Skip to main content
Wednesday 10 November 2021

Self-defence course aims to empower women and improve mental well-being

World Record holding self-defence instructor teams up with UCLan to measure health benefits through six-week course

A local fitness and self-defence instructor is calling for women aiming to get fit, improve their mental health and gain essential life skills to take part in a project run by the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).

Zaynab Jogi, known as Zee, runs Z’s Defence Academy and is collaborating with UCLan researchers to assess the potential health benefits of a six-week defence course.

Run in conjunction with UCLan’s Sport, Exercise and Nutritional Sciences (SENS) Consultancy and the University’s ERDF funded Innovation Clinic, the idea behind the venture is to empower women and combat mental health barriers through physical activity and self-defence.

Participants will have basic strength and flexibility measures taken at the beginning and end of the course, alongside completing health and well-being questionnaires, to monitor the progress they make.

"It’s important for everyone to learn personal protection and the basic fundamentals of self-defence as it could save your life one day."

Zee Jogi from Z's Defence Academy

The programme is open to all those identifying as women over the age of 18 who are interested in learning basic self-defence and improving their confidence and fitness. Zee already runs self-defence courses in Blackburn and Bury and this the first time she will base a class in Preston. She has taken the opportunity to work with the University to evidence the course benefits with scientific research.

According to the Crime Survey for England and Wales, an estimated 7.3% of women (1.6 million) experienced domestic abuse in the last year whilst research from Sport England found that 26% of women are inactive, carrying out less than 30 minutes of physical activity a week.

Zee, whose Defence Academy is a registered charity and already works with vulnerable women in East Lancashire to develop life skills and confidence, said: “It’s important for everyone to learn personal protection and the basic fundamentals of self-defence as it could save your life one day.”

UCLan SENS has provided ongoing support to Zee over the last 12 months as she prepared for her two-time Guinness World Record breaking climb to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, before taking on the world’s highest obstacle course and the world’s highest fitness session at the top. Zee is now the only British Muslim Indian female in the UK to successfully complete this challenge.

"We have established a great relationship with Zee and the project and have been able to help her in a number of ways."

Dr Robert Graydon, lecturer in sport and exercise biomechanics at UCLan

Dr Robert Graydon, lecturer in sport and exercise biomechanics, worked with Zee in the build-up to the challenge on gait analysis, strength and conditioning and implementing various support strategies.

Rob said: “We have established a great relationship with Zee and the project and have been able to help her in a number of ways. It began with specific sports science support to help Zee on a personal level to optimise her health before her world record, and has led to undertaking a research project that will help Zee develop and grow the project as she looks to develop her evidence based research to benefit more females.”

Z’s Defence Academy course costs just £15 for a six-week course. It begins on Friday, 12 November, and will take place weekly between 5.30pm – 7.00pm at Fishwick Rangers Sports City in Preston. Anyone wanting to sign up or find out more can call Zee on 07720 636847 or email the Innovation Clinic team.

Any Lancashire based businesses hoping to grow their business through expert help provided by the University’s Innovation Clinic can take part in a free in person and online workshop later this month.