Call for support for Vancouver Downtown Eastside women's self-defence class

The instructor of a women’s only self-defence program on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside is calling on the community for donations to help buy much-needed equipment for the class.

Vancouver Strength Collective is a fitness and martial arts school in the Chinatown district, which endeavours to make fitness accessible to all, offering a variety of classes from weightlifting to self-defence.

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Conlan Mansfield, the founder of VSC, runs a free weekly self-protection training program for women — teaching them everything from boundary setting, grappling, striking, the legalities involved, and how to believe that they are worth protecting.

Mansfield said while he prides himself in being robust enough to take hits from his students, there was a limit with regard to the damage he was able to take. In a post to a Gofundme campaign, he said he needed the funding for extra protective wear, including a High Gear Adaptiv training suit, worth $3,000, and An Everlast boxing body shield, about $300, to ensure students were able to practice techniques with full force.

“My students are kind, and they balk at applying techniques with full force,” Mansfield wrote.

“There are very specific circumstances that call for high-levels of force, it's extremely important to be able to apply those techniques without hesitation and with full power.

“If I train students to hesitate because they are afraid of hurting me, I am doing them a disservice should they ever have to use those techniques in real life.

“They place their love and trust in me to work with their bodies and ensure that techniques are effective, and I can never betray that.”


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