at school never accepted it. This accompanied with the fact that I didn’t fit in meant that I was a target: an easy target to bully. I hated this feeling. I wanted to do something about it and explored different forms of self defence but none of them could fit into my parents schedule as they worked long hours.

There were several reasons why I wanted to take up Krav Maga. The first was to learn how to look after myself. With all the news stories I hear and from my own experiences, I wanted to be able to learn how to defend myself should the situation arise.

The second reason was because I wanted to learn how to look after my loved ones. I was aware that third party techniques are taught in Krav Maga and this was something that I looked forward to, to be able to take care of my family.

The final reason for taking up Krav Maga was to build my confidence. Being a victim of bullying when I was younger affected me as I became afraid, always concerned with what others thought of me. I wanted to take charge, to change this mentality of being afraid.

“At this point, I know that everything is just the beginning. I want to learn more and it feels fantastic to know that there is no end point in the journey.”

I began researching what self-defence clubs are available in my area. I narrowed the clubs to two and after discovering Carpe Diem’s advertisement in a local supermarket, I decided to go with Krav Maga.

Haitham responded to my email within 24 hours and instantly I was due to go to my first class in Woking on a Monday. It was a little daunting as I didn’t know anyone and my only contact was via email.

Monday came and I loved it! Kevin, the instructor at the time, was charismatic and welcoming. The techniques he taught us were simple and effective, and all the students were really helpful and friendly. Kevin always provided context of the techniques, explaining where and when you could use the techniques in the ‘real’ world. There was nothing complicated that was taught and during the warm up, the goal was to warm us up. It wasn’t a fitness session neither, which is what I was afraid of as I’m not a very fit person.

I decided to join that day. The light-hearted atmosphere, simple ‘real-world’ use of the techniques and teaching style all positively contributed to my decision.

3 years later and I have obtained a P2 grading. I look forward to my class each week and have made a number of friends in class.

Physically and mentally, I’ve become more aware of my surroundings and sometimes carry out techniques unconsciously to avoid being in a situation. Its changed my life for the better and I’m always thankful for having such great instructors who care.

“Amazing people, fantastic instructors, real life self-defence techniques… What more could you ask for?”

I think my mindset has changed the most. No longer do I fear walking at night, fear going abroad, fear other what other people think. I feel confident when walking in populated areas and know what to do to protect myself and my family. Also, I have achieved what I never could do during my secondary school years: a certificate that I obtained through my physical body. These were my two main goals and I have achieved this.

I think there are two things that I love about Carpe Diem. The first is the focus on the self-defence techniques and its real-life situation application. Secondly, I love that there is an equality in class, the instructors do not care if you cannot do any of the exercises other than you do what you can. I remember I could never do the majority of the exercises when I started, but no one ever cared. Every one is understanding, you do what you can and that was/is always what they aim for.