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Women’s self-defense workshops planned following Lumby death

Sarah Draht, multiple champ in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, driven to action by events in April

The alleged abduction and subsequent death of Lumby’s Tatjana Stefanski in April has spurred a Vernon martial arts world champion into action.

Sarah Draht – black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, multiple world champion, with a background in security work – is organizing a Women’s Only Self-Defence workshop, free of charge, to those aged 17 and over.

The classes will take place Saturday, May 11, from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m., and 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. at Pacific Top Team Vernon, 3105-28th St.

“I want to share my expertise and empower others with essential self-defence skills,” said Draht, who has taught and trained in martial arts for more than two decades. “This workshop is my way of giving back and making a difference in the community, and if my workshop prevents this from happening to even one more female, it is absolutely worth it.”

In her words, Draht said her self-defence approach is “truly comprehensive and empowering.” Those taking part in her workshops gain a deep understanding of self-protection, encompassing both physical techniques and psychological aspects.

Draht’s workshops take a different approach.

Draht believes focusing solely on kicking and punching can escalate situations and create false confidence. So she teaches a comprehensive approach that “addresses every aspect of self-defence.”

“By doing this, I can ensure that participants are not only prepared to respond effectively to threats, but are also equipped to proactively address potential dangers before they roll into confrontations.”

For example, she said, kicking and punching can make a bad situation worse. And she’s not discrediting using a kick or a punch, but as she said, “it’s one piece of a very large puzzle,” and sometimes only that one piece is taught.

“I teach everything,” said Draht. “I teach the entire picture…The defence starts before the attack and this does not mean to live in fear. In fact, far from it. If an individual has the tools and knowledge they will not only be safer, but it will be possible to live their life nearly free of fear.”

Draht’s deep understanding of the complexities involved in violent situations is reflected in her emphasis on addressing the mental aspect of self-defence; helping women develop confidence and awareness to respond to threats effectively.

“By taking this approach, I can ensure that participants are not only prepared to respond effectively to threats, but also equipped to proactively address potential dangers before they escalate into confrontations,” she said.

Pre-registration for the workshops is required. Details and registration can be found at:

While the two workshops are free, donations will be accepted which will help Pacific Top Team students attend championship tournaments.

A four-part workshop series is being planned for June.

READ MORE: Draht grappled L.A. gold

READ MORE: Gracie Barra teaches the art of confidence in Penticton

Roger Knox

About the Author: Roger Knox

I am a journalist with more than 30 years of experience in the industry. I started my career in radio and have spent the last 21 years working with Black Press Media.
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